In January 2017, scientists announced new discoveries showing that the Central Congo Basin Peatlands form the largest area of peat swamp forest in the tropics. Estimates of soil organic carbon stocks in the Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo have radically increased as a result, to some 30 Gt. Degradation of these peat carbon stocks could have serious impacts on climate. 

 

Concerns have been raised that the pattern of peatland drainage for oil palm plantations seen in Southeast Asia could also develop in the Central Congo Basin, and that oil and gas exploration concessions cover much of the area.

A Transboundary Ramsar Site was declared by the governments of the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo in June 2017, covering an estimated 45% of the peatland ecosystem. The ecosystem is in good condition due to its relative inaccessibility, and this new designation could provide a basis for its conservation and wise use consistent with the Ramsar Convention on wetlands.

A new briefing is been released on this topic with UN-REDD Programme support, illustrating with maps the protection status, biodiversity value and potential pressures on the peat swamp forest. 

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