The Congo Basin's tropical moist forests (TMFs), of world importance, are at risk of being severely degraded and fragmented in the near future through global change – anthropogenic pressure and climate change.
How , why and where will tree species survive increasing pressure? This is a challenging issue for both African countries and Europe, which requires an urgent clarification and integration of tree ecological strategies.
CoForChange aims at explaining and predicting the possible fate of TMFs of the Congo Basin, and to improve the effectiveness of African national and European policy and programs for conservation and sustainable management of their biodiversity.
The project will involve cross-analysing satellite imagery , forest inventories , and maps of environmental factors to identify the main tree communities and study their properties. It will then focus on particular case-study sites and field experiments , to link the status of the current structure/composition/diversity of tree communities with past climatic and anthropogenic disturbances, and to assess critical tree species functional traits. Knowledge will be integrated into a vegetation model to predict the impact of various policy and climate change scenarios.
Results will be disseminated through operational decision-making tools , maps , scientific articles , training programs , etc.
CoForChange is being implemented by an interdisciplinary consortium, led by CIRAD (France). It links eight institutes from four European countries – Belgium, France, Italy, United Kingdom –, associated with five public institutions from four African countries – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of the Congo – and an international organization . It is funded by ANR (France) and NERC (UK), and co-funded by the fourteen involved partners. It was launched in January 2009 for a four-year duration.
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