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Total and Forêt Ressources Management to plant a 40 000 ha forest in Congo

France-headed global oil, gas, and energy major Total SE has announced that it together with Forêt Ressources Management Group (FRM), a major player in the wood, forestry, and agroforestry plantation sector in Africa, have signed a partnership agreement with the Republic of the Congo to plant a 40 000-hectare forest on the Batéké Plateaux. The new forest will create a carbon sink that will sequester more than 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 20 years.

Total SE together with Forêt Ressources Management Group (FRM), have signed a partnership agreement with the Republic of the Congo to plant a 40 000-hectare forest on the Batéké Plateaux (photo courtesy FRM).

The project, to be financed by Total via its new Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) unit, includes agroforestry practices developed with the local communities for agricultural production and sustainable wood energy. By 2040, responsible management through selective cutting will promote the natural regeneration of local species and provide Brazzaville and Kinshasa in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with lumber and plywood.

With this project on the Batéké Plateaux, Total is committing to the development of natural carbon sinks in Africa. These activities build on the priority initiatives taken by the Group to avoid and reduce emissions, in line with its ambition to get to net-zero by 2050. They will also help to showcase the Congo’s natural potential and to extend our long-term partnership with the country, where we have been present for fifty years, said Nicolas Terraz, SVP Africa, Exploration & Production at Total.

Formed in June 2019 as part of Total’s ambition to get to net zero emissions by 2050 alongside its initiatives to avoid and reduce emissions, NBS aims to develop natural carbon sinks to sequester the remaining tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from Total’s operations.

Backed by an annual budget of US$100 million, the objective is to participate in the development of sustainable sequestration capacity of at least 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year from 2030 while contributing to the preservation of biodiversity, and the sustainable development of local communities.

We want to develop these projects with recognized partners, such as FRM, who have a great deal to teach us, while concerting with relevant regions to anchor our commitment in the long term and contribute to local development, added Adrien Henry, VP of Nature-Based Solutions at Total.

Enhance biodiversity, sequester carbon, and provide jobs

The project is designed to produce multiple social, economic, and environmental benefits. The planting of Acacia mangium and auriculiformis trees on sandy plateaux exposed to recurring bushfires will create a forest environment that will ultimately help broaden the ecosystems’ biodiversity.

The project will create employment opportunities, with a positive impact on several thousand people. In addition, a local development fund will support health, nutritional and educational initiatives to benefit neighboring villages.

Location of the planned forest plantation (graphic courtesy Total).

The new forest will create a carbon sink that will sequester more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 over 20 years, to be certified in accordance with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community, and Biodiversity (CCB) standards.

The more than 10 million hectares of land reserves on the Congo’s Batéké Plateaux offer a fantastic way to combat climate change at the global level and a unique opportunity for sustainable socio-economic development in isolated regions of the country, said Bernard Cassagne, Chairman and CEO of Forêt Ressources Management (FRM).

FRM has more than 30 years of experience in forestry, tropical forests, and consulting services for the wood industry. FRM has forged strong ties with forestry companies, the forest products and wood industries, local authorities, civil society, and international lenders in numerous countries with major forestry challenges to manage existing resources or develop new resources through tree-planting programs.

This ambitious and exemplary project is part of PRONAR, the national afforestation/reforestation program launched in 2011 to expand the country’s forest cover and increase carbon storage capacity, create new wood-based businesses to diversify the national economy, and foster the emergence of a green economy in the Republic of the Congo, concluded Rosalie Matondo, Minister of the Forest Economy of the Republic of the Congo.

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