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.

Wangari Maathai & The Green Belt Movement


Title Wangari Maathai & The Green   Belt Movement
Director(s) Landon Van soest
Date released (year) 2010
Production company StridesinDevelopment
Length 8.52mins
Location Kenya
Keywords/tags Environmentalism, deforestation,   sustainability, empowerment
Link to film
Synopsis Wangari Maathai is a Kenyan   environmentalist and political activist. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the   Green Belt Movement, an environmental NGO focused on environmental   conservation and women’s rights. In 2004, she became the first African woman   to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions to sustainable   development, democracy, and peace.


Reviews/discussion The Green Belt Movement   ( organizes rural women in Kenya to plant trees,   an effort that combats deforestation while generating income for the   community and promoting empowerment for women. Since Maathai founded the   Movement, over 40 million trees have been planted and over 30,000 women have   been trained in forestry, food processing, beekeeping, and other sustainable,   income-generating activities.


Links to other resources

REDD Alert


Title REDD Alert
Date released (year) 2009
Production company TV/e Inspiring Change
Length 22 mins
Location Congo
Keywords/tags Climate change, neoliberalism,   deforestation
Link to film
Synopsis Could carbon become the developing world’s new cash crop? Tropical   forests store a quarter of the earth’s carbon and suck in 15 percent of all   the CO2 we emit each year. A new international concept called REDD aims to   make tropical forests more valuable as living, breathing ecosystems than if   they are cleared for farmland. Prototype REDD projects are now getting   underway, to test out how best to make this complex scheme work. Earth Report   travels to the vast rainforests of Africas Congo Basin, to find out if   forests can realistically pay their way as global carbon stores and who   exactly will benefit.


Reviews/discussion What is REDD?

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)[1] is a set of steps   designed to use market and financial incentives in order to reduce the   emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Its   objective is to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest   degradation” implies a distinction between the two activities. The   process of identifying the two is what raises questions about how to measure   each within the REDD mechanism, therefore their distinction is vital.   Deforestation is the permanent removal of forests and withdrawal of land from   forest use. Forest degradation refers to negative changes in the forest area   that limit its production capacity.

Development of a REDD mechanism has progressed significantly since 1995   with the set up of a UN programme and various capacity building and research   activities. Projects are also being trialled through national government   programmes and the private sector. REDD+ is increasingly likely to be   included in a post-2012 international climate agreement, yet many challenges   are still to be solved. How will the REDD+ mechanism link to existing national   development strategies? How can forest communities and indigenous peoples   participate in the design, monitoring and evaluation of national REDD+   programmes? How will REDD+ be funded, and how will countries ensure that   benefits are distributed equitably among all those who manage the forests?   Finally, how will the amount of carbon stored and sequestrated as a result of   REDD+ be monitored?

REDD is sometimes presented as an “offset” scheme of the carbon   markets and thus, would produce carbon credits. Carbon offsets are   “emissions-saving projects or programmes” that in theory would “compensate”   for the polluters’ emissions. The “carbon credits” generated by these   projects could then be used by industrialised governments and corporations to   meet their targets and/or to be traded within the carbon markets. [1] However this perspective on REDD+ is contested and hotly debated among   economists, scientists and negotiators.[2] Recent studies   indicate such an offset approach based on projects would significantly   increase the transaction costs associated to REDD+ [3] and would actually be   the weakest alternative for a national REDD+ architecture as regards   effectiveness, efficiency, its capacity to deliver co benefits (like   development, biodiversity or human rights) and its overal political   legitimacy.[4]

In recent years, estimates for deforestation and forest degradation were   shown to account for 20-25% of greenhouse gas emissions, higher than the   transportation sector.[5] Recent work shows   that the combined contribution of deforestation, forest degradation and   peatland emissions accounts for about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, about   the same as the transportation sector.[6] Even with these new   numbers it is increasingly accepted that mitigation of global   warming will not be achieved without the inclusion of forests in an international   regime. As a result, it is expected to play a crucial role in a future   successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.[7]

Source: wikipedia

Links to other resources See UN REDD site:

Espinoza Llanos, Roberto and Feather, Conrad (Nov, 2011). “The reality of REDD+ in Peru:   Between theory and practice – Indigenous Amazonian Peoples’ analyses and   alternatives”. AIDESEP and Forest Peoples Programme.   Retrieved 2009-11-23. Carbon   offsetting scheme open to corruption, report warns

CDM Carbon Sink Tree Plantations:   Insights into Sustainability Issues

Vickers, Ben (Apr 2008). “REDD: a Steep learning Curve”. Asia-Pacific   Forestry Week.   Retrieved 2009-11-23.

