Supporting local adaptive capacity to climate change in the Congo basin forest of Cameroon - Climate Change and Forests in the Congo Basin (COBAM)

Supporting local adaptive capacity to climate change in the Congo basin forest of Cameroon

Fuel wood is the main source of energy for populations in the Congo basin. Photo: Olivier Girard

Fuel wood is the main source of energy for populations in the Congo basin. Photo: Olivier Girard

Alba Saray Pérez Terán

There is a need to support local adaptive capacity in the Congo Basin forest. In order to fulfill this, two studies have been carried out in the Congo Basin forest of Cameroon through the COFCCA, then the COBAM project, from 2008 to 2012. Both projects were initiated by CIFOR and funded by IDRC and AfDB, respectively. Bele and his colleagues recount the research in two articles: “Supporting local adaptive capacity to climate change in the Congo basin forest of Cameroon: A participatory action research approach”, recently published in the International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management emphasized the process, while the second article entitled “Exploring vulnerability and adaptation needs to climate change of local communities in the humid forest zone of Cameroon” published in Climatic Change stressed on the results.

These studies aimed at assessing the vulnerability of local communities in the Congo Basin forests of Cameroon to help identify their specific needs for adaptation and to facilitate knowledge sharing with the objective of enhancing adaptive capacity.

Research was carried out in two project sites namely Nkol-evodo in the Center Region and Yokadouma in the South-East Region of Cameroon. A participatory-action research approach was used, that consists, in a multistakeholder context, of collectively building meanings and working together to find solutions. This approach, which has been used successfully in the past to solve adaptation problems in complex socio-ecological systems, has several benefits for such a study. Furthermore, it is a tool that encourages learning and adaptation over the long term, through the partnership between the communities at risk, state institutions and other actors.

This study shows that the adverse effects of climate disturbances are already being felt by local people and are exerting considerable stress on most activities important to their livelihoods, especially agriculture. A decrease in the yield led to an increase in poaching and illegal logging, as well as in the cultivation areas as compensation for the loss caused by climatic disturbances. Livelihood diversification was the main adaptation option identified, with disease-resistant cassava seeds, Eru (Gnetum spp.) cultivation, mushroom or beekeeping also contributing.

This paper adds to the description of the process of enhancing the adaptive capacity of forest-living communities. Findings in this research may provide a crucial foundation for community­based adaptation measures and complement broader-scale scientific research with local precision.

For further information:

Pour consulter d’autres produits du projet COBAM :
www.cifor.org/cobam/publications


Top