Total and Forêt Ressources Management have signed a partnership agreement with the Republic of the Congo to plant a 40,000-hectare forest on the Batéké Plateau.
The new forest will create a carbon sink that will sequester more than 10 million tons of CO2 over 20 years, to be certified in accordance with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) standards. The project, financed by Total, includes agroforestery practices developed with the local communities for agricultural production and sustainable wood energy. By 2040, responsible management through selective cutting will promote the natural regeneration of local species and provide Brazzaville and Kinshasa with lumber and plywood.
“With this project on the Batéké Plateau, Total is committing to the development of natural carbon sinks in Africa. These activities build on the priority initiatives taken by the Group to avoid and reduce emissions, in line with its ambition to get to net zero by 2050. They will also help to showcase the Congo’s natural potential and to extend our long-term partnership with the country, where we have been present for 50 years,” says Nicolas Terraz, Senior Vice President Africa, Exploration & Production at Total.
“We want to develop these projects with recognised partners, such as FRM, who have a great deal to teach us, while concerting with relevant regions to anchor our commitment in the long term and contribute to local development,” adds Adrien Henry, Vice President Nature Based Solutions at Total.
The project is designed to produce multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. The planting of Acacia mangium and auriculiformis trees on Sandy Plateau exposed to recurring bushfires will create a forest environment that will ultimately help broaden the ecosystems’ biodiversity. The project will create employment opportunities, with a positive impact on several thousand people. In addition, a local development fund will support health, nutritional and educational initiatives to benefit neighbouring villages.
“The more than 10 million hectares of land reserves on the Congo’s Batéké Plateau offer a fantastic way to combat climate change at the global level and a unique opportunity for sustainable socio-economic development in isolated regions of the country,” notes Bernard Cassagne, Chairman and CEO of Forêt Ressources Management.
“This ambitious and exemplary project is part of PRONAR, the national afforestation/reforestation program launched in 2011 to expand the country’s forest cover and increase carbon storage capacity, create new wood-based businesses to diversify the national economy, and foster the emergence of a green economy in the Republic of the Congo,” concluded Rosalie Matondo, Minister of the Forest Economy of the Republic of the Congo.