New research demonstrates the value of local knowledge to understand defaunation.
Democratic Republic of the Congo – The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve, located in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was once a lush forest landscape rich with such wildlife as elephants and okapis. However, prolonged conflict and its cascading effects, including lack of economic opportunities and mismanagement of natural resources, have taken a toll on the local wildlife population.
Defaunation, defined as the loss of animals in all forms, including by extinction, extirpation, or population decline, is a common problem in tropical regions across the globe. However, due to conflict-related turbulence, DRC faces exceptional challenges from a conservation perspective. First, the presence of armed groups in the forest has increased hunting and trafficking of ivory, skins and meat, according to a new research paper by scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Second, protracted conflict has led to the degradation of the economic and social conditions of local inhabitants, who face limited economic opportunities and recurrent food insecurity, the paper states.
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