Since the launch of the field activities, thanks to its members and partners, Congo Biotropical Institute carries out actions in the sense of :
- Wildlife conservation near major population centers
Several actions have already been completed, and others are in full swing on the ground at the Kalonge Forest Reserve (over 60 hectares), a community forest that since 2018 is under the co-management of Congo Biotropical Institute. These actions are done in collaboration with the Masiki-Kalonge grouping in Beni territory, the traditional owner of the reserve. Other similar actions are carried out in the Mususa forest reserve (more than 50 hectares) in the city of Butembo, jointly managed by the Congo Biotropical Institute (CBI) and the Institut Technique Agrovétérinaire (ITAV) of Butembo.
In the Kalonge and Mususa reserves, we intervene in the reforestation of deforested areas, the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, the participatory demarcation of boundaries, the promotion of participatory conservation and the improvement of the social conditions of the local populations.
- Promoting community conservation
Other actions are carried out in the territory of Walikale (North Kivu Province) and in the territory of Ikela (Tshuapa Province) where Congo Biotropical Institute collaborates with local communities for the creation of Local Community Forest Concessions (LCFC). A process legally established by the DRC government thus allowing local communities to be able to intervene in the nature conservation process while exploiting part of their land in agricultural, industrial and other areas, in accordance with the ministerial decree of 2016 on the subject.
In these two territories, activities are aimed at protecting endangered species, including common chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, pangolins, Congo peacocks, okapis, forest buffaloes, etc., including species not classified or protected by the IUCN red list. Thus, teams of forest monitors, from local communities, are set up and work daily for the surveillance, the localization of the groups of threatened animal species, the location and the destruction of possible traps installed in the conservation area by hunters-poachers.
- Promotion of alternative solutions to forest products
Community rainforests are a source of basic necessities on which local people depend for their survival. In order to intervene in the limitation of the exponential exploitation of natural forest resources, it is imperative to promote the sustainable use of these resources by local communities: this is how Congo Biotropical Institute provides alternatives to forest products – including wild meat. The introduction of small-scale livestock rearing and fish farming are effective ways of reducing the pressure exerted by the local population on wildlife. Thus, we offer pairs of guinea pigs, rabbits or chickens to households in local communities as well as medical-veterinary follow-up to protect their livestock from diseases.
In the same vein, we offer medicinal and vegetable seeds to local community members in order to limit the encroachment of local populations on integral conservation areas.
- Scientific research
In this chapter, the members of Congo Biotropical Institute are involved in scientific research. Initial research focused on eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) by carrying out studies on their dietary ethology, their intestinal diseases and by conducting ethno-medicinal surveys relating the plants consumed by the gorillas to the use of these plants in traditional local medicine.
But our members also work for the improvement of beekeeping, exploiting areas with a high density of medicinal plants, so that the honey, naturally produced, can contain therapeutic properties, advantageous for the consumers. « A complete honey », nutritious and therapeutic at the same time!
- Environmental awareness and education
We sensitize local community members, as well as students, to prepare them to take over in the years to come.
Our awareness-raising activities focus on community conservation, the fight against poaching, the fight against global warming as well as sustainable development and the rational use of natural resources.
Environmental education focuses on mentoring students and youth associations in forestry, ecology and agroforestry. Thus, our actors participate in practical activities, go on site to learn methods on the exploitation of their potential. The goal is always to improve the socio-economic conditions of the indigenous people while intervening in the conservation of nature.
Beginning in June 2022, Congo Biotropical Institute will implement a program to support and encourage students who wish to become involved in the field of forestry or the environment, ecology and nature conservation.
This post is also available in: Français (French) Español (Spanish)