Assessment of Opportunities to Minimize Forest Loss through Agricultural Intensification and Forest Conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In August 2015, USAID/Washington requested that the Productive Landscapes (ProLand) team apply learning from the draft ProLand Sustainable Intensification (SI) Working Paper1 to the context of development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with special reference to the USAID Central Africa Regional Program on the Environment (CARPE) and USAID investment in the DRC at the strategic level. The ProLand SI Working Paper reviews research literature to provide USAID guidance on how to limit risks of extensification resulting from USAID efforts to intensify agriculture. The core questions of the final terms of reference (TOR) for the DRC assessment were:
- Where are forest and carbon stocks being lost most rapidly in the DRC?
- What are the overall drivers of this loss, and which are associated with agriculture?
- What are the impacts of different agricultural systems on forests and carbon stocks?
- Taking the country as a whole, what opportunities are there for USAID to promote agriculture in the DRC while minimizing impacts on forests?
- What approaches and practices can be scaled up?
Team Leader Roy Hagen and ProLand staff member David Miller produced an assessment based on a literature review, remote sensing data, and interviews with experts and key informants in the United States and the DRC. In conjunction with the team’s research, Tetra Tech contracted ProLand consortium member World Resources Institute (WRI) to produce a supplementary analysis of recent remote sensing data. Work began the last week of January 2016. Hagen and Miller spent February 6-26 in the DRC, where DRC national consultant Maxime Nzita joined them. Tetra Tech submitted an initial complete draft of the assessment to USAID on April 22, 2016.