The Congo Basin is the 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.
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.
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.