image: Google Earth layer showing rates of deforestation
In an effort to deal with rampant corruption and rising deforestation, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has reviewed and canceled some 60% of logging contracts in the country. After six months of study, backed by the World Bank, only 65 contracts were found to still be viable. These remaining contracts account for about 10 million hectares of forest that can continue to be logged.
Congo environment minister Jose Endundo was quoted by Reuters as saying,
I will proceed within the next 48 hours to notify those applicants having received an unfavorable recommendation from the interministerial commission through decrees canceling their respective conventions. Upon notification of the cancellation decision, the operator must immediately stop cutting timber.
Forests The Size of Massachusetts Cut Each Year
Currently Congo exports about 200,000 cubic meters of timber. In 2002, when much of the country was in rebel control less than 100,000 cubic meters were officially exported. Deforestation rates in the country are over 800,000 hectares per year.
I suppose the hard part really is enforcing the order to stop cutting... but at least the motive is in the right place.