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Fire management plan, workshop in Republic of Congo provide template for rest of country


Photo: Panelists sitting at a table during presentation.
The Republic of the Congo’s Minister of Forest Economy and the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo speak on a panel during the validation meeting of the simplified fire management plans for Lefini Reserve. Photo courtesy of Eva McNamara.

WASHINGTON, DC

—In early July, the Forest Service hosted a validation workshop for a simple fire management plan for the Lefini Reserve in the Republic of Congo. It included government officials from the Ministry of Forest Economy and the National Protected Areas Agency as well as local leaders who were involved in the management plan development process. The U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Congo opened the workshop and praised the efforts of all involved, emphasizing that good fire management is essential to the health of people and their environments.

On the Batéké Plateau in the Republic of the Congo, the Forest Service has been working with the government and local communities to improve fire management in and around the Lefini Reserve. Fire is both naturally occurring and a traditional tool used for land management and hunting in this area. However, accidental and intentional fires quickly grow out of control, threatening nearby villages, farms, and already threatened wildlife that is endemic to this unique ecosystem.

To respond to this natural resource management challenge, the Forest Service set up a multi-actor technical fire commission made up of local communities, different government agencies and civil society organizations to oversee the development of a fire management plan for communities living in and around the Lefini Reserve.

The goal is for the validated plan and the process followed for its creation to serve as a template for expanding such efforts across the country. This work was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment.