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Congo basin integrated monitoring for forest carbon mitigation and biodiversity (COBIMFO)

Research project SD/AR/01A (Research action SD)

Persons :

  • Dr. Ir.  BOECKX Pascal - Universiteit Gent (UGent)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Dr.  BEECKMAN Hans - Royal Museum for Central Africa ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Dr.  VERHEYEN Erik - Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Dr.  DESSEIN Steven - National Botanic Garden of Belgium ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Dr.  LEIRS Herwig - Universiteit Antwerpen (UA)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Prof. dr.  DEFOURNY Pierre - Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Dr.  VERBEECK Hans - Universiteit Gent (UGent)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015
  • Prof. dr.  BOGAERT Jan - Université de Liège (ULG)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2010-1/9/2015

Description :


This project fits in the context of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries program. UN-REDD+ will create a financial value for sustainable forest management actions that enhance carbon storage in forests, but the effect of UN-REDD+ on biodiversity remains elusive.
The forests of D.R. Congo are chosen as a study area as: (1) D.R. Congo is one of nine pilot UN-REDD+ countries; (2) there is a lack of information on current and future C stocks and fluxes in forests of D.R. Congo, leading to uncertainties in the global C budget; (3) Central African tropical dense rainforest are an unexplored and endangered biodiversity hotspot; (4) potential vulnerability of non-protected areas in D.R. Congo to forest degradation, and (5) the success of UN-REDD+ in D.R. Congo will strongly depend on its impact on biodiversity.

Project description


The general objective is to get baseline reference data on the C balance and biodiversity in pristine and intervened dense tropical forests of the Congo Basin and to increase our understanding in the relationship between both variables as a function of forest management and degradation.


We will measure aboveground and belowground soil carbon stocks and biodiversity indices along a forest productivity gradient (ca. 15 sites) in the Yangambi Man and Biosphere reserve (Y-MaB) and investigate direct effect relationships between forest carbon stocks and biodiversity along this productivity gradient (PG-CB). The different sites, located along a forest productivity gradient, will be tentatively selected using remote sensing techniques and validated on the ground. Carbon stocks will be investigated in the forest core and edges zones. We will bring forward a set of biodiversity indices related to lichens, fungi, higher vascular plants, ants and termites, spiders, flies, bees, arthropods and rodents. The work will be brought into practice using a set of six complementary work packages (study site selection, baseline carbon inventory, biodiversity monitoring, integration of carbon and biodiversity monitoring, and conclusions and suggestions for sustainable policies).

Interaction between the different partners

All partners involved share a common interest in African tropical forest ecology and nature conservation. The included partners have complementary research areas covering the broad range of research aspects in this project. The experimental set-up of PG-CB is of common use for all partners and thus will be implemented in the measurement campaigns of all partners. This aspect will facilitate the statistical analysis and result interpretation.

Expected results and/or Products

We will bring forward a series of recommendations for policy makers for improved implementation and adjustment of international programmes such as UN-REDD+, UNFCCC, WWF, ICCN (Intercultural Conflict, Communication and Negotiation), DGOS (Belgian Development Cooperation), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), etc.
We will report results and deliver data to international organizations such Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observations, Observatory for the Forests of Central Africa (OFAC), the Barcode of Life, Carbon-biodiversity Atlas, etc
We will communicate via popular media to a broad public (YouTube, Twitter, and Web-Blogs to allow scientists, politicians, NGO’s and the broader public to get informed about first hand exciting information from field campaigns.)
We will present results at international symposia and via publications. This work will allow publication in top scientific journals such as “Nature Geoscience” and “Nature Climate Change”, “BMC Biology” and “Conservation Biology” and eye catching presentations at international conferences.



A “site selection core team” will organize the site selection for the pilot sites PG-CB. The team is formed by H. Beeckman (P3, Royal Museum for Central Africa), P. Defourny (P5, Université Catholique de Louvain), P. Boeckx/D. Huygens (Coordination, C, Ghent University), H. Verbeeck/K. Steppe (P2, Ghent University), J. Bogaert (P4, Université de Liège) and S. Dessein (P6, National Botanic Garden of Belgium).
A “carbon core team” made up by C, P2, P3 and P4 will be responsible for the coordination of all activities related to carbon monitoring in the PG-CB sites.
A “biodiversity core team” made up by S. Dessein, E. Verheyen (P7, Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences), J. Bogaert and H. Leirs (P8, Antwerp University) will be responsible for all biodiversity monitoring activities.

Contact Information


Pascal Boeckx
Ghent University (UGent)
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering (FBE)
Laboratory of Applied Physical Chemistry (ISOFYS)
Tel. +32 9 264 60 00

Partner 2:

Hans Verbeeck
Laboratory of Plant Ecology
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Ghent University
Coupure Links 653
9000 Ghent
Tel +32 9 264 61 13
Fax +32 9 224 44 10

Partner 3:

Hans Beeckman
Laboratory for Wood Biology and Xylarium
Royal Museum for Central Africa
Leuvense steenweg 13
3080 Tervuren
Tel: + 32 (0)2 769 56 11

Partner 4:

Jan Bogaert
Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech Unit
Université de Liège,
Passage des Déportés 2
B-5030 Gembloux
Tel: +32(0)81622184

Partner 5 :

Pierre Defourny
Faculté d'ingénierie biologique, agronomique et environnementale
Université Catholique de Louvain
Croix du Sud 2 bte L7.05.16
1348 Louvain-La-Neuve
Tel : +32 10 47 23 74

Partner 6:

Steven Dessein
National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Domein van Bouchout
B-1860 Meise
tel +32 (0)2 260.09.20

Partner 7 :

Erik Verheyen
Vertebrate department – Molecular Laboratory
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)
Vautierstraat 29,
1000 Brussels
Tel: +32.2.627.42.86

Partner 8 :

Herwig Leirs
Evolutionary Ecology Group
Universiteit Antwerpen
Groenenborgerlaan 171
2020 Antwerpen
Tel : +32 3 2653469
E-mail :


Ivan Janssens
Antwerp University

Eric Van Ranst
Ghent University

Geert Baert
University College Gent

Eric Davidson
Woods Hole Research Centre

Ricardo Valentini
University of Tuscia

Dennis Baldocchi
UC Berkeley
Université de Kisangani

Inge Jonckheere

Leif Klemedtsson
University of Gothenburg

David A. Wardle
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umea

Lien Cêupens
State Archive of Belgium

Andrew Mitchell
Global Canopy Program

Documentation :

Congo bassin integrated monitoring for forest carbon mitigation and biodiversity (COBIMFO) : final report  Boeckx, Pascal - Steppe, Kathy - Beeckman, Hans ... et al.  Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2017 (SP2680)
[To download

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