Thursday, November 22, 2012

Forest communities in Cameroon cannot adapt to climate change alone

CIFOR's "Forest News" blog: Rural communities in Cameroon rely heavily on forests for everything from their nutritional and medicinal needs to fuel for cooking and will be unable to adapt to climate change without significant outside help, a new study found.

....The Center for International Forestry Research’s (CIFOR) Congo Basin and Climate Change Adaptation (CoFCCA) project was developed in 2008 to increase public and policy awareness about the heavy reliance both rural and urban areas have on animal and plant products coming from the second largest continuous tropical rainforest in the world. It also looked at ways in which to protect communities – as well as the natural resources – as the world experiences dramatic shifts in precipitation and temperature.

A key lesson was that, no matter how pertinent, local knowledge was not enough, said Denis Sonwa, one of the authors of a paper resulting from the study, focusing specifically on Cameroon. 

Sonwa’s team looked at the most vulnerable sectors in Cameroon, including energy derived from fuel wood. They focused on charcoal production and consumption, interviewing everyone from the producers and transporters to sellers and consumers to find out how each stakeholder perceived climate change and how it affected their activities.

“They were all concerned about the unpredictable rainy and dry seasons which affect levels of production, consumption, and earnings,” said Patrice Metenou, a post-graduate researcher involved in the project, adding that all were vulnerable to climate change but at very different levels....

Ngoila, East Province, Cameroon, looking south toward the Republic of the Congo, shot by Amcaja, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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