Flux tower


The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve (Tshopo Province, Democratic Republic of Congo) is co-managed by the Institut National d'Eude et de la Recherche Agronomique (INERA) and the MAB program "Man and Biosphere" attached to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD). 

It is a forest reserve - a biosphere reserve under UNESCO status located in the heart of the Congo Basin (the largest forest basin after the Amazon). This reserve has a real potential as a research and concentration site for REDD+ issues and the study of tropical ecosystem functions. With a surface area of approximately 225,000 hectares, this protected area has just received financial support from the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union in order to strengthen, improve and make its co-management profitable for purposes focused on the sustainable development of humans and forests. This program is executed by CIFOR through the R&SD. 

The scientific coordination of this project is jointly led by CIFOR and ERAIFT. ERAIFT will provide a scientific coordinator on a permanent basis in Yangambi to supervise the implementation of the planned activities. As a reminder, ERAIFT was born around the MAB program of UNESCO which aims at sustainable human development. Currently, it enjoys the status of a Category II Center under the auspices of UNESCO.

In an operational way, this project aims to :

  1. contribute to the protection and sustainable development of the biodiversity of the Yangambi Reserve and its periphery;
  2. Promote the sustainable production of goods and services from the region's forests for the benefit of the socio-economic development of the local populations;
  3. to strengthen human capacities for sustainable forest management through training and scientific research oriented towards development.


A flux tower for measuring greenhouse gas levels will be installed and operational within the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve and its data will benefit the national and international scientific community as well as the local populations. The University of Ghent (Belgium) through the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering is in charge of the actual installation of these flow towers.

Project objectives

General objective

The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve is managed in a participatory manner for the benefit of the local populations and a national and international scientific community. Thus preserved, it becomes a scientific pole of reference in terms of carbon data and forest structure, promoting and developing research on biodiversity and climate change, while ensuring the food sovereignty of its populations and the preservation of natural resources (sustainable human development).


Specific objectives

The operational objectives pursued by the YPS project are :

  • The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve preserves its integrity and reduces the effects of anthropic pressure on its natural resources thanks to the joint action and participation of the various stakeholders, while contributing to the improvement of the food sovereignty of the riparian communities;

The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve is becoming a high-level scientific pool, through the establishment of scientific coordination between Belgian, Congolese and international institutions, the capitalization and valorization of knowledge and support for the training of Congolese researchers, who are part of an international network of universities and scientific institutions;

Flux tower

A flow tower for measuring the level of greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O and CH4) will be installed and operational within the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve and its data will benefit the national and international scientific community.


With the objective of better understanding the contribution of tropical forests to climate change mitigation, Yangambi is now home to the first flux tower in the heart of the Congo Basin for the study of greenhouse gas exchanges between the forest and the atmosphere.

Built by Ghent University, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), R&SD and the Regional Post-Graduate School for Integrated Management of Tropical Forests (ERAIFT), in partnership with the National Institute for Agronomic Studies and Research (INERA), the tower has been operational since early October 2020.

Reaching a height of 55 meters (15 meters above the forest canopy), this structure will fill a huge data gap on the importance of African rainforests in capturing global carbon emissions, changes in local and regional rainfall patterns, and the effect of forest degradation and deforestation on global warming. All data produced will be open and free to the international scientific community.

"We know that the preservation of forests in Central Africa is crucial to combat climate change, but until now their contribution and potential as carbon sinks was probably under-studied," said Pascal Boeckx, professor at Ghent University. "This tower is an important first step toward enhancing the Congo Basin rainforest - the second largest in the world."

The initiative is part of a project funded by the European Union and Belgium to make Yangambi a scientific hub for the benefit of the people and biodiversity of the DRC. The objective of the project is to support scientific research, promote conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, and improve the living conditions of rural communities living around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve.

"Yangambi has enormous potential to once again become a global reference for the study of tropical forests," said the European Union's ambassador to the DRC, Jean-Marc Châtaigner. "This tower will place the DRC at the forefront of scientific research in the global fight against climate change and, in particular, its consequences in tropical areas," he added.

The tower is managed by Congolese technicians working with INERA, who have received all the necessary training on technical and operational aspects.

"Our research station in Yangambi has a long history in climate studies. This tower will allow us to continue to produce important scientific knowledge to inform national, regional and international policies in the context of global warming," concluded Amand Mbuya Kankolongo, Director General of INERA.


Link to the database under construction : www.yangambi-bdd.org

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