The Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) is one of the countries with some of the widest ranges of biodiversity in the world. It is the second largest country in Africa. The country is home to rich wildlife and vegetation spread in its expansive territory. Effective conservation of the flora and fauna has been a challenge due to raging civil war. The violence and instability have also affected the animal and plant species in the country. As a result, many of these plants and animals are endangered.
Albertine Rift Montane Forests
The Albertine Rift montane forests are part of the Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas and shrublands Biome. The ecoregion is characterized with network of mountain chains stretching from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. Escarpments and valleys are also visible in the region. Rainfall in the area averages between 1,200 and 2,200 millimeters and the cool climate supports a range of flora and fauna. The montane rainforest is the dominant vegetation along with Guineo-Congolian rainforest in some parts of the region.
The Albertine Rift is home to around 1,200 endemic floral species. 32 endemic amphibian species reside in the region such as reed frogs and river Frogs. The area provides habitat for abundant bird species with 30 of them being endemic. The ecoregion is renowned home to the mountain gorilla, which is one of the most threatened mammals in the continent. The chimpanzee and owl-faced monkey also roam in the forests.
While deforestation is a threat to the ecoregion, the wars in the Congo have also caused a high level of damage. Efforts to conserve the flora and fauna are visible in the Virunga National Park and the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Angolan Miombo Woodlands
The Angolan Miombo Woodlands ecoregion is classified under the Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands Biome. The ecoregion stretches through all of Central Angola into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Angolan Miombo Woodlands is named for the miombo trees (Brachystegia) that characterize the region. The area has a tropical climate, with rainfall being concentrated in the summer months. Mean rainfall recorded ranges from less than 800 millimeters to nearly 1,400 millimeters. The ecoregion provides a habitat to a wide variety of wildlife such as rhinos, giraffes, cheetah, lions and buffaloes. Illegal poaching of most of these animals has become an increasingly major concern. The region, however, remains largely undisturbed since its soils do not support agriculture and prevents dense settlement.
Ruwenzori-Virunga Montane Moorlands
The Ruwenzori-Virunga Montane moorlands ecoregion is classified under the Montane Grasslands and Shrublands Biome. The ecoregion covers higher elevations of the Ruwenzori in Uganda and the Virunga Mountains in Congo. The region is characterized with lakes at different altitudes, peat bogs and swampy deltas, snow fields and glaciers. Montane grasslands and areas of scrub are visible in the region. Plant species in the area is dominated by the Lobelias and the Giant groundsels. The ecoregion is home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Many parts of the region remain intact although fire and grazing are posing environmental concerns.
Western Congolian Swamp Forests
The Western Congolian swamp forests ecoregion is classified under the Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests Biome. The ecoregion is a seasonally flooded forest with dense undergrowth and a high canopy. The region is mostly flat and receives a mean annual rainfall of over 2,000 millimeters. Major water bodies of the country are located in the area such as Lake Tumba, Lomami system, and Lake Ntomba. Most of the human population in the ecoregion is situated on the banks of the river systems. Flora in the region is dominated by the Raphia palm alongside tree species such as Manilkara. The region remains largely inaccessible, enabling the region’s fauna to roam undisturbed. Forest elephants, bonobos, pygmy chimpanzees, and lowland gorillas are abundant in the region. Poaching of the forest elephants along the navigable waterways has reduced the number of their population.