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.
In the middle of one of the largest forests on Earth, miles from the nearest town, a tree crashes to the ground. Another soon follows it, then another, and another. Before long, an area the size of 600 American football fields is transformed into a gaping hole in the trees in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — a hole big enough to catch the eye of a researcher hundreds of miles away in the country’s capital.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) contains at least half of the Congo Basin rainforest, the largest tropical forest on Earth after the Amazon. But far from an untouched paradise, this forest is put to work.