Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Congo is represented by three distinct ecosystems: the coastal and inshore ecosystem, the forest ecosystem and the savannah ecosystem. The marine ecosystem seems to be disturbed mainly by offshore oilfields, and their pollutants. The inland waters center around two large basins, namely the Kouilou-Niari and the Congo-Oubangui, and seem to be less polluted. This country is faced with an important concentration of invasive plant species. According to the last national report on plant resources: 800 species of medicinal plants were inventoried. With the absence of a policy for the creation of a botanical garden, many of these species are threatened with overexploitation, especially around the built-up areas. The agricultural practices of Congo are largely traditional. The seeds of the main cultivated species (cassava root, corn, peanuts, beans, yam, bananas etc.) are preserved in a traditional manner. Since there is no one organization charged with the storage, supply and selection of seeds, there has been a progressive deterioration in the quality and quantity of agricultural seeds. The large forests of Southern Congo have been exploited since the 1940’s and in large part clear-cut. Although the annual deforestation rate in Congo is estimated at 32,000ha, the northern forests have only started being exploited in the early 1970’s and key species are still numerous. However, selective and intense harvesting poses a large threat if management plans, still in development, are not implemented and executed. Since the late 1990’s, due to socio-political issues, the domestic zoo-genetic resources were essentially decimated. All species (bovine, ovine, porcine, poultry) had a significant decrease, although the actual effects within each species are, at the moment, unknown. In terms of wildlife, the data would indicate estimates of 200 mammal species, 617 bird species, 45 reptile species, 38 amphibian species and about 2000 insect species. The aquatic ecosystems of Congo, both marine and inland, boast a very diverse fish fauna.