Coinciding with the International Year of the Forests, a project to produce a Red List of exploitable trees in the Democratic Republic of Congo was officially launched last week in Kinshasa on the 14th February. The project is supported by His Excellency the Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism.
With 145 million hectares of tropical forest representing over two thirds of the remaining forest in the Congo basin, the results of the IUCN Red List assessments will be used as a tool to guide the decision-making process and planning of long term, sustainable management of forest resources.
The selection of species to be targeted by the project was carried out by the 26 participants; representing government forestry and conservation departments, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, the national scientific community and development partners.
After two days of consultation, a total of 47 species out of 117 were deemed priority species and would be the focus of a detailed study. The meeting was followed by a training workshop on application of The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. The workshop was led by the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Global Trees Specialist Group and the IUCN secretariat.
The trainees from this workshop will work together to produce a Red List of exploitable trees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with data collection and analysis supervised in a collaborative partnership between a national panel and IUCN and the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The results from this project are expected for 2012.