Bioversity International is thrilled to have joined forces with the Congo Basin Institute (CBI), a collaboration that aims to create a nexus of research, education, training and technological development, all in and for Africa and the Congo Basin – the so-called lungs of Africa. Located in Central Africa, the Congo Basin forests and surrounding ecosystem house incredible plant and animal biodiversity and indigenous peoples.
The CBI Institutions work together with various stakeholders (including decision-makers) to foster the development of creative and multi-disciplinary solutions to the region’s environmental and development challenges such as biodiversity loss, food and water security, human and animal health.
What role will Bioversity International play? Known for decades of forest genetic resources research and awareness-raising, Bioversity International will contribute its expertise regarding restoration, forest and tree genetic resources through in-house training. Specifically, it will use the Forest Genetic Resources Training Guide (developed for lecturers and students, trainers and trainees, and forestry practitioners) to share forest genetic resources knowledge and to increase understanding of how to manage diverse and complex forest and other tree based ecosystems sustainably. Important topics to cover during such training are related to species conservation strategies, trees outside forests, seed supply chain, forest management, the scale of adaptation, plantation forestry, forest restoration and genetic modification.
“Bioversity International’s experience in protecting and utilizing crop and tree diversity is critical to develop workable solutions that combat rural poverty while conserving vital ecosystems. Their expertise will greatly strengthen the multidisciplinary CBI team working on these issues,” said Dr. Thomas Smith, CBI Co-Founder and Professor at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
“Building a multidisciplinary partnership for research, education and action with African scientists and decision-makers could make a real difference in safeguarding the Congo Basin forests. Bioversity International will contribute strongly in forest genetic resources and restoration,” added Marius Ekué, scientist and Bioversity International representative in Cameroon.
Bioversity International has a long track record in the Congo Basin – its forestry experts have collaborated with local and international partners on studying conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources of forest tree species that are important for people, devised ways to track the legality of harvested logs with molecular tools, worked to reconcile local communities’ and concessionaires’ needs regarding tree products that both parties are interested in, and are actively working on incorporating genetic considerations into ecosystem restoration using native tree species.
Photo: The Tree of Autheticity in Yangambi, DRC. Credit: CIFOR/A. Fassio