Rainforests are known to be the Lungs of the world. They dominate the equatorial regions that provide them sufficient sunshine and enough rainfall. They are the breeding ground for many flora and fauna species. But, the greedy man on his cutting spree has plundered the rain forests for wood, skin and food and to make a space for himself in the woods. The recent story of such a plunder comes from Central Africa where a steady cutting spree is going on for the past 30-years.
Remote sensing satellite images taken between 1976 and 2003 have recognized road building as particularly dense in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
The rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo are the largest in the world after Amazonian forests, covering around 1.3 million square kilometers. An estimated 35 million people inhabit these forests, including Bantu farmers, and Twa and Mbuti hunter-gatherer Pygmies. The survey, published in Journal Science, expresses concern over accelerated logging as regional and foreign companies build more new roads through virgin forests, which indirectly allows easier access to poachers, who kill wildlife for the bush-meat trade.
The most vulnerable area in Republic of Congo is its northern part, where road construction surged from 97 miles per year between 1976 and 1990, to more than 410 miles per year after 2000. Between 1986 and 1990, 208 miles of roads were built per year in the DRC. This increased to 283 miles per year between 2000 and 2002.
In 2004, around 100 environment and human rights activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo called on the World Bank to discontinue plans that would whittle the world’s second-largest rainforest into widespread industrial logging.
Central Africa’s thick rain forests have long been looked upon as among the most pristine on Earth. They provide food, materials and shelter for over 20 million people and play an important role as a sink for the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. But, in recent decades industrial logging has become the most widespread form of land use in the region.
Exploitation of the rainforests also known as Carbon sinks should be stopped. The rights and needs of forest dwellers should not be sacrificed in pursuit of spurious economic benefits from the logging industry.