MLA

Multidisciplinary Lanscape Assessment

 

Some results and experiences

Although analyses are still ongoing, a varied range of results is already available from the different surveys, including databases, reports, a model, and 'lessons learned' in general.

GABON

Originally people from Loa loa were living in settlements all along the Ivindo river but most villages were abandoned in the 50s when people were resettled along the roads by the colonial government. Today's fishing and hunting camps are often situated on or near old village sites. The camps are situated downstream from the village and can be more than 50 km away (below Kongou or until Mingouli, see map). They are used as basis for fishing, hunting and gathering (fruits (e.g. Coula edulis), vegetables (gnetum sp.) or wrapping leaves (Megaphrynium macrostachyum) and medicinal plants). People stay in their camps for a few days or up to 3 months, often with the whole family, particularly during the long dry season. Trips re made back to the village to get food and sell wild products.

 

Irvingia gabonensis or 'chocolate' for sauces, a catfish from the Ivindo on a sand truck, spices (Afrostyrax lepidophylus) and crushing ball (Strygnos congoleana),

People are specialized in either fishing or hunting, even if they all do both. Fishermen usually hunt and trap game close to the camp. Hunters reported going until 5-10 km into the forest from the river. Traditional tools for fishing and hunting have been replaced with modern nets, hooks, wire cables and guns. Hunting is done both during the daytime and at night. Plants used in ceremonies such as circumcision remain very important and their specific use is rarely disclosed. There are many aphrodisiacs and plants used to solve marital problems. Medicinal species remain important even if they are gradually being replaced by modern pharmaceuticals ("white man's medicine").

 

Smoked fish just brought from the camp, wild mushrooms, stomach medicine in wrapping leaf.

The forest and river are the most important land units and they are strongly linked as most of the forest is accessed through the river. The nomenclature of water bodies is very detailed, maybe more than that of the forest. The forest is the most important land unit for all uses except fuel wood (fields), hunting/fishing place/use (river) and the future (village). Construction and food are the most important uses of the forest. People prefer wild sources of animals and plants and purchased plant or animals are the least important source of products. Women give a higher importance to wild products than men.

Interestingly some of the men said the park could also have positive effects for them because then foreigners would not be able to come in with motorboats (rare in the village) and guns and so animals would come closer to the village and riverbanks for them to hunt them.

Megaphrynium macrostachyum leaves, pounding instrument (Lasianthera africana) and wood transport in a rattan basket.

All the data has not been analyzed yet and a full report is in preparation. A database is under construction.

Within the MLA frame, 3 studies by 2 French and one Gabonese student were conducted, one describing the fishing commodity chain, an attempt at quantifying hunting, fishing and collecting activities in the park and a study on the cultural importance of certain animals.

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