New forest areas under community management in Walikale Territory in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo
The Forestry Code of the DRC in its article 22 stipulates that a local community may, at its request, obtain as a concession, part or all of the forest regularly held under custom.
It is in the context of the materialization of this article that on July 7, 2020, the Governor of the North Kivu Province signed four decrees awarding forest concessions to local communities (CFCL) Banisamasi, Basengele, Bananzigha and Bafuna-Bakano, from the Bakano Sector in Walikale Territory after eighteen years of support of this process by the NGO Forêt pour le Développement Intégral, in acronym FODI, PPI partner since the end of 2019.
To date, the DRC has 70 CFCL already allocated to the Communities, including seven in North Kivu.
With an overall area of about 120,260 ha, these CFCLs are home to the last populations of Grauer’s gorillas living outside the PNKB, and chimpanzees as well as a diverse range of wildlife and floristic species. In addition, three of these CFLCs are contiguous to the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB) in its northern part; this reinforces the conservation of this UNESCO World Heritage.
The management phase of these CFLCs is already coming with several challenges in supporting local and indigenous communities for the sustainable use of forest resources, the conservation of endemic animal species and socio-economic development.