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Baka People: Facing changes in African forests

Title Baka People: Facing changes   in African forests
Director(s) Participatory production
Date released (year) 2009
Production company UNDP
Length 12.7 mins
Location Cameroon
Keywords/tags Climate change, deforestation, poverty, adaptation
Link to film
Synopsis Living   in the Central African forests, the Baka hunter gatherers formed an   organization called Okani (meaning “rise up” in Baka) to help train   other communities in filming and story-telling techniques. This first film   from the Baka People in Eastern Cameroon shows how they are coping with the   impacts of climate change and the swift transformations of their habitat.   This film is an Okani-Insight production, part of   Conversations with Earth Initiative . It is one of several   experiences around the world in which indigenous communities are using videos   to voice their concerns. These projects were funded by UNDP’s human rights   programmes through the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme
Reviews/discussion From   WWF:


Climate   change impacts in Cameroon – what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:


Possible direct impacts of sea-level rise in Cameroon,   indicate that a 15 % increase in rainfall by the year 2100 would likely   decrease the penetration of salt water in the Wouri estuary. Alternatively,   with an 11% decrease in rainfall, the salt water could extend up to about 70   km upstream.

In the Gulf of Guinea, sea-level rise could induce   overtopping and even destruction of the low barrier beaches that limit the   coastal lagoons, while changes in precipitation could affect the discharges   of rivers feeding them. These changes could also affect lagoonal fisheries   and aquaculture [9.4.6]


Source:   Climate change impacts in Cameroon


From   Babatope Akinwande:


Climate   Conversations – Forest communities in Cameroon cannot adapt to climate change   alone | Thu., November 22


YAOUNDE, Cameroon (14   November, 2012)_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 has found.


That could include anything   from setting up a meteorological observatory to help farmers during planting   season, to the establishment of research and action programmes by governments   to support communities in increasing the effectiveness of their adaptation   strategies.


The Center for International   Forestry Research’s (CIFOR’s) 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.


While producers, transporters   and sellers of fuel wood could revert to other means of income or hike up the   prices of their products and services during the rainy season, when things   slowed down, for instance, consumers were all-but stuck.


Dependent on charcoal for   cooking, they had no choice but to cope with shortages or inflated prices. Metenou   noted, too, that each stakeholder often had to devise several different ways   to adapt to the changes.

“During the prolonged dry   season, when charcoal makers need large quantities of water to produce a   better quality of charcoal, they move closer to sources of water,” he said,   pointing to one example.

“During the rainy season,   they buy large tarpaulins to cover their products while waiting for buyers.”


The Congo Basin is the second   largest and most intact tropical forest region of the world after the   Amazonian forests. Covering some 228 million hectares, it represents   approximately 20 percent of the world’s remaining tropical forest. These   forests cover about 60 percent of the total land area of six countries of the   central African countries of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon,   Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Forests are important to the   indigenous people in the Congo Basin where more than 80% of people live   exclusively on agriculture, fisheries, and livestock. Harvesting activities   are highly dependent on climate in the region.

According to Sonwa, “Planning   climate adaptation strategies with the forest communities in the Congo Basin   is absolutely fundamental and urgent in order to cope with the projected   inevitable climate impacts”.


This research was conducted   under the CIFOR’s CoFCCA (Congo Basin Forest Climate Change   Adaptation) project which is part of the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (CCAA)   Program supported by the International   Development Research Centre (IDRC)and the Department for   International Development (DFID).



Links to other resources Also see:


Ernest L Molua & Cornelius M Lambi (2007) The Economic   Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture in Cameroon. The World Bank

Development Research Group, Sustainable Rural and Urban Development   Team, Policy Research Working Paper 4364.


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