An Analysis of Access to Central Africa's Rainforests

Susan Minnemeyer, With contributions from Tyson Walker, Jean-Gael Collomb, Linda Cotton, and Dirk Bryant
World Resources Institute
In the absence of detailed information on forest condition, Global Forest Watch is identifying large tracts of forest unfragmented by roads to provide a coarse-scale picture of where areas that are relatively undisturbed by commercial-scale activities remain in the world’s forest. This paper focuses on the rainforests of central Africa. Results shows that much rainforest in this region remains in low access forest tracts – defined as contiguous areas free from public roads over 1,000 square kilometers in size. Aside from the Amazon Basin, few unbroken regions of tropical rainforest this large exist anywhere on earth. However, forests are increasingly under threat as new roads access previously remote regions. Of low access forest tracts, 40 percent are within commercial logging concessions, and only 7 percent are within protected areas. This preliminary study also identified regional data quality as a major challenge for accurate analysis. Estimates of the status of central Africa’s forests will become much more precise when improved data are available. This fragmentation analysis is intended to provide an overview of current forest status in central Africa and to highlight data gaps that prevent a comprehensive analysis.
Publication date
Source / Citation
Minnemeyer S, Walker T, Collomb JG, Cotton L, Bryant D (2003) An analysis of access into Central Africa's rainforests. Washington (D. C.): World Resources Institute. 20 p.