The future of our planet is Africa — in terms of people, biodiversity, habitats that are crucial for genetic diversity in the face of climate change, and some of the richest tropical forest carbon stocks on Earth. But climate change and exploitation of natural resources threaten that future. Why have generations of efforts failed to conserve wonderlands such as the Congo Basin Rainforest? How can scientists help to create a better strategy? The Congo Basin Institute is leading a large new network and a new approach to multidisciplinary science and policy to address these urgent questions, which bear on everyone’s future.