DR Congo: Looking for solutions to stop deforestation for charcoal production in Virunga NP

On the wooded outskirts of Virunga National Park, a truck lumbers down a deeply rutted dirt road. The vehicle sags and sways precariously under the weight of its illegal cargo: enormous sacks of charcoal. In the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, most charcoal is made from trees illicitly harvested from Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park.

Covering 3,000 square miles, Virunga is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the world’s last mountain gorillas and other rare wildlife and plants. Yet it is common to see trucks, bicycles, and carts laden with bulging bags of carbonized wood leaving the park and heading to market.

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