Much of the carbon-rich organic soil found in Central Africa is threatened by uncontrolled growth Or seeThis poses a major threat to the future of climate change, says BBC African correspondent Andrew Harding.
After a 10-hour journey by car, he spent another 10 hours in a small canoe made of trees, then three hours crossing the path with poles, and then two hours with great difficulty in the swamp in the middle of the bush. In the scorching heat, the scientific team is finally ready to begin its work.
Scientists began assembling a long metal tool, such as a screwdriver used to remove corks from bottles, and then actively planting it in the dark color of submerged soil while extracting mosquitoes and mud from the device.
“Press. Again.” Of a cylinder.
Judy Madoko, a doctoral student at Marion Naqwab University in Brazzaville, Congo, commented: “It’s okay, [العينة]Not so bad. “
Over the past decade, the team has spent months working in remote swamps along the vast Congo River, mapping the perimeter of the carbon-rich organic soil they now believe is larger than the UK.
“We want to fill in the blanks on the map,” said Dr. Turkey, an expert on organic soil at the University of Leeds in the UK. “It’s hard work, but it’s always been like an adventure. I’m been doing it for 10 years, so I have to love it.
Mr. As for Madoko, he was not restrained in his expression: “I am a wild man, the woods are a quiet place, and there is no cause for concern and tension here.”
Scientists will use a GPS device to locate each part of the soil, then seal the samples extracted from the soil in plastic and send them to the University of Leeds for further analysis.
“These organic soils are very important in the context of climate change because they contain about 30 billion tons of carbon,” says Saspiens Evo, a senior expert on organic soil in the Congo-Brazzaville who visited the group. The amount in the air, which will accelerate the pace of climate change worldwide. “
“That’s the equivalent of nearly 20 years of fossil fuel emissions in the United States,” says Dr. Turkey. “I think these ecosystems are underestimated internationally.[حكومة الكونغو برزافيل] We need the financial support of the international community to ensure that this organic soil is protected.
Organic soils contain more carbon than the vast forests where they are found. But the organic soil that forms over thousands of years will be destroyed in a matter of weeks if it dries up.
The main threats come from the long dry seasons associated with climate change, as well as human activities such as unsustainable agriculture and grazing practices – a serious challenge facing Congo-Brassa and neighboring countries, all seeking to improve their economy and adapt to population growth.
There are recently emerging fears about the possibility of confirming the discovery of large deposits of oil near organic soils and the exploitation of this stock.
In the Congo-Brassa, the government has already begun to look for investors to divide the land, although there are doubts about the size and significance of that role.
“You can not ask us to exploit our natural resources. If we have to exploit them, we will exploit them in accordance with sustainable and environmental regulations,” said Orlot Sodon-Nonot, Minister of Environment in the Congo-Braza. , Dismissing concerns about corruption and mismanagement.
You cannot continue to say, “These Africans are misusing money,” the minister added. [أراضي التربة العضوية]. Because if it does not help [الغرب] In supporting our efforts to protect them, we are forced to use our natural resources as we need survival money.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, efforts have already begun to exploit the resources buried under the organic soils on the other side of the river.
Recently, the country’s Minister of Hydrocarbons Didier Bodembo announced that land would be auctioned off to prepare for oil production. Scientists say part of the land at sites designated for sale intersects with organic soil.
At a recent meeting of the DRC’s cabinet, Pudembo told his colleagues that “national oil production should exceed the normal ceiling of 25,000 barrels a day.”
The Ministry of Hydrocarbons has mentioned the French oil company Total in its tweets about the auction to be held on July 28 and 29 in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the company did not respond and Minister BP. The BBC did not respond to a request for comment.
“If this plan is not stopped, the consequences will be catastrophic,” said Irene Vapiva Betoko of Greenpeace Africa.
“The DRC government and donors need to make every possible effort to stop oil exploration and extraction and to start talking about renewable energy.”
On the other bank of the Congo River, Jordan Ilinga drives his small swing boat through a swamp blocked by palm trees.
“Go slow, walk slow,” he says.
He climbs narrowly into the roots of a tree, uses his sickle to cut a deep hole in the side, then builds a plastic bowl over the bark, collects palm wine, and moves on to the next tree.
Palm wine collection is my main source of income, ”says Ilinga,“ I sell it to feed my wife and children.
Professor Suspense looks at him and sighs in frustration and disappointment.
“It kills trees,” says the professor, “which is a real threat to the soil’s organic ecosystem.
“The problems here are related to population growth. If the problem of poverty is not solved, everyone will come into this ecosystem to make money,” he explains, when the trees die, exposing the thin organic soil to the sun’s harmful rays.
In the poor small town of Endoko, on a large tributary of the Congo River, local official Alphonse Isabi sits in an unfinished government house and admits that there is a “vacuum of publicly available information” about organic soils.
“We live here fishing and wildlife,” he says, “but if we want to live in harmony with our natural soil, the great powers, the most polluting nations, must finance us.”
But despite numerous international agreements on the need to protect the organic soils in the Congo bed, frustration is growing in the region, with Soudun-Nonut blaming the West for hypocrisy.
“Without the Congo Basin, the rest of the world could not breathe. As Africans we provide a service to ecosystems across the planet. It makes sense that this service comes at a price.”
The minister added: “Now I have lost [غابات] Amazon plays its part as a tool to control and regulate the global climate due to the removal of its trees. The Congo Basin plays the role of the human lungs and its kidneys, “he said.”
“We will not be in control forever,” he said. “We accept the best offers,” he says.
The dictatorial government of Congo-Brazzaville has denied allegations that it relies on revenues generated by the country’s marine oil fields and is one of the world’s most corrupt nations, trying to intimidate the West into projects that support land grabs. .
“We should not talk like that,” says Sudon-Nonat. “We are ready, we have an investment plan. There is no reason why we should not get that funding.”
- The report was presented by Vivian Noni, presenter of the BBC Business Daily radio show.
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