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Bolobo Territory


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Mbou Mon Tour
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The Bolobo territory harbours populations of Bonobo monkeys and elephants and is classified by ICCN (Congo Institute for Nature Conservation) as a high-priority area for biodiversity conservation. The Bonobo population density is the highest observed in DRC (2.1 individual/km²), just 300 km away from Kinshasa. 

In addition, the site has been proposed for inclusion on the list of wetlands of global significance. It is indeed located on the crossborder axis of Lake Télé-Lake Tumba, the largest inland freshwater body of Africa. 

The conservation of this water body significantly contributes to the supply of the Inga3 hydroelectrical complex which, subject to the implementation of extension projects, could allow for clean energy development on the African continent in the 21st century. Its role in regulating the water supply of the complex alone justifies the protection of the forests of this territory in particular, and of the Mai-Ndombe province in general.


Major issues


The Forest Code of DRC authorizes local communities to create Local Community Forests (LCFs) to reinforce their participation in the sustainable management of forests and thereby develop income-generating activities that enable them to become key actors in poverty reduction. However, indigenous populations need technical and financial support to secure their traditional territory and means are lacking.

Furthermore, fire setting during honey harvesting causes regular fires and bushfires that burn up large stretches of forests, harming the biodiversity and habitat of Bonobos. Although honey is highly sought for sale, for consumption for medicinal purposes, and especially to meet the demand from nearby towns such as Kinshasa and Brazzaville, no beekeeping project has yet been initiated in the rice field of the local communities’ forests. 

In addition, the level of fairness of natural resource management is still low. Women and other vulnerable or minority groups are little involved in decision-making relating to land use. To address these two key challenges, the project plans to develop a beekeeping pilot project using modern hives to promote the economic  development of the local population and create and secure Local Community Forests (LCFs). 

Additionally, this project will conduct activities in relation with the organization, structuring, and reinforcement of communities, allowing for good governance in natural resource management and improving the involvement of women and minority groups for social, economic, environmental justice.



The project and the prospects for change


The present project will support the local population in creating community forests to secure their traditional territory, limit poaching, and develop income-generating activities such as beekeeping. Our local partner - already strongly involved - will support and coach village trackers on the monitoring and habituation of bonobos in future community forests. This activity will allow for improving knowledge on the behavior and location of bonobos, so as to better protect them. Moreover, by equipping each local association with modern beehives and the elements needed for their management, local partners will be able to advance beekeeping in the region.

The beekeeping project will generate additional resources for the riparian populations of the local community forests and will make asignificant contribution to limiting intrusions in conservation areas. The project will also allow the forest to rapidly regenerate away from the destructions resulting from searches for natural beehives and owing to the recovery of the pollination by bees. As a sideline, the planting of melliferous plants around the conservation area will contribute to reforestation and natural forest conservation.

The different trainings that beekeepers will attend will provide moderators with an opportunity to give a reminder of the importance of natural resource conservation. This direct sensitization will spread among riparian communities.

Committed partners


Created in 1997 by university officers and villagers, the non governmental organization Mbou-Mon-Tour (MMT) works in environmental conservation and local development in DRC. Broadly supported by traditional authorities and local communities, many of which are members of the NGO, MMT will collaborate with Local Development and Conservation Committees at developing the project.

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To learn more about this project and its 2019 key achievements, please click on this link.

Photos © François Nègre


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