Corneille Ewango. Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize. In the vast Democratic Republic of the Congo, dense equatorial rainforests line the sprawling basin of the Congo River. Corneille E.N. Ewango, a Congolese botanist, has a particular appreciation for these lush stands, which represent about half of the continent's tropical forests. To him, they are a scientific puzzle, a refuge for plants, wildlife, and people -- and the place he considers home. As the director of the botany program for the 3 million-acre Okapi Faunal Reserve, Ewango risked his life to protect these forests and their people. During his country's civil war, which …
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Award-winning journalist and pretty good mom Michelle Nijhuis writes about science and the environment from western Colorado. Follow her on Twitter.