Jean-Marie Moutsamboté

The CongoPeat network is sad to learn of the death of Professor Jean-Marie Moutsamboté on the 3rd of September, 2022.  

Professor Moutsamboté accompanies the CongoPeat field team in March 2022 to identify tree species in new forest plots. Professor Moutsamboté is standing third from the left.

Professor Moutsamboté was the Republic of the Congo’s most highly regarded botanist, and one of the few people to study the plants of the Cuvette Centrale peatlands. He was a lecturer and researcher at Marien N’Gouabi University, and was also responsible for the national herbarium at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences Exactes et Naturelles, Brazzaville.  

Professor Moutsamboté was born on 20 September 1953 in Guena, Mvouti District and passed away on 3 September 2022 in Brazzaville. After excelling at school, he went on to study for his undergraduate and masters degrees at Marien N’Gouabi University. In 1985 he completed his PhD, titled Dynamique de reconstitution de la forêt Yombe (Dimonika, R.P. du Congo), from the University Bordeaux 3 and in 2012 he successfully defended his state thesis in the Republic of the Congo. He was author of many scientific publications and also co-discovered new species. His An Introduction to the Trees from the North of the Republic of Congo is one of the only books available on the botany of the north of the Republic of the Congo. In addition to his academic activities, Professor Moutsamboté participated in the training of several forest inventory teams throughout the Republic of the Congo.

As well as his expertise, he will be remembered for his enthusiasm and kindness when imparting knowledge to his students and colleagues in the field. He actively helped our work in the peatlands, helping Professor Lewis complete his fieldwork on his very first expedition to the swamps of the Republic of the Congo, which would eventually lead to the CongoPeat project and a focus on the central Congo peatlands. Active until the end, Professor Moutsamboté accompanied a CongoPeat field team in March 2022 to the Cuvette Department, to identify tree species in new forest plots being established by the team.

In 2022 Professor Moutsamboté had a species named after him, Impatiens moutsambotei, a terrestrial herb known only from the Republic of the Congo. The official citation says that this is “for his national leadership of botany, his encouragement of young Congolese botanists, and for his companionship and cheer in the forests of Congo.” A very fitting tribute. He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure to work with him.

Greta Dargie, Suspense Averti Ifo, Simon Lewis, 22 September 2022, on behalf of the CongoPeat network.