Vital Importance of the Congo Basin: The Congo Basin is the Congo River’s sedimentary basin. The Congo Basin lies in Central Africa, in what is known as west equatorial Africa. The Congo Basin region is sometimes simply referred to as the Congo. It is home to some of the world’s largest tropical rainforests and is a key supply of water for agriculture and electricity development.
Many scientists have classified the basin’s forest as vital for mitigating climate change due to its size and variety, as well as its role as a carbon sink. However, deforestation and ecological degradation caused by climate change may put stress on the forest environment, making the basin’s hydrology more erratic.
In turn, according to a 2012 research, the fluctuation in precipitation caused by climate change would have a detrimental impact on economic activity in the region.
The Congo Basin has eight sites on the World Heritage List, five of which are also on the list of World Heritage in Danger which are located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The humid forest is protected in 14 percent of its entirety.
The basin originates in the East African Rift system’s highlands, with inflow from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the top reaches, and the Lualaba River, which drains marshes in the middle reaches.
The river’s yearly sediment load is particularly substantial due to the river’s young age and active uplift of the East African Rift at the headlands, yet the drainage basin encompasses huge expanses of low relief across much of its area. It is mostly defined by swells such as the Bie, Mayumbe, Adamlia, Nil-Congo, East African, and Zambian Swells.
Brief History on the Congo Basin
The initial occupants of the Congo Basin area were thought to be pygmies, and at the time, the deep woods and damp climate kept the region’s population low, preventing hunter-gatherer lifestyle, vestiges of which persist to the current day.
By the late nineteenth century, Belgium, France, and Portugal had established colonial rule over the whole territory. The General Act of the Berlin Conference of 1885 defined the Congo’s “conventional basin,” which comprised the whole real basin as well as certain additional territories. The General Act obligated its signatories to maintain neutrality within the customary basin, although this was not followed during World War I, Vital Importance of the Congo Basin.
The basin was the Congo River’s watershed, and it was occupied by pygmy peoples until Bantu peoples arrived there and established the Kingdom of Kongo. According to the World Resources Institute, 80 million people reside within the Congo Basin.
Countries within the Congo Basin.
Countries that are located wholly or partially within the Congo Basin include; Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Republic of Congo, Angola, Gabon, Cameroon, Zambia, and Burundi.
Weather and Climate within the Congo Basin.
The climate is consistent, with two rainy seasons that include very heavy rainfalls and high temperatures all year.
The Congo Basin forests influence rainfall over the North Atlantic. In other words, these forests are critical to the future of climatic stability, acting as a buffer against catastrophic climate change.
The Congo Basin encompasses one of the largest forests in Africa.
The Congo Basin has Africa’s greatest forest. In and around the forest, there are about 10,000 plant species. The humid forests span an area of 1.6 million km2.
Wildlife within the Congo Basin.
Okapi, bonobo, and Congo peafowl are some of the wildlife species that thrive within the Congo Basin. The western lowland gorilla is found throughout the basin. Mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda also inhabit forests within the Congo Basin. The United Nations Environment Programme warned in 2010 that gorillas might go extinct in the Greater Congo Basin within 15 years.
The Congo Basin is an Importance source of African Teak.
The Congo Basin is a significant supply of African teak, which is used to make furniture and flooring. These forests support an estimated 40 million people who rely on traditional means of subsistence.
Amazing National Parks within the Congo Basin that you can visit.
For those interested in exploring the Congo Basin, here are some national parks that you can visit: Semuliki National Park in Uganda which is an extension of the Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can also visit endangered mountain gorillas in Congo’s Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Other national parks within the Congo Basin that you can visit include Salonga National Park, Lomami National Park which are all found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.