NTFPs are often presented as a major contributor to livelihoods, as sources of food and cash, particularly for rural communities. There are few data available in Gabon to confirm this common assertion. This study was conducted on 127 households in 14 villages around two timber concessions in the south-eastern and south-western regions of Gabon for a period of one year. Conventional socio-economic survey tools such as focus group discussions, census and semi-structured interviews with households were used for gathering the data. Results reveal that rural people depend on various sources of food and income for their livelihoods, but overall, the current contribution of NTFPs obtained from plant sources is insignificant compared to those from other activities. Odika (Irvingia gabonensis), atanga sauvage (Dacryodes buettneri), fungus (Termitomyces spp.) and Gabon nut (Coula edulis) represent the main forest products commonly harvested by rural people. They are used primarily for subsistence, but the surplus is sold. The results of this study suggest that: (1) the main components of decree No. 137/PR/MEFP of February 4, 2009, that prohibits the logging of five multiple-use tree species over a period of 25 years in order to safeguard the sources of NTFPs, should be reviewed; and (2) state authorities and partners should promote projects aimed at increasing public awareness of the NTFP sector. These projects should include a census of NTFPs (for food, for medicine and for services), characterize their uses and identify the markets of target products as well as the development potential of NTFPs. Such projects could help Gabon and other Congo Basin countries to fix norms/standards for sustainable natural resource management and for enhancing the contribution of NTFPs to the national economy. This will be particularly relevant in the wake of dwindling oil revenues and the need to diversify and promote other revenue sources in the country.
Topic: nontimber forest products, household consumption, livelihoods, policy
Publication Year: 2018
Source: Agroforestry Systems 92(1): 157-168Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.