CIFOR-New research lab a boon for next generation of scientists in Congo Basin
Much attention and millions of dollars have been paid to determine how to mitigate and adapt to climate change in Central Africa’s Congo Basin. Now, there is a research facility worthy of that investment, the first of its kind in the region that will enable scientists to conduct greenhouse gas research specific to Central Africa. The new laboratory follows on the heels of a newly opened lab in Kenya—another first.
Based in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé, the new Central African facility owes its existence to some remarkable collaboration among a host of international research partners.
With financial support from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) established the laboratory, which is hosted by CIFOR’s sister CGIAR center and KIT partner, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)—all of whom cooperate closely and exchange expertise in soil analysis with Cameroon’s University of Dschang.
Researchers are now able to analyze soil and other samples locally, measuring greenhouse gas emissions from forests, degraded forests, and different agricultural landscapes, and assessing the environmental impacts of different land uses in the Congo Basin, home to the second-largest tropical forest area in the world.
This is something completely new in the region. While there have been some preliminary studies to assess how different land uses affect carbon stocks, none has looked at how soil management practices and the nature of land cover and use affect greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is groundbreaking research that would simply not have been possible without this new lab,” said CIFOR’s Denis Sonwa, who leads the project, a key component in CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+.
The research team comprising CIFOR scientists, students and faculty from the University of Dschang and KIT, are now taking full advantage of the high-tech lab to study how conversion of forest to agriculture in the Congo Basin increases greenhouse gas emissions…
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