In the service of Congo’s development
Forestry research between exploitation and conservation
14 February 2011, Kinshasa/Rome - This is a special day for Frank Bapeamoni. Up to his knees in a creek in the reserve of Yoko, in the heart of DR Congo's rain forest, he releases a small creature, that vehemently sways its sharp red beak, from his net. Proudly, he shows its blue and orange feathers. For the first time in his life, he has caught a kingfisher.
Bapeamoni, an ornithologist, is carrying out field work for his PhD-research on the role of birds in the ‘dynamics' of the Yoko forest. He wants to know how birds, by eating the seeds or fruits of trees and plants, spread them and, thus, contribute to the expansion of the forest. "Birds are the true farmers of the forest," he says.
For more than a year, Bapeamoni has been coming to Yoko, which hosts a facility of the nearby University of Kisangani (UNIKIS). Setting out in the early morning, he checks the catch of his nets, strategically located throughout the reserve. Today, as usual, he has the company of other forestry researchers, such as Jean-Marie Kahindo, investigating the economic potential of rattan, one of DR Congo's most important non-wood forest products.