65.8% —or about 22,471,000 hectares—of Congo is forested. Of this, 33.2% —or roughly 7,464,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Congo lost an average of 17,000 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 0.07%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 0.8% to 0.08% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Congo lost 1.1% of its forest cover, or around 255,000 hectares. Congo lost -84,000 hectares—0—of its primary forest cover during that time. Deforestation rates of primary cover have decreased 1.1% since the close of the 1990s. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Congo lost 1.1% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Congo has some 970 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 0.7% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 2.0% are threatened. Congo is home to at least 6000 species of vascular plants, of which 20.0% are endemic. 14.1% of Congo is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Congo Environmental profile


Congo: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)34,150,000
Total Forest Area (ha)22,471,000
Percent Forest Cover65.80%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)7,464,000
Primary Forest, % total forest33.22%
Primary Forest, % total land21.86%
Other wooded land (ha)10,547,000

Congo : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Congo: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)7,464,00033.2%
Modified natural (ha | %)14,957,00066.6%
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)51,0000.2%
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Congo: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)22,726,000
Forest 2000 (ha)22,556,000
Forest 2005 (ha)22,471,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(17,000)-0.07%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(17,000)-0.08%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(255,000)-1.12%
Change in rate (%)0.75%
Primary 1990 (ha)7,548,000
Primary 2000 (ha)7,492,000
Primary 2005 (ha)7,464,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(5,600)-0.07%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(5,600)-0.07%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(84,000)-1.11%
Change in rate (%)0.75%
Other 1990 (ha)10,649,000
Other 2000 (ha)10,581,000
Other 2005 (ha)10,547,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(6,800)-0.06%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(6,800)-0.06%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(102,000)-0.96%
Change in rate (%)0.64%
Other 1990 (ha)51,000
Other 2000 (ha)51,000
Other 2005 (ha)51,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)33,324,000
Other 2000 (ha)33,086,000
Other 2005 (ha)32,967,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(23,800)-0.07%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(23,800)-0.07%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(357,000)-1.07%
Change in rate (%)0.72%

Congo: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)7,464,000
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)7,464,000
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)21.86%

Congo: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)100.0%
Private (%)0.0%
Other (%)0.0%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)100.0%
Private (%)0.0%
Other (%)0.0%
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)88.2%
Protection (%)-
Conservation (%)4.4%
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)7.4%
None of Unknown (%)-

Congo: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)0.08%
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)-
Other (ha)-

Congo: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20051
World Heritage sites, 20040
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land14.1%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land10.33%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20043.88%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 20043.71%

Congo: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species58
endemic species2
threatened species0
total species597
endemic species1
threatened species4
total species166
endemic species3
threatened species14
total species149
endemic species1
threatened species1
Wildlife diversity
total species970
endemic species7
threatened species19

Congo: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species334
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered-
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic1200
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened35

Congo: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)8,356
Below-ground biomass (M t)2,005
Dead wood (M t)-
Total (M t)-
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)4,178
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)1,003
Carbon in dead wood (M t)-
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)1,450
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)1,317
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)2,767
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)n.s.
Plant products 2005
Food (t)1,426
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)95,340
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)8,000
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)12,500
Bush meat (t)750
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$222,545,000
Wood fuel (US$)$20,091,000
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)$242,636,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$11
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed10,000

Congo : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Congo: Environment
Environment - current issuesair pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Natural hazardsseasonal flooding

Congo: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 0.51%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 99.36% (2001)
Natural resourcespetroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Congo: Economy
Economy - overview:The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on oil, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings through oil-backed loans that has contributed to a growing debt burden and chronic revenue shortfalls. Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. However, the reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. Economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit. The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. Recovery of oil prices has boosted the economy's GDP and near term prospects. The Republic of Congo may be eligible for an IMF-World Bank heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative in early 2006, provided it meets the strict fiscal and monetary targets set out for it under a new three-year PRGF with the IMF.
GDP - per capita$800 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)5.5% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productscassava (tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 6.7%, industry: 62.4%, services: 30.9% (2005 est.)
Industries petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes
Economic aid - recipient$159.1 million (1995)
Debt - external$5 billion (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line (%)NA

Congo: Population / Demographics
Percent rural (2003)46.5%

Largest Cities in Congo

Cities and urban areas in Congo with population over 100,000
[For more population information including updated figures and a wider selection of cities please visit
The World Gazetteer]

--> All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population
Pointe NoireCongo527700789400

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

Tropical rainforest information

 World Rainforests
 Rainforest Structure
 Rainforest Biodiversity
 Forest Floor
 Rainforest Waters
 Indigenous People
 Global Importance

 Rainforest Conservation
 Country Reports update soon
 Deforestation Tables
 The Amazon Rainforest update soon
 The Congo Rainforest update soon
 Deforestation in Brazil
 Rainforest Images

Mongabay Rainforests
Mongabay News
Mongabay Photos

what's new | rainforests home | help support the site | madagascar | search | about | contact

Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2006

"Rainforest" is used interchangeably with "rain forest" on this site.
Same for "rainforests" and "rain forests". "Jungle" is generally not used.