Blood in the forest

Identification of ecologically fragile areas prioritized for forest conservation and restoration in Mambasa and Mongbwalu sectors, Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The landscape of the Mambasa and Mongbwalu sectors are facing an undergoing a gradual decline in dense and secondary forests, triggered by (legal, illegal and unregulated) resource exploitation and their unsustainable use, some detrimental forms of agriculture, rapid urban growth in absence of long-term strategic planning, all linked by instability arising from land conflicts that chronically plague the region.

The restoration of degraded ecosystems is an essential activity to achieve environmental and ecological justice. Environmental and ecological justice focus on the intersections between the systemic exploitation of humans and the natural world; this includes inequities in the access and use of natural resources and in the distribution of environmental harms (by race, class, gender, among many). Furthermore, land rights for women in East Africa go beyond property rights and touch on often sensitive issues around different tenure systems (statutory, customary and religious), landbased wealth, power and social relations that give or take away their right to access and control resources.

This study focuses on the process of identifying ecologically fragile areas in which to implement forest conservation and restoration projects from a local, not purely biological and participatory perspective.