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Wood and Fish from the Congo Basin

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The dense tropical rainforest of the Congo Basin covers 200 million hectares. It is second in size only to the Amazon forest. Additionally, by far most of the other biomes in Central Africa are characterized by woody plants, like there are different savannah types and agroforestry landscapes. These forests and woodlands are crucial for the survival of mankind through their role as carbon stocks, climate coolers and resources of renewable materials like precious timber. The Central African population relies even more directly on forest ecosystems and the including river and lake systems as they source food, energy, and construction materials.

A sound management of the Congo Basin ecosystems and fish populations direly needs scientific data.

Relevant data can be extracted from scientific reference collections like there are the xylarium and the collection of fish specimens of the Royal Museum for Central Africa. Moreover, a lot of informal knowledge exists on forest biodiversity among the local communities. Also this knowledge is essential to underpin management plans aiming at sustainability of forests functions. Decoding of this indigenous knowledge and transferring it from local languages into formal information systems involves a linguistic approach.

The project “Interdisciplinary support of sustainable management of forests and fish populations in the Congo Basin” (Sponsored by the Belgian Development Cooperation) brings together several research groups of the Royal Museum of Central Africa (ichthyology, linguistics, metafro and wood biology). The online database “Wood and Fish from the Congo Basin” gives a georeferenced overview of the available specimens of fish and wood and provides further information on the taxa.






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