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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 February, 2005, 23:18 GMT
In pictures: Saving forests
Forest canopy in the Congo Basin rain forest - Central African Republic. Copyright: WWF-Canon / Martin Harvey
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A treaty to protect the world's second largest rainforest in Africa's Congo Basin has been signed by central African leaders and the French president.
Tropical Rainforest Moist forest western Congo Basin Gabon. Copyright: WWF-Canon / Martin Harvey
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Only the Amazon Basin has a greater expanse of tropical forest, and together these regions have been described as the two vital lungs that help the world to breathe.
A Ba'aka woman moves through the forest in the Congo Basin. Copyright: WWF-Canon / Martin Harvey
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The Congo Basin forest spans seven countries, which have made a network of protected areas where the resident Ba'aka people are encouraged to use traditional methods.
Silverback gorilla in forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Copyright: WWF-Canon / Martin Harvey
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The rainforest is also home to rare animals, including white rhinos, mountain gorillas, bonobos and elephants. But poachers, bushmeat traders and animal smugglers mean they are under threat.
Logging site in Gabon. Copyright: WWF-Canon / Michel Gunther
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And the World Wide Fund for Nature warns two-thirds of the forest will disappear in 50 years if illegal logging is not stopped. International pacts have been made to help the forest but monitoring is difficult.
Road in the forests of Gabon. WWF-Canon / Michel Gunther
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Even if logging companies are only allowed to fell a few of the highest value trees, roads opening up routes into the dense interior, allow hunters and illegal loggers access to the forest.

Concern over Congo logging
16 Aug 04 |  Africa
Pygmies' bushmeat trade woe
02 Sep 03 |  Science/Nature

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