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Congo rainforest given hope as deals cancelled

Source:  Copyright 2009, Independent
Date:  January 21, 2009
Byline:  Daniel Howden,
Original URL: Status ONLINE


The Congo rainforest, the second largest tropical forest in the world, has been handed a temporary lifeline after two-thirds of timber concessions were cancelled this week.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has ripped up 91 contracts after a review of the notoriously corrupt and damaging logging sector in a country the size of Western Europe.

Greenpeace's Africa forest expert Rene Ngongo gave a cautious welcome to the decision: "This is good news," he said by telephone from Kinshasa. "The contract cancellations now need to be implemented. We hope that the Congolese government will focus on protecting our forests."

Congo's immense tropical forest, second only to the Amazon in size and importance, has come under increasing pressure from loggers, farmers and mining operations in recent years. Huge concessions covering tens of millions of hectares in the war-torn country have been parcelled out to international companies during ...

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