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At three times the size of France, Central African forests are the largest tropical forest mass after the Amazon and cover a large portion of the Congo Basin, the second largest river in the world. Such forests serve as more than just an interest for biologists: they are crucially vital to countries in this area as well as populations who live off them. The pressure is therefore quite strong.
Though the very first efforts to safeguard these forests and their fauna started nearly one hundred years ago, and considering that major conservation projects have been under way for at least twenty years and that the notion of sustainable exploration is finally starting to raise interest among forestry developers and commissioners, new partnership actions were put forward at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002.
At a key moment in time for the history of these forests this book assesses the situation and attempts to answer a few basic questions:
* Which forests are we talking about and where did they come from?
* In what way are the different from the other tropical forests in the world?
* How do these forests' plants and animals live?
* Since when and by who are they inhabited?
* What has been done to safeguard them?
* What are the major problems faced by these forests today?
Jean Pierre Vande weghe is an ornithologist and doctor who has been living in Africa for more than 21 years.