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The agricultural plantation had been abandoned for decades. Deserted shortly after the Republic of Congo (known as the ROC or Congo Brazzaville) declared independence from France, its empty warehouse, rusted equipment and encroaching vegetation embodied the stagnation of the country’s agriculture sector. Then in 2011, a new company arrived.
As far as boardwalks go, this one looks unremarkable. Its narrow, slippery planks cut a path through the dense rainforest of central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), mere inches above boot-swallowing mud and coffee-colored pools of unknown depth. But given the journey these planks have taken, the fact that this boardwalk exists at all is a triumph.
In the developed world, the smell of woodsmoke is often comforting. In Central Africa, however, its scent and haze can be unsettling — visceral evidence of the world’s second-largest tropical forest being slowly but steadily reduced to ash.
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