The forests of the Congo Basin make up the second largest block of tropical rainforest in the world. There is an immediate and growing threat to the long-term future of biodiversity in the forests of northern Republic Congo.
The aim of the website is to provide resources for botanical inventory in northern Republic of Congo. The site includes downloadable pdfs of checklists and an illustrated identification manual in French and English. A searchable database contains 5,000 specimen records from the region and 1500 species names. Over 5000 images of living plants with associated specimen data are also available.
The government, local NGOs and foresters are faced with inadequate botanical information upon which to base management plans for conservation and sustainable use. Only a few people in the world can identify many tree species in northern Congo, and there is a lack of tools to identify tree species.
Forest managers have recognised this urgent need and brought it to the attention of taxonomists working in the region. The requirements are training, infrastructure development and taxonomic data and manuals for plant identification as tools for inventory in a format suitable for local users' needs. This depends on the development of a comprehensive botanical dataset, accessible to all forest stakeholders, supported by a sustainable, tested infrastructure and trained personnel, and linked to global datasets for identification using modern techniques. In addition to species identification, more complex information is needed to inform conservation strategies and sustainable extraction, including details of distribution and rarity, regeneration and the effect of differing exploitation regimes on both individual species and overall forest structure. All these data sets depend on accurate identification of trees at the species level.
Many people have contributed to the gathering of data, images and specimens provided on this website. Others have contributed a range of skills and knowledge from taxonomic to administrative. The help of the following people is gratefully acknowledged.
G. Bondeko, P. Boundja, D. Bourges, F. Breteler, B. Curran, M. Cheek, P. Elkan, S. Elkan, D. Filer, J. Dengui, S. Dongo, D. Dos Santos, M. Gately, W. Hawthorne, C. Iyenguet, E. Kami, B. Mackinder, V. Madzoke Bola, G. Malanda, M. Mangala, E. Manseka-Massengo, O. Mbani, Medjibe, R. Mobongo, J. Mokoko, D. Morgan, G. Moukassa, J.-M. Moutsamboté, S. Ndolo Ebika, J. Ndomba, F. Ndongo, F. Nzolani Silaho, F. Otto, J. Poulsen, M. Ndoundou Hockemba, E. Robbrecht, C. Sanz, P. Stoffelen, E. Stokes, J. Wieringa, and the late C. Wilks.
Website last updated August 2011. For more information, please contact David Harris on D.Harris@rbge.ac.uk.