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Journey into the unknown

In our modern, wired world, it’s hard to imagine that there are corners of the planet that you can actually be the first to discover. But deep below the ocean and forests are huge tracts of virgin areas home to unknown species. This week, reporter Katja Döhne accompanies a team of scientists on the hunt for new species in the Amazon in a bid to measure the rainforest’s value. In our background article, Ruby Russell reports on a trailblazing ancestor of the modern day explorer - Alexander von Humboldt. He wasn’t just the first to appreciate the diversity of plants and animals, but also one of the first to acknowledge indigenous knowledge of the natural world. That’s also the focus of our new interactive graphic where you can discover the myths and traditions around the “real gold of the Inca.”

Next week on Global Ideas

Helping forests recover in the DR Congo

War has devastated several forest areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, literally emptying them of species. The country's lush green cover is also shrinking due to deforestation, fires and the push for new farming land. Lake Tumba is however trying to reverse the trend and key to its efforts are bonobos, an endangered great ape. So far, the animals were able to survive thanks to the religious beliefs of local inhabitants that prohibited them from hunting the apes. In future, the animals are meant to help communities earn a livelihood. A group of monkeys have been trained to get used to humans and that could be a stepping stone to future tourism in the area. In return, local communities are also ensuring that the forest in the area is managed sustainably. They are also fighting invasive species. It’s hoped the measures will help rejuvenate the forest around Lake Tumba and turn it into an intact ecosystem once again.