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An insight into research on larger fungi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo : challenges and opportunities

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The evolution of mycology in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is mostly linked to its colonial history with Belgium. An up-to-date overview of the challenges faced by mycologists and opportunities for mycological research in this country is still lacking. With an emphasis on studies of larger fungi, this paper presents the progress made in this country from the colonial era to the present day. This historical survey shows that most of the specimens studied were actually gathered by explorers and mycologists collaborating with or working at Meise Botanic Garden (formerly Jardin botanique de l’Etat, then National Botanic Garden of Belgium) when studies and inventories made by local mycologists are still few. The complexity of organizing collecting field trips, the scarcity of trained local supervisors, the lack of adequate materials for laboratory work, and the gigantic cost for installing and sustaining a molecular lab, explain the low influx of young mycologists from the DRC. Yet their strength lies in their ability to perform the essential work of morphological analysis (macroscopy, microscopy) of herbarium specimens, combined with access to major fungal hotspots and the convenience to arrange logistics. Implementation of IPBES goals/objectives and collaboration with molecular labs, in need of quality specimens from tropical Africa, are major opportunities for Congolese mycologists to find international partners, funding and opportunities of international publications
Journal: Geo-Eco-Trop
ISSN: 1370-6071
Issue: 3
Volume: 45
Pages: 417-434
Publication year:2021