First field campaign of Marc Peaucelle’s MSCA fellowship “LEAF to Terrestrial Biosphere Model” (LEAF2TBM)

(21-06-2021) On the 8th of June 2021, a team from CAVELab-ISOFYS departed for the Democratic Republic of Congo where they will install two permanent monitoring plots in the equatorial rainforest of the Congo Basin.

The team includes Wim Vancraeynest (volunteer), Thomas Sibret (ISOFYS), Lodewijk Lefevre (ISOFYS), and PI Marc Peaucelle (CAVELab). Travelling from Brussels to Kinshasa, they will board a domestic flight to Kisangani, before continuing their journey by speedboat on the Congo River towards their final destination of Yangambi, in the Equatorial Province.

Current terrestrial biosphere models represent worldwide vegetation with a limited number of plant functional types and empirical mechanisms, calibrated on discrete observations. This results in over-simplification of highly diverse ecosystems. In data poor regions, such as Central Africa, the lack of field observations, may lead to widely diverging predictions for carbon cycling and nutrient-water limitation

Last year, in the midst of a global pandemic, the first fluxtower of the African rainforest (congoflux) was constructed in Yangambi. Together with local counterparts, the CAVELab-ISOFYS team will now set up two permanent monitoring plots. Within each 1ha plot, 25 trees of 5 dominant species will be selected, on which automatic dendrometers and sapflow sensors will be installed. Foliar traits including nutrients, pigments, proteins, carbon and oxygen isotopes, as well as, leaf gas exchange measurements, will be collected for up to a year. This work will result in a unique dataset of concomitant observations enabling the calibration of vegetation models. This will help improve our understanding of the dynamics of carbon and water fluxes in the African rainforest.

More information about this Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action European Fellowship

Yangambi along the Congo river

Looking up at the canopy

The flux tower (CONGOFLUX project)

Canopy view, seen from the flux tower