The forested region—including the Misotshi-Kabogo Forest (formerly Mt. Kabobo)—and nearby Marunga Massif is located just west of Lake Tanganyika and has been off limits to scientists since 1960 as a result of continued instability in the area.
“If we can find six new species in such a short period it makes you wonder what else is out there,” said WCS researcher Dr. Andrew Plumptre, director of the society’s Albertine Rift Program.
The forest survey was conducted between January and March of 2007, and included participants from WCS, the Field Museum in Chicago, the National Centre of Research and Science in Lwiro, and the World Wildlife Fund: the global conservation organization (WWF).
In spite of the conflict and related degradation in the area, the survey team found that some 1,000 square kilometers have remained intact, from the shores of Lake Tanganyika up to elevations of 2,725 meters above sea level. In addition to the new animal species, the survey found that the region of gallery forests and woodlands is extremely rich in biodiversity, containing a number of large mammals such as chimpanzees, bongos, buffalo, elephants, leopards, several types of monkey including a subspecies of colobus only found here, and others, although most of these large-bodied species were found at low densities, probably due to poaching. The survey also found a high diversity of birds, reptile, and amphibian species.
The expedition may also yield a number of new plant species; survey botanists were unable to identify some 10 percent of the collected samples, which will be sent to specialists in the near future. “Given the findings with the vertebrates, it is likely that some of the plants will represent new species as well,” said Ben Kirunda of WCS’s botanical team.
“The forest has been isolated from much of the Congo Forest block for at least 10,000 years and as a result contains some new interesting species,” said WCS researcher Deo Kujirakwinja, one of survey’s participants. “There is a real need to protect this forest and carry out more research in the area.”
The Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced unrest—especially in the biodiversity-rich eastern part of the country—since the 1960s, when Laurent Kabila, father of the current president, set up a base of operations in the Misotshi-Kabogo forests in his attempt to overthrow the regime of Joseph Mobutu, former president of the country (then called Zaire). Kabila succeeded in becoming president himself in 1996, the same year which plunged the region into a state of civil war. As a result, the region has been off limits to conservationists until recently.
Human impacts to the region are currently low, with gold mining on a minor level being the most substantial threat. Further, survey members who met with the leaders of local villages have found that most are supportive of turning the region into a protected area.
“The survey has found that the Misotshi-Kabogo region is biologically important enough to conserve in the form of a protected area,” said Dr. James Deutsch, director of WCS’ Africa Program. “Since few people live there, it would be relatively easy to create a park while supporting the livelihoods of people who live in the landscape.”
John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology