Recent satellite mapping and coring of the peatland complex of the Congo
Basin’s Couvette Centrale region underscores the global significance of
this area. Freshwater tropical peatlands in the Congo Basin make up one
of Earth’s largest terrestrial carbon sinks which forms an important
nexus between global climate, biogeochemical cycling, and biodiversity.
These peatlands are also a unique record of past climates, containing
microfossil and geochemical proxies documenting past climatic and
hydrological conditions in the region, yet there are no published
studies of these peatland deposits south of the Congo River in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Recent coring and radiocarbon dating
of peatland core sequences collected from the Couvette Centrale and Mai
Ndombe regions of DRC provides new data on the timing of peatland
establishment in the Congo Basin. Furthermore, preliminary results of
palynological and isotope geochemical analysis shed light on the spatial
and temporal variability in regional rainfall regimes for these regions.