The trees are primarily evergreens
and they are found throughout the basin's central depression. There are
occasional clearings found in the forest, however. These clearings are
natural in origin and have not been cleared by humans. Bordering the
forest are savanna grasslands which blend into the forest along its
The Congo River runs through
these forests, which are called the Congolese forests. Along the banks
are strips of grass and meadows which contain Echinochloa (barnyard
grass), papyrus and Cyperaceae (sedge). Beyond the levees, the high
forest grows and in-between the Alchornea shrub grows indicating the
transition from grassland back to forest.
The Congo basin's wildlife
lives in the Congolese forest and is very different from the wildlife
found in Africa's savanna grasslands. In addition to the wildlife found
in the forest are the creatures that inhabit the waters of the Congo.
There are many species of fish (over 200 species exist in the Malebo
Pool) throughout. There are also forms of wildlife that inhabit the
marshes that have nothing to do with the wildlife in the river.
occurred while processing this directive]
Several species of water snakes and various reptiles, notably the
crocodile, live along the banks of the river. One can also find
tortoise that are semiaquatic.
The birds that live in this
region are indigenous to the African continent. Throughout the region
surrounding the Congo River over 250 species of birds have been noted.
The birdlife which is most abundant includes ducks, herons, storks, and
pelicans. At different times of the year, birds not typically found in
the forest have been observed. For example the sea swallows will fly
upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. Other birds from Europe have also
been observed while following their migratory routes through the region.
Few aquatic mammals live in the
Congo. They are represented by the hippopotamus, otter, and the manatee
(which has only been found in the Sangha tributary).