The rain forest in the Congo basin is a giant "weather kitchen" but also one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. But how much forest is still left, and in what state? Which animals and plants live there? High tech helps answering these questions in a region that is similar in size to Western Europe. Scanning the ground with remote sensing satellites and aircraft yields three dimensional maps of the rainforest. At the same time scientists work on the ground to survey specific areas. They take a careful look at every tree and shrub they find and any animal they can get hold of - or at least whatever they leave behind. In fact, more often than not, it is the latter that helps the scientists to track down the animals. All the data go into calculating the forest's total biomass and biodiversity. This in turn determines how much CO2 the forest is able to store and thus, the money that can be earned for conservation from emissions trading. Our reporter has accompanied 20 experts stomping through the undergrowth of the giant forest. It's a tour de force through the green lung of Africa.
A film by Jürgen Schneider