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Vulnerability, forest-related sectors and climate change adaptation
The case of Cameroon
In Cameroon and elsewhere in the Congo Basin, the majority of rural households and a large proportion of urban households depend on plant and animal products from the forests to meet their nutritional, energy, cultural and medicinal needs. This paper explores the likely impacts of climate-induced changes on the provisioning of forest ecosystem goods and services and its effect on the economic and social well-being of the society, including the national economy and the livelihoods of forest-dependent people. The analysis focuses on four identified vulnerable sectors — food (NTFPs), energy (fuelwood), health (medicinal plants) and water (freshwater) through a multi-stakeholder dialog at national and regional levels. We use a vulnerability assessment framework by combining the elements of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity to conceptualize vulnerability in these sectors. The identified sectors in relation to the forest ecosystem are discussed in view of providing an understanding of the sector's potential adaptive capacities for policy intervention. Our analysis presents the possible implications of the vulnerability of these sectors for planning local and national adaptation strategies. Local and national adaptive capacities to respond to climate impacts in the forest sectors includes: reducing poverty, enhancing food security, water availability, combating land degradation and reducing loss of biological diversity.