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Mai Ndombe REDD+ project to protect biodiverse tropical forests

Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Forests around Lake Mai Ndombe in the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC)

The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project works to protect a biodiverse section of tropical rainforest through investing in the health education, and agricultural techniques of the surrounding community.

Nature-based Intervention:

The Mai Ndombe Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Project works with local communities to protect 300,000 hectares of the Congo rainforest. The program does this by investing in reducing the drivers of deforestation through supporting the local community. The program worked to protect already forested areas and implemented reforestation in portions of the forest which had already been deforested. They also invested in community programs, such as constructing 10 schools and building a local health clinic to support community development. A large portion of the efforts to alleviate deforestation pressures also centers around the implementation of agroforestry and sustainable farming. The project has opened an agroforestry nursey and provided new crops and techniques to be utilized by the community in a way which can reduce extractive pressures on the forest system.

Overview of context and outcomes:

This area represents a large section highly valued area of rainforests which have been repeatedly targeted for logging concessions. There is major conflict in the region between large logging companies and the over 180,000 people which inhabit this forest. This also jeopardizes the rare species in the area and their habitat. This section of forest is home to chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos(Pan paniscus) and forest elephants(Loxodonta cyclotis); as well as unique wetland landscapes.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Positive

It is reported that there is a mitigation potential of 100 Mt of CO2 emissions reductions over the 30-year life of the project.

Adaptation: Not reported

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

The project supported several key ecosystem health outcomes such as an increases in biomass, species diversity and species abundance. It is reported that prior to the start of the project there had not been sightings recorded of leopards(Panthera pardus) or buffalos(Syncerus caffer nanus) within the project area since the 1970s. In 2020 monitoring efforts reportedly recorded the return of the first leopard( and buffalo to the protected forest. Efforts have also been made to monitor the elephant herd in the project, which has split from one herd at the beginning into three herds currently; signaling overall population growth. Monitoring has also reportedly signaled recovery of the local bonobo populations.

Socioeconomic outcomes

Improved health outcomes have been a central part of the project, with overall nutrition reportedly improving for the communities due to investments in building fish ponds and agroforestry. The project has also invested in a health clinic in a central village as well as a mobile clinic in order to bring healthcare to many people who reportedly lacked prior access to these services. Education has also been a source of investment with 10 schools built and 20 more proposed for construction.


The project is governed in partnership between Era Ecosystems Services and Wildlife Works which implement the intervention through a REDD+ framework in collaboration with local communities.


The core financing mechanism of the project is the sale of carbon credits through the utilization of the REDD+ framework. It is reported that the project has already had over 13,322,276 credits issued.

Monitoring and evaluation

There are efforts to monitor key species within the forest area.

Trade-offs and limitations

No information yet available on tradeoffs.

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NASA shot of Ndombe
Photo © NASA

Intervention type

  • Protection
  • Restoration
Targets poor/disadvantaged
Conducted at landscape scale

Ecosystem type

  • Tropical & subtropical forests


  • Local NGO or CBO (eg. indigenous)

Societal challenges

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Economic and Social development
  • Health


  • Food security: Positive
  • Water security: Not reported
  • Health: Positive
  • Local economics: Not reported
  • Livelihoods/goods/basic needs: Positive
  • Energy security: Not reported
  • Disaster risk reduction: Not reported
  • Rights/empowerment/equality: Not reported
  • Conflict and security: Positive
  • No. developmental outcomes reported: 4


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Literature info

  • Grey literature
Case methodology not reported