The Congo River Basin, the second largest in the world, is home to vast tropical swamp forests in its central part, known as the "Cuvette Centrale Congolaise".
The peat accumulation associated with these environments represents a globally important underground carbon reservoir. These peatlands are considered highly vulnerable to logging, drainage, agriculture and other forms of disturbance: their destabilisation, under the combined effects of deforestation and drier climatic conditions, could lead to CO2 into the atmosphere.
Here we propose to reconstruct the history of these peatlands using new molecular (lipid biomarkers) and isotopic (δD, δ13C, and ∆14C) combined with an archaeological study to better constrain the tropical carbon cycle, provide a regional record of peat accumulation/loss, and resolve the drivers (climate/man) of change in these environments during the Holocene.
2020-2024: ANR ORACLE
CEREGE lead :
Hydroclimatic dynamics and carbon cycle in the central Congo basin during the Holocene
Partners : PALOC, MNHN, ENS, LGTPE, ENS, LGTPE, CEREGE
Foreign collaborators: Université Marien Ngouabi (Republic of Congo), University of South Florida (USA), University of Cologne (Germany), CongoPeat (England), MARUM (Bremen, Germany)