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The importance of bushmeat in the livelihood of cocoa farmers and NTFP users living at the periphery of the Dja Faunal Reserve, Cameroon

The scale of current hunting is a serious threat to many forest species and ecosystems in the Amazon and the Congo Basins, the two largest and least populated dense forest areas in the world. In the Congo Basin, many ecosystems are currently threatened, as is the case with the Dja Faunal Reserve (DFR), which has been seriously damaged by anthropogenic activities, of which poaching is the most important. Despite increasing efforts to address these threats by non-governmental organizations, academics and governments over recent decades, they continue to cause species decline and even extinction.
Traditional approaches to biodiversity conservation have involved the establishment of protected areas, but rural communities have often been excluded despite the fact that their livelihoods are tightly linked to the forest. It is recognized that valorization of non-timber forest products (NTFP) can represent an alternative to bushmeat commercialization but can also contribute as a source of revenue for local people’s households. Cocoa is a cash crop in the area, and intensification of the production represents a major source of income and a time-consuming activity that reduces the time a local farmer can dedicate to hunting.
Today it is widely recognized that these traditional approaches have not been successful, and new approaches seek to give more participation to local communities and provide them with appropriate alternatives to hunting. Human beings are now at the center of all conservation practices, and many conservationists think that a better understanding of the human dimensions of environmental issues will improve conservation.
This PhD project seeks to analyze the importance of bushmeat for cocoa farmers and NTFP users living at the periphery of the Dja Faunal Reserve. The measurement of local people’s perception toward wildlife and conservation will be a major indicator of the importance of bushmeat for the target communities. In addition, the contribution of the valorisation of NTFP and cocoa production to the livelihoods of local people will help to understand whether alternative livelihoods are sufficient to alleviate poaching. Finally, the project will examine the links between local people’s perception of wildlife, livelihood improvement and poaching alleviation.
Date:1 Jan 2020 →  Today
Project type:PhD project