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Creating the Oku Reserve

The Oku forests and the adjacent Kahuzi Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo encompass 1 million ha of intact forests, a significant carbon sink of 1.91 GtC of forest carbon, and harbor 60% of the 3,800 remaining endemic, critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla. The Oku forests are not legally protected and are thus increasingly vulnerable to deforestation. Safeguarding these forests will ensure they continue to deliver key ecosystem services and benefits for local communities.

This project will empower local communities, securing access to land and resources, and legally creating the Oku Reserve to protect 300,000 ha of forests and the Grauer’s gorilla within them. It will engage communities, build political support, and invest in Reserve infrastructure. Natural resource governance bodies and management plans will be developed across 450,000 ha of forests, including both in the reserve and adjacent community forest concessions, improving sustainable forest management, reducing degradation, and securing 1.91 GtC of forest carbon.

The project is supported with 5 360 000 SEK.

What the project delivers

Empower local communities and engage them to build political support and invest in Reserve infrastructure. Natural resource governance and management plans will be developed.

Why we support this project

The project contributes to the conservation of tropical forests, improving sustainable forest management and reducing degradation.

Project time status


This project started in July 2020 and ended in December 2022

For more information: