Congo Basin

The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin of the Congo River. The Congo Basin is located in Central Africa, in a region known as west equatorial Africa. The Congo Basin region is sometimes known simply as the Congo.

The basin begins in the highlands of the East African Rift system with input from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the upper reaches and the Lualaba River draining wetlands in the middle reaches. Due to the young age and active uplift of the East African Rift at the headlands, the river's yearly sediment load is very large but the drainage basin occupies large areas of low relief throughout much of its area.[1] The basin is a total of 3.7 million square kilometers and is home to some of the largest undisturbed stands of tropical rainforest on the planet, in addition to large wetlands. The basin ends where the river empties its load in the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is equatorial tropical, with two rainy seasons including very high rainfalls, and high temperature year round. The basin is home to the endangered western lowland gorilla.

The basin was the watershed of the Congo River populated by pygmy peoples, and eventually Bantu peoples migrated there and founded the Kingdom of Kongo. Belgium, France, and Portugal later established colonial control over the entire region by the late 19th century. The General Act of the Berlin Conference of 1885 gave a precise definition to the "conventional basin" of the Congo, which included the entire actual basin plus some other areas. The General Act bound its signatories to neutrality within the conventional basin, but this was not respected during the First World War.

Course and drainage basin of the Congo River

Congo region

Congo is a traditional name for the equatorial Middle Africa that lies between the Gulf of Guinea and the African Great Lakes. It contains some of the largest tropical rainforests in the world.

CongoLualaba watershed plain political
Course and drainage basin of the Congo River with countries marked

Countries wholly or partially in the Congo region:

Environmental importance

The Congo forest is an important biodiversity hotspot. It is home to okapi, bonobo and the Congo peafowl, but is also an important source of African teak, used for building furniture and flooring. An estimated 40 million people depend on these woodlands, surviving on traditional livelihoods. At a global level, Congo's forests act as the planet's second lung, counterpart to the rapidly dwindling Amazon. They are a huge "carbon sink," trapping carbon that could otherwise become carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming. The Congo Basin holds roughly 8 percent of the world's forest-based carbon. These forests also affect rainfall across the North Atlantic. In other words, these distant forests are crucial to the future of climate stability, a bulwark against runaway climate change.

A moratorium on logging in the Congo forest was agreed with the World Bank and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC, République Démocratique du Congo) in May 2002. The World Bank agreed to provide $90 million of development aid to RDC with the proviso that the government did not issue any new concessions granting logging companies rights to exploit the forest. The deal also prohibited the renewal of existing concessions.[2]

Greenpeace is calling on the World Bank to "think outside the box" and use the forest's potential in the battle against climate change. If these woodlands are deforested, the carbon they trap will be released into the atmosphere. It says that 8% of the Earth's forest-based carbon is stored in the RDC's forests. Predictions for future unabated deforestation estimate that by 2050 activities in the DRC will release roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide as the United Kingdom has emitted over the last 60 years.

The government has written a new forestry code that requires companies to invest in local development and follow a sustainable, twenty-five-year cycle of rotational logging. When a company is granted a concession from central government to log in Congo, it must sign an agreement with the local chiefs and hereditary land owners, who give permission for it to extract the trees in return for development packages. In theory, the companies must pay government nearly $18m rent a year for these concessions, of which 40% in taxes paid should be returned to provincial governments for investment in social development of the local population in the logged areas.

In its current form, the Kyoto Protocol does not reward so-called "avoided deforestation" - initiatives that protect forest from being cut down. But many climate scientists and policymakers hope that negotiations for Kyoto's successor will include such measures. If this were the case, there could be a financial incentive for protecting forests.

L’Île Mbiye in Kisangani is part of the Sustainable Forest Management in Africa Symposium project of forest ecosystem conservation conducted by Stellenbosch University. RDC is also looking to expand the area of forest under protection, for which it hopes to secure compensation through emerging markets for forest carbon.

The main Congolese environmental organization working to save the forests is an NGO called OCEAN, which serves as the link between international outfits like Greenpeace and local community groups in the concessions.

See also


  1. ^ Mineral deposits & Earth evolution. Geological Society. 2005. ISBN 978-1-86239-182-6.
  2. ^ "The Fight to Save Congo's Forests". October 22, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 0°00′00″N 22°00′00″E / 0.0000°N 22.0000°E

Angola Basin

The Angola Basin is located along the West African South Atlantic Margin which extends from Cameroon to Angola.

It is characterized as a passive margin that began spreading in the south and then continued upwards throughout the basin.

This basin formed during the initial breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea during the early Cretaceous, creating the Atlantic Ocean and causing the formation of the Angola, Cape, and Argentine basins.

It is often separated into two units: the Lower Congo Basin, which lies in the northern region and the Kwanza Basin which is in the southern part of the Angola margin.

The Angola Basin is famous for its "Aptian Salt Basins," a thick layer of evaporites that has influenced topography of the basin since its deposition and acts as an important petroleum reservoir.

Benguela-Belize Lobito-Tomboco Platform

Benguela-Belize Lobito-Tomboco is a 390 m (1,280 ft) offshore compliant tower oil platform off the coast of Angola, in the lower Congo basin. It is owned and run by the Chevron Corporation.

Black-billed turaco

The black-billed turaco (Tauraco schuettii) is a medium-sized turaco, an endemic family to sub-Saharan Africa. It is a resident breeder in the forests of central Africa, found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, West Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Bob-tailed weaver

The bob-tailed weaver (Brachycope anomala) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Brachycope.

It is found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Chinsali District

Chinsali District with headquarters at Chinsali is located in Muchinga Province, Zambia.

It lies on the watershed between the Chambeshi River in the Congo basin and the Luangwa River in the Zambezi basin. The north-eastern half of the district is relatively flat plateau, especially along the Chambeshi, of 1200–1300 m elevation but the south-western half has an attractive landscape of granite hills with an elevation of 1500–1600 m, where the country estate of Shiwa Ngandu is located.

Despite running along the edge of the upper Luangwa Valley, there is no road(Matumbo/Chama Road) access from the district to that valley and its national parks except with specially-licensed off-road tour companies.

As of the 2000 Zambian Census, the district had a population of 128,646 people.

Cinnamon bracken warbler

The cinnamon bracken warbler (Bradypterus cinnamomeus) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.

It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and subtropical or tropical moist shrubland.

Congo Basin Forest Partnership

The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) is a non-profit initiative to promote the conservation and responsible management of the Congo Basin's tropical forests. The project aims to improve the techniques and information sharing of involved organizations. It is led by the United States and sponsored by more than 40 international governments and investors.

Congo River

The great Congo River (Kongo: Nzâdi Kôngo; French: Fleuve Congo; Portuguese: rio Congo), formerly known as the Zaire River under the Mobutu regime, is the second longest river in Africa, shorter only than the Nile, as well as the second largest river in the world by discharge volume, following only the Amazon. It is also the world's deepest recorded river, with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft).

The Congo-Lualaba-Chambeshi River system has an overall length of 4,700 km (2,920 mi), which makes it the world's ninth-longest river. The Chambeshi is a tributary of the Lualaba River, and Lualaba is the name of the Congo River upstream of Boyoma Falls, extending for 1,800 km (1,120 mi).

Measured along with the Lualaba, the main tributary, the Congo River has a total length of 4,370 km (2,715 mi). It is the only river to cross the equator twice. The Congo Basin has a total area of about 4,000,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi), or 13% of the entire African landmass.

Congo martin

The Congo martin or Congo sand martin (Riparia congica) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family.

It occurs only along the Congo River and its tributary, the Ubangi. It is fairly abundant within its restricted range.

The habitat requirement of this non-migratory species is forested rivers with sandbanks for breeding.

The Congo martin nests in colonies in February and March, with each pair excavating a tunnel in a sandbank about 1 m above the river. The nest itself is at the end of the tunnel. Little is known of the breeding biology, although it is probably similar to that of the sand martin.

Congo peafowl

The Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis), known as the mbulu by the Bakôngo, is a species of peafowl native to the Congo Basin. It is one of three extant species of peafowl, the other two being the Indian peafowl (originally of India and Sri Lanka) and the green peafowl (native to Myanmar and Indochina).

Golden-naped weaver

The golden-naped weaver (Ploceus aureonucha) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family. It is found in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Grey-throated barbet

The grey-throated barbet (Gymnobucco bonapartei) is a species of bird in the Lybiidae family (African barbets).

It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

List of rivers of Tanzania

This is a very partial list of rivers of Tanzania


Manyema (Una-Ma-Nyema, eaters of flesh), a powerful and, in the past, warlike Bantu people in the southeast of the Congo basin and in the Kigoma Region of Western Tanzania.

In Tanzania they include various tribes which are independent culturally but with some resemblance due to intermarriages, including the Wagoma, Wabwari, Waholoholo, Wabuyu, Wamasanze,Wabembe and so on.

Manyemaland was for the greater part of the 19th century an Eldorado of the Arab slave raiders.

In the 20th century, they have made considerable contribution in fields such as soccer, music and politics.

Palo (religion)

Palo, also known as Las Reglas de Congo, is a religion with various denominations which developed in Cuba among Central African slaves and their descendants who originated in the Congo Basin. It is completely different from Santería and Ifa. Denominations often referred to as "branches" of Palo include Mayombe (or Mallombe), Monte, Briyumba (or Brillumba), and Kimbisa. The Spanish word palo "stick" was applied to the religion in Cuba due to the use of wooden sticks in the preparation of altars, which were also called la Nganga, el caldero, nkisi or la prenda. Priests of Palo are known as Paleros, Tatas (men), Yayas (women) or Nganguleros. Initiates are known as ngueyos or pino nuevo.

Red-chested swallow

The red-chested swallow (Hirundo lucida) is a small non-migratory passerine bird found in West Africa, the Congo Basin and Ethiopia. It has a long, deeply forked tail and curved, pointed wings.It was formerly considered a subspecies of the closely resembling barn swallow, however, the adult red-chested swallow differs in being slightly smaller than its migratory relative, in addition to having a narrower blue breast band and shorter tail streamers; juveniles are more comparable to barn swallow chicks.

Scarce swift

The scarce swift (Schoutedenapus myoptilus) is a species of swift in the family Apodidae.

It is found in Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

South African cliff swallow

The South African cliff swallow (Petrochelidon spilodera), also known as the South African swallow, is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae native to central−western and southern Africa.

It is found in Botswana, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Nests are commonly built from mud under artificial structures such as huts and bridges.

Western citril

The western citril (Crithagra frontalis), also known as the yellow-browed citril, is a species of finch in the Fringillidae family. It is found in central Africa.

The western citril was formerly placed in the genus Serinus but phylogenetic analysis using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences found that the genus was polyphyletic. The genus was therefore split and a number of species including the western citril were moved to the resurrected genus Crithagra.

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