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Research Report

Current vulnerability in the Tri-National de la Sangha landscape, Cameroon

Tahia Devisscher
Sukaina Bharwani
Anne Marie Tiani
Charlotte Pavageau
Nadège Essoungou Kwack
Richard Taylor
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Pages: 42
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. vii-vii)

    This working paper is an output of a regional baseline assessment (RBA) conducted in five landscapes of the Congo Basin under the Climate Change and Forests in the Congo Basin: Synergies between Adaptation and Mitigation (COBAM) project.¹ The paper synthesises results generated in the Tri-National de la Sangha (TNS) landscape. The main objective of this RBA is to analyse current vulnerability of local communities to changes in climate in the context of multiple stresses and development processes in the sites. This assessment provides a basis for the evaluation of possible adaptation strategies that can be synergistic with mitigation efforts in...

  2. (pp. 1-6)

    The Tri-National de la Sangha (TNS) landscape covers 43 936 km² and spans over four districts² located in three countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The landscape comprises three national parks: Lobéké (Cameroon), Nouabalé-Ndoki (DRC) and Dzanga- Ndoki (CAR) (see Figure 2). The areas surrounding the national parks, around 3 751 800 ha, have multiple uses with zones for logging concessions, community use and professional hunting (Usongo and Nzooh 2008).

    Important progress has been made in land-use planning within the TNS landscape, although some overlaps between different land uses need solutions. A number of...

  3. (pp. 7-8)

    Scholars from different knowledge domains and diverse communities of practice conceptualise vulnerability in very different ways. This is mainly because different research traditions have their own way to relate to concepts and meanings. Kasperson and Kasperson (2005) conclude there is no single concept of vulnerability that would fit all assessment contexts and purposes. The choice of definition may depend on its suitability for a particular vulnerability and its interpretation for policy or action (Downing et al. 2005).

    Before being introduced to the climate change community in the 1990s, the term vulnerability was used by the natural-hazard community. Since its adoption,...

  4. (pp. 9-10)

    The vulnerability assessment focused mainly on current vulnerability, which includes an analysis of past trends and coping strategies, as well as present conditions. The analysis also centred mainly on the social aspects of vulnerability, understanding vulnerability as processes rooted in the actions of human actors and the interactions with the nature base on which these actors depend. The dimensions of vulnerability described in the previous section framed the assessment, which largely applied a participatory approach.

    A set of participatory methods was used to understand local perceptions and elicit information for the analysis. The time period considered for the current vulnerability...

  5. (pp. 11-17)

    Villagers from Mboy II, Mang and Mendoungue have seen important changes since the villages’ creation, both in ecological and social terms. They indicated, for example, that agriculture area has expanded over time. In the 1970s, villagers used only a small part of their land for agriculture. Back then production was mainly allocated to subsistence. During that period, the cultivated area was less than 1 ha per household and few farmers produced coffee. The expansion of agriculture started in the 1990s with the introduction of cacao in the region and rising market prices for this product. Since 2000, the expansion of...

  6. (pp. 18-27)

    Vulnerability is a dynamic process, changing on a variety of inter-linked temporal and spatial scales. On the one hand, it is bound by processes of change that can be slow or abrupt and unexpected in nature. On the other, it results from the actions and multiple attributes of human actors, and the functioning of multiple ecosystems interacting at different scales. To understand better the current vulnerability of the villages on the Cameroonian side of the TNS Landscape, this section focuses on four key attributes that shape the vulnerability of diverse groups and activities in the villages:

    1. production system: to understand...

  7. (pp. 28-29)

    Based on insights gained through the RBA and feedback received from village representatives, the following five observations can be made about current community vulnerabilities. These findings will help to inform research on adaptive strategy-making and its potential synergies with mitigation. They refer mainly to strengthening adaptive capacity and can be seen as entry points to decision-makers and planners working with communities to contribute to adaptation practice.

    Walking distances to find NTFPs may increase with population growth, expansion of agriculture land and other pressures on forests. NTFPs constitute an important cash safety net for villages in times of low agricultural production...