Rainforest Foundation UK
Synchronicity Earth has supported Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) since 2012 to investigate and expose large-scale acquisitions for palm oil in the Congo Basin.
The forests of the Congo Basin are rich in biodiversity and support the livelihoods of over 50 million people, including an estimated 500,000 indigenous forest peoples. To date, industrial-scale logging has presented the largest threat to the region’s forests, but increasingly large-scale agribusiness also threatens forests in the region. Palm oil plantations have already led to massive deforestation, biodiversity loss and human rights abuses in Southeast Asia. Many producers are beginning to operate in the Congo Basin where land seems to be more ‘available’ given the lack of secure community land tenure, increasing political stability and cheap labour. At the same time, Congo Basin governments are looking for foreign investments to grow their GDP and promote more ‘development’ opportunities in their bid to achieve ‘emerging economy’ status. Proposed palm oil projects for the Congo Basin cover around 16,000 km2 (with around two thirds of the region – 1.6 million km2 – having suitable conditions for growing palm oil). Developments are typically accompanied by road (and rail) infrastructure leading to further deforestation, opening up previously inaccessible tracts of forest for agriculture, logging, mining and hunting.
RFUK works with local civil society groups to investigate and expose proposed plantations and build their capacity to challenge destructive practices.
RFUK is a part of Synchronicity Earth’s Congo Basin programme.