Science Leadership to Protect Congo’s Rainforest Carbon Celebrated in the United States

Following a terrestrial carbon accounting training held in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, the Carbon Institute, the Regional Center for Agricultural Education in Cameroon, and the National Sciences Agronomy and Forestry School at Marien Ngouabi University in the Republic of the Congo, Jean-Paul Kibambe, a professor from University of Kinshasa, officially joined a network of Carbon Institute scientists attending the Global Climate Action Summit. This event was hosted by the Governor of California, and Professor Kibambe won a “Sky Changers” award for his efforts to build a strong community of world-class scientists who measure rainforest carbon and communicate these measures to help fight climate change.

The Congo Basin Forest is the second largest rainforest in the world, estimated to contain about 8 percent of the world’s forest-based carbon. Photo by Eva McNamara, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

Professor Kibambe wears many hats in his work. At the University of Kinshasa, he teaches the next generation of climate scientists how to use satellite images and do field work to estimate carbon in the varying ecosystems of Congo’s rainforest. In addition to teaching classes, he works for the Wildlife Conservation Society as a GIS and Remote Sensing Coordinator. He is also an environmental science advisor to the Congolese government, in charge of the prestigious and strenuous international effort to estimate how much terrestrial carbon lies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s forests.

Professor Kibambe is a leader in carbon accounting in Central Africa. Photo by Eva McNamara, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

Professor Kibambe was recognized for the work he does to protect the Congo Basin rainforest through research, teaching, and policy through the receipt of the Sky Changers award. He plans to continue his policy, research and capacity development work using the course curriculum developed at a Carbon Accounting training held in May 2018, as well as continuing to work directly with the government through his advisory role.

Professor Kibambe receives a certificate upon completion of the week-long Carbon Accounting training for professors and ministry officials held in partnership with the Carbon Institute, CRESA Forêt-Bois and ENSAF. Photo courtesy of Olivia Freeman, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

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