The Congo Basin forests form the second largest block of rainforest in the world after the Amazon. These forests represent a huge carbon sink, are extremely rich in flora and fauna, and are home to more than 30 million people. However, the use of resources and ecosystem services for supporting both livelihood and economic development is putting increasing pressure on the forests. Some of the consequences of deforestation and forest degradation are forest fragmentation with negative consequences for both biodiversity and increased emissions of greenhouse gases. A landscape approach offers opportunities to foster connectivity and to promote positive interactions, increase species richness and habitat suitability, as well as to address some of the drivers of deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is a 25-year-old Congo Basin regional program funded by USAID. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) leads the management of all CARPE activities in the Salonga-Lukeni-Sankuru (SLS) landscape in collaboration with local village management committees and more than fifteen partners located in five towns within the Salonga-Lukenie-Sankuru (SLS) landscape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The vision of the SLS CARPE landscape program is to maintain large areas of forests intact within the landscape and to ensure the conservation of biodiversity while also promoting human well-being.
Contributions to CSA
Some of the activities of SLS CARPE target livelihood and food security needs. For example, activities include sustainable fishing practices, the rearing of pigs and chickens, and sustainable farming practices that both reduce deforestation and increase the productivity of groundnuts, cowpea, rice, beans and maize. The aim is that by improving livelihoods, illegal activities such as poaching and bush meat hunting will be reduced along with the overall human pressure on the SLS landscape. Maintaining the forest intact provides an enormous potential to mitigate the effects of global climate change.
Impacts and lessons learned
So far, the SLS CARPE landscape program has achieved several conservation, livelihood and development objectives. Moving forward will entail increased capacity in implementation, improved data for planning, continuous engagement of multiple stakeholders, and the mobilization of additional funds for landscape activities.
Minang PA, van Noordwijk M, Freeman OE, Mbow C, de Leeuw J, Catacutan D, (Eds.). 2015. Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practices. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).http://theredddesk.org/sites/default/files/resources/pdf/climate-smart_landscapes.pdf
Landscape approaches present opportunities for sustainable development by enhancing opportunities for synergy between multiple objectives in landscapes (i.e., social, economic and environmental). They challenge the ‘one-place-one-function’ concept of specialization that sees agriculture, forest and urban spheres as ‘silos’. Drawing on a large range of case studies from predominantly the humid, sub-humid and dry tropics across the world, this book provides directly applicable knowledge, while also highlighting key issues requiring further work. Written for researchers, practitioners and policymakers alike, this book links theory to practice. Building on earlier concepts laid out in earlier volumes, this book explores four central propositions on climate-smart and multifunctional landscape approaches: A. Current landscapes are a suboptimal member of a set of locally feasible landscape configurations; B. Actors and interactions can nudge landscapes towards better managed tradeoffs within the set of feasible configurations, through engagement, investment and interventions; C. Climate is one of many boundary conditions for landscape functioning; D. Theories of change must be built within theories of place for effective location-specific engagement.
Yanggen D, Angu K, Tchamou N, (Eds.). 2010. Landscape-scale conservation in the Congo Basin: Lessons learned from CARPE. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.https://portals.iucn.org/library/efiles/documents/2010-037.pdf This introductory chapter provides a presentation of the structure of a series of Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) case studies.
de Marcken P. 2014. CARPE II and III: WWF landscape programs. Washington, DC: Presentation during CARPE partners meeting, January 27-28, 2014.http://carpe.umd.edu/resources/Meeting_pres/WWF_landscapes_01272014.pdf This source is a selection of slides from a 2014 presentation by Paya de Marcken of WWF, concerning the WWF Landscape Programs CARPE II and III.