Fieldwork in the Congo

Travelling on the UbanguiCampsite in a peaty swampGreta Dargie, Ian Lawson and Simon Lewis spent several weeks in the Republic of Congo searching for peatlands. Greta’s PhD research, in collaboration with WCS Congo, aims to make the first systematic study of peatlands in the Congo Basin, developing the same kinds of themes that our group has been working on in Peru. Recent political developments mean that it is now safe, though still challenging, to work in the sparsely populated wetlands of the Congo Basin.

Elephant tracks in peatThe fieldwork involved long journeys on foot and by river, thousands of bees, dozens of tins of sardines, a very damp campsite, and some amazing scenery. The first sighting of peat came when the team stumbled across elephants’ footprints, 30 cm deep in the peat layer of a palm swamp…