Status and Trends of Biodiversity
The D.R. of Congo is characterized by 19 distinct ecosystems, 15 of which are represented in the protected areas. Forests cover about 52% of the national territory and which are more or less conserved naturally due to their monumental importance. The annual rate of deforestation is about 0.4%, and is due mainly to burning for agriculture and collection of firewood. The inland waters occupy 3% of the national territory. They are considered as one of the most important continental water resources, and account for about 60% of the fresh water reserves for Africa. These areas are also important as extensions of the humid zones, temporary habitats for migrating birds and an important source of biodiversity. There are no appropriate management strategies in place at the moment. A survey of known species in the D.R. of Congo shows that there are: 10,007 species of higher plants with 55 threatened; 450 species of mammal with 40 threatened; 345 species of breeding birds with 28 threatened; 304 species of reptile with 2 threatened; 208 species of amphibians and 101 species of fish with 1 threatened.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
The protected areas cover 9% of the total, national surface area, which equals about 234,486ha of total land area. 15 of the 19 ecosystems are represented in this area.