[en] Pericopsis elata is one of the most valuable African timber species. This IUCN Red Listed tree suffers from a lack of regeneration, thus its current presence provokes questioning. Our work aimed at understanding its origins so as to help securing its future. This study, lead away from engineering works, was conducted in four different sites located within the natural distribution area of the species and took into account the different growing conditions were the species occurs. Our observations were based on an analysis of charcoal elements and pottery fragments discovered in subsurface layers of soils as well as on current botanical and pedological surveys. Discovered evidence of past human activities led to the assumption that this part of the Congo Basin was much more inhabited than previously thought. Some of the results obtained for P. elata could apply for other long lived light demanding species growing in the same environment.