The First Flux Tower of the Congo Basin Forest
Hans Verbeeck, Pascal Boeckx
The "Yangambi, scientific pole at the service of man and forests" (YPS) project was identified and formulated in a participatory way in August 2012. CIFOR, which implements the FORETS project "Training, Research, Environment in Tshopo" is the international organization responsible for the implementation of the YPS project.
This project is managed by a Belgian delegated cooperation and implemented by the European Union. It strengthens the sustainable participatory management of the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve and implements the first-ever accurate and continuous monitoring of atmosphere-ecosystem greenhouse gas (GHG) exchange in the Congo Basin forest. In brief, the fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and water vapour (H2O) are measured continuously using the Eddy covariance technique.
In order to measure those fluxes, a so called flux tower is installed in the middle of the Congo Basin forest. On top of this tower, which rises above the canopy (See Fig. 1), the concentrations of the different GHGs (CO2, H2O, N2O and CH4) are measured at 15 Hz, along with the windspeed and –direction. These measurements are subsequently used to calculate the net CO2, H2O, N2O and CH4 exchange between the ecosystem and the atmosphere. Flows are averaged over 30 minute periods and provide a continuous time series. The turbulence covariance technique integrates flows from a larger area, thus representing CO2 dynamics at the ecosystem level. The source area varies continuously with atmospheric stability, wind speed and direction.