center for synthesis
and analysis of biodiversity

A centre created and developed by the FRB
African biodiversity dynamics: interactions between ecological processes and conservation actions


Principal Investigator: Thomas Couvreur, IRD, UMR DIADE, Montpellier (

9 Participating institutions: IRD, France ; National Botanic Garden of Belgium ; Free University of Bruxelles, Belgium ; Univ. of Yaoundé I, Cameroon ; Aarhus Univ., Denmark ; Missouri Botanical Garden, United States of America; CNRS, France ; Wageningen Univ., the Netherlands ; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, United Kingdom




The tropical rain forests (TRF) of Africa contain an important level of biodiversity but are under-going important shifts in response to ongoing global warming and related human actions. The conservation of this biodiversity will start with an appropriate and accurate understanding of plant species distribution and dynamics through time.

Data bases documenting species distributions are available but remain independent from each other impeding a concrete view of tropical rain forest biodiversity.

RAINBIO has a double objective in Central Africa:

(i) To produce an open access platform containing an online database of accurate Central African TRF plant distributions. This database will be compiled from existing public and non-public datasets made available through the consortium.
(ii) To use this meta-database for large scale meta-data analyses, modeling numerous TRF species distributions at several time intervals (past and future) using species distribution modeling, past and future climate scenarios, and high-precision Central Africa environmental data. Our ambition will be to generate, with unprecedented accuracy, detailed scenarios of Central African TRF biodiversity dynamics, from the past and into the future.

These data will form a permanent basis for an adequate biodiversity conservation strategy in the region, allowing better conservation assessments in the light of ongoing climate change.

About the project


Link to publications


Discover a video on their publication in BMC Biology, 'Exploring the floristic diversity of tropical Africa' on YouTube:


See Gilles Dauby's presentation at the 34th Conference of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation in 2016