Congo River Basin

  • Ian J. HarrisonEmail author
  • Randall Brummett
  • Melanie L. J. Stiassny
Living reference work entry

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The Congo River is the second only to the Amazon in terms of size and freshwater species diversity. The basin covers 4 million km2. The basin has over 1200 fish species, 400 mammal species, 1,000 bird species and over 10,000 vascular plant species. It provides about 30 % of Africa’s freshwater resources, and about 77 million people living in the Congo basin rely on them. The basin has remained relatively undeveloped compared to other basins in Africa, but increased political stability is allowing development, with loss of riparian habitat through deforestation, and reduction of water quality through pollution and sedimentation being some of the main threats to the freshwater ecosystems. Effective environmental planning is essential to ensure that resources are managed wisely and the ecosystems that provide them are adequately protected. Additional surveying and monitoring of biodiversity throughout the basin is required. It will also be important to designate additional protected areas with a focus on freshwaters.


Congo Cuvette centrale Ubangi Kasia Blackwater Rapids Forest Fisheries Habitat loss 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian J. Harrison
    • 1
    Email author
  • Randall Brummett
    • 2
  • Melanie L. J. Stiassny
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Environment and PeaceConservation InternationalArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Environment and Natural Resources DepartmentWorld BankWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Vertebrate Zoology, Ichthyology DepartmentAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew York CityUSA

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