The Chaillu Massif, Congo

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Some of the team on the ground working on tracking down and trailing potential alley cropping species.

Some of the team on the ground working on tracking down and trailing potential alley cropping species.

The Congo Basin is the 2nd largest remaining expanse of tropical wilderness in the world. However the area is increasingly threatened by a raft of issues, including pressure from slash and burn agriculture.

The Congo Basin is the 2nd largest remaining expanse of tropical wilderness in the world. However the area is increasingly threatened by a raft of issues, including pressure from slash and burn agriculture.

Dr Martin Cheek of Kew Garden's in his element searching out species in the Congalese rainforest.

Dr Martin Cheek of Kew Garden's in his element searching out species in the Congalese rainforest.

The rainforests here are incredibly diverse and determining which of the thousands of species might function best in an alley cropping system is no simple task, making the expertise and assistance of Kew Garden's hugely valuable.

The rainforests here are incredibly diverse and determining which of the thousands of species might function best in an alley cropping system is no simple task, making the expertise and assistance of Kew Garden's hugely valuable.

Dr. Martin Cheek of Kew and Congolese botanist Teva Kami at one of our trials where we are investigating which of our alley cropping candidate species can rival Inga's weed suppressing ability.

Dr. Martin Cheek of Kew and Congolese botanist Teva Kami at one of our trials where we are investigating which of our alley cropping candidate species can rival Inga's weed suppressing ability.

One of the most promising of the16 candidates we are currently trying to narrow down to find a winner for the title of the new 'African Inga'.

One of the most promising of the16 candidates we are currently trying to narrow down to find a winner for the title of the new 'African Inga'.

One of the key characteristics that helps identify Inga species and others from the same family is the presence of nectaries at the base of the leaves. And here, on one of our candidate species in Congo, we can see this same characteristic feature, with ants busy feeding off the nectaries on this young seedling.

One of the key characteristics that helps identify Inga species and others from the same family is the presence of nectaries at the base of the leaves. And here, on one of our candidate species in Congo, we can see this same characteristic feature, with ants busy feeding off the nectaries on this young seedling.

The very first Inga alleys ever planted in Congo. We will be planting alleys using each of the potential Inga replacement species we have identified as part of trials to identify which will function most effectively.

The very first Inga alleys ever planted in Congo. We will be planting alleys using each of the potential Inga replacement species we have identified as part of trials to identify which will function most effectively.

Dr Martin Cheek of Kew Gardens along with the Congolese Botanists overseeing the project in Congo.

Dr Martin Cheek of Kew Gardens along with the Congolese Botanists overseeing the project in Congo.

Young seedlings of one of the shortlisted species which we will be trialing to determine which will make the best 'African Inga'

Young seedlings of one of the shortlisted species which we will be trialing to determine which will make the best 'African Inga'

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