Our Work

The Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is USAID’s largest land management program in Africa and an important effort to preserve the Congo Basin’s ecosystem. USAID is helping governments and local communities work together to sustainably manage natural resources and make long-term plans for forest land use.

Sustainable Land Management

We encourage the development and implementation of sustainable management plans for how the forest will be used. These plans are developed with key stakeholders and lead to the establishment of protected areas, extractive resource zones, and community-based management zones. This joint planning results in initiatives that help reduce deforestation and biodiversity loss while remaining aligned with local needs for economic growth.

CARPE has reduced biodiversity loss through bringing 12.5 million acres of forest under protected area zones and provides support for improved partner management capacity in these areas. One result of CARPE’s protection of biodiversity through its partner, Wildlife Conservation Society, was the discovery of gorilla populations previously unknown to scientists in the Tri-national de la Sangha (TNS) and the Lac Tele Landscapes in Republic of Congo.  This increased the estimate of the western lowland gorillas population from 175,000 to 225,000.

In reducing deforestation, CARPE activities have resulted in the cancellation of spurious logging and have helped companies develop certified sustainable management plans for over six million hectares of land.  In Cameroon, for example, CARPE has contributed to a 50% decline of deforestation.

Local Capacity Building

We support improved natural resource governance, especially at the local level. Over 40,000 individuals from government, local and international NGOs and communities have been trained in a variety of conservation methods and techniques. A small grants program has strengthened the capacity and expertise of over 20 local and international NGOs to advocate for policy reforms. Activities have included:

  • Local NGOs working with national level decision makers in adapting forest code and regulation to reflect realities on the ground
  • Launching large scale environmental advocacy campaigns such as anti-poaching
  • Developing and disseminating legal information to the general public to raise the awareness of communities who live around protected areas 

Moreover, local organizations have developed the expertise and knowledge to serve as technical advisors to national governments and have formed the government’s link to local communities.

Data-Driven Conservation

We strengthen the monitoring of natural resource uses through data collection and distribution. In Kinshasa, CARPE has established a remote sensing technology institution that works to improve the quality and availability of satellite imagery of forest and land cover in the Congo Basin. This has enabled the production of useful and timely information for a wide variety of users to ensure sustainable management of natural resources and to develop the capacity of local institutions that in turn strengthen their engagement with national governments.