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DR Congo | Illegal land-clearing spikes in Virunga NP during park’s temporary closure to tourists

In recent months, large chunks of lush tropical forest have been cleared from Virunga National Park, a reserve famous both for its resident mountain gorillas and for the paramilitary groups that have long spread violence throughout the region.

That’s according to new data from the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch. From May to September, the satellite-based system detected more than 1,100 hectares (2,720 acres) of tree cover loss—representing a sharp increase from the previous four months, which saw close to none. In August alone, tree cover loss was spotted in around 430 hectares (1,060 acres).

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