Furthering Conservation in the Congo Basin with Bezos Earth Fund 


At JGI, collaboration is at the heart of our work! From our community-led conservation approach on the ground, to the global network of JGI offices working together to spread Jane’s message of hope through action, to our expanding family of supporters who fuel our work, we know that the best way to get the job done is by working together.  

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re partnering with the Bezos Earth Fund (BEF) to further expand our science-based and community-led conservation efforts! Together, we will be putting our energy towards the forests and biodiversity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo (RoC) — a region that is essential to the healthy functioning of our shared planet.   

I would like to truly thank the Bezos Earth Fund for supporting our conservation work in Africa. The protection of these forests, with their rich biodiversity, is crucial not only for the survival of the great apes, but also in efforts to slow down climate change.

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace


The Congo Basin refers to the large area of land around the Congo River in Central Africa, often considered to be the heart of the continent. It contains the world’s second-largest rainforest, and is home to 10,000 species of plants and 400 species of mammals — including chimpanzees.  

With its wealth of natural resources, the region faces many human threats, including logging, mining, the illegal wildlife trade, and climate change. The solution? The power of community. 

For more than 30 years, JGI has been applying Dr. Jane Goodall’s pioneering community-led conservation approach across the chimpanzee range in Africa. Today, we call this approach “Tacare.” JGI has used this Tacare approach while working with communities in and around vitally important ecosystems in both the DRC and RoC, and we are committed to seeing these communities thrive.  

Through this work, JGI has supported local communities, governments, and protected area managers with resources, facilitating tools, and trainings — including the adoption and use of the latest geospatial technologies. These help to inform land-use and conservation action planning, implementation of these plans, and other decision-making on and monitoring of landscapes across these regions.   

And we’re not the only ones reaching out a helping hand; The Bezos Earth Fund, with grantee partners, is also working to establish and strengthen protected areas in the Congo Basin. Recent efforts have focused on the DRC, RoC, and Gabon, which collectively hold two-thirds of the intact forests in the Congo Basin. 

By working together, JGI & BEF will be able to further develop and implement community forest management and local community development programs for the good of the environment, local biodiversity, and human communities. 


With a generous $5 million grant provided by Bezos Earth Fund, JGI will continue and expand our ongoing conservation efforts across an area roughly the size of Connecticut. The focus will be on three regions covering 701,660 hectares in the DRC and five areas covering 805,828 hectares in the RoC, with plans scheduled over the next three years.   

In keeping with our community-led approach, JGI will work with Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) as well as the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) in the DRC and Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in the RoC. The work includes building local capacity to create and apply conservation programs, monitoring of biodiversity threats using cutting-edge mobile technologies and new high-resolution satellite sensors, and the development of sustainable livelihoods through climate-smart agroforestry and markets.  

Jeff and I were privileged to experience the Congo Basin’s rich biodiversity and breathtaking beauty firsthand, along with a team from the Bezos Earth Fund, which fueled our determination to protect it, Now, in collaboration with one of my personal heroes, the extraordinary Dr. Jane Goodall, we’re teaming up to help safeguard it now and for future generations. Simply put, the world can’t afford to lose the Congo Basin.

Bezos Earth Fund Vice Chair Lauren Sánchez.

This partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund will increase JGI’s efforts to safeguard the integrity and significant environmental carbon value of the larger Congo Basin rainforest; by working with local partners, we can preserve the cultures and values of local and indigenous communities and the future of this invaluable heart of Africa. 

We are very grateful for this support from the Bezos Earth Fund. Not only can JGI continue to advance our efforts with this generous funding, but the project will contribute significant environmental benefit and biodiversity protection to the larger Congo Basin rainforest through this community-led work, with the added benefit of preserving the natural heritage of this incredibly rich region of Africa.

Anna Rathmann, executive director, Jane Goodall Institute USA

About Author

Kira is the communications coordinator for JGI programs at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she supports the team in advancing public engagement with JGI's holistic programs. Kira graduated from Smith College in 2021, majoring in anthropology and minoring in art history, and during her time there she developed a deep interest in the field of anthrozoology. Her interests within this field are broad, and have led her to study elephant iconography in the U.S. and wildlife management in Tanzania. JGI's values and mission as well as the mindset of anthrozoology guide her work, exploring the interactions between humans and other animals in order to promote a healthier coexistence on this shared planet.