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The plight of the world’s forests, which mitigate rising global temperatures by soaking up the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, came under the spotlight last year as blazes flared up across the Amazon and central Africa. Australia’s bush-fire crisis has further highlighted the urgent need to avert a warmer, drier climate. The Congo Basin, home to the world’s second-largest rain forest, is being degraded mainly by industrial logging, small-scale agriculture and demand for wood fuel. But last year, despite opposition from some business and political interests, the country’s first community forest was created in its tropical, southwestern lowlands in the hope of reversing the area’s destruction while transforming the fortunes of the republic’s marginalized forest-dwellers and halting the annihilation of their ancient culture.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES