According to the MEF (2020), the Republic of Congo has an estimated forest cover of 22.4 million hectares, which represents 65% of the total land area, of which 14.67 million hectares are allocated as forest concessions (DGF, 2020). There are an estimated 300 tree species, but only around 50 are commercially harvested and processed in a substantial manner. There are 71,000 hectares of plantation forests with a strong dynamic in recent years, and the arrival of industrial plantation projects (Total Energies 2021).
Congo's deforestation rate is relatively low compared to many other tropical countries with a substantial forest cover. The main drivers of deforestation are, in order of importance: subsistence agriculture through slash-and-burn, artisanal forestry and timber-fuel production (particularly on the outskirts of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire). Deforestation is more intense in the south due to a higher population than in the north of the country, which is more isolated.
Over 4.3 million hectares of Congolese forests are under protection, either as national parks or other types of reserves, the majority of which are in the northern half of the country.