Forest Dialogue (2009). “Investing in REDD-Plus”.   Retrieved 2009-11-20.

“Copenhagen Accord of 18 December   2009”. UNFCC. 2009.   Retrieved 2009-12-28.

“REDD: Agriculture and   deforestation: What role should REDD+ and public support policies play?”. Institute for   Sustainable Development and International Relations. december 2010.


African Rainforest Conservancy


Title African Rainforest Conservancy
Director(s) aidforafrica
Date released (year) 2011
Production company aidforafrica
Length 3.23mins
Location Tanzania
Keywords/tags Deforestation, environmentalism,
Link to film
Synopsis The African Rainforest Conservancy   conserves and restores African rainforests by empowering local men, women,   and children through training, community development, research and education   to preserve their natural heritage.


Reviews/discussion This is an advocacy and fund   raising video for Aid for Africa.

From the Institute for Development Studies, an excellent background   reading:



This paper explores the social and   political dynamics and outcomes of so-called participatory forest   conservation by focusing on the interactions between various actors involved   in forest use and control in the East Usambaras, Tanzania. The shift in   dominant development and conservation discourses towards a participatory   approach has had effects on forest conservation in the case study area, as it   is reflected in the State policies, management strategies and actual   practices also in areas with high conservation status. Despite this, there   are shortcomings in the implementation of participatory strategies, and the   shifts of “paradigms” are not total. Earlier approaches, and the problems   related to them, do not disappear although the rhetoric of participatory   forestry and the bottom-up approach spread.

Power and other social relations   within and between the state agencies, community groups and other actors   involved in the conservation and use of natural resources intervene in the   implementation  of  participatory  conservation  projects    greatly,  and  can    lead  to  unintended outcomes and possibly even to   conflicts. Involving “local people” in forest conservation by promoting development   activities and/or sharing the responsibility over forest control does not   make forest conservation a smooth and apolitical process. To be better   adjusted to local contexts, and thus more viable in the longer term,   conservation efforts need to better recognise and address economic and other   power relations between the concerned “interest groups”   as well as institutional constraints at   different levels and in various organisations involved in the control of   protected areas.


Links to other resources Tanzania Forest Conservation Group:

South African policy on community   forestry:

Liz   Alden Wily (2003?) Participatory forest   management in Africa: 31

an overview of progress and issues.

The Food and Agriculture   Organisation has some useful information on community forestry:

The Changing Climate in Gamo Highlands


The Changing Climate in Gamo   Highlands

Director(s) Community
Date released (year) 2011?
Production company INSIGHTSHARE
Length 12mins
Location Ethiopia
Keywords/tags Climate change
Link to film
Synopsis This video is a compilation of three videos   made by community members from Doko, Ezo, Zozo and Daro Malo in the Gamo   Highlands.

Climate change increasing poverty and vulnerability in Ethiopia

Oxfam Press Release, Published:   22 April 2010

Small-scale farmers and   pastoralists in Ethiopia are likely to bear the brunt of the negative impacts   of climate change in the region, which will include increased poverty, water   scarcity, and food insecurity, according to a new Oxfam International report released   today.

The   international development agency’s report, “The Rain Doesn’t Come on Time Anymore: Poverty, Vulnerability, and   Climate Variability in Ethiopia,” was launched at a   special Earth Day celebration organized by the Climate Change Forum-Ethiopia   in collaboration with other environmental organizations. While Ethiopia has   always suffered from great climatic variability,   including droughts that have contributed to hunger and even famine in the   past, the report details how climate change is set to make the lives of the   poorest even harder.

A country of farmers

“People who are already poor and marginalized are struggling to cope with   the added burden of increasingly unpredictable weather,” said Abera Tola,   Oxfam’s Horn of Africa regional director. “It is getting harder and harder   for families and communities to bounce back from ever-changing, inconsistent   weather affecting their livelihoods, and many have been forced to sell   livestock or remove children from school – coping mechanisms that only   increase the cycle of vulnerability.”

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and 85 percent of   the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. The agricultural   sector is especially vulnerable to the adversities of weather and climate   since it is rain fed, done using relatively basic technologies, and on tiny   plots of land.

Women are hardest hit

“From the Rift Valley to Tigray, farmers and pastoralists around the   country have shared with us the toll that the changing weather is having on   their communities, from ruined crops to dying cattle,” said Tola. “Even   relatively small shifts in the growing season, can spell disaster for the   poorest farmers and pastoralists who are already struggling in poverty.”

Women and girls in particular are disproportionately affected by climate   variability. In times of crisis, women tend to stay home with their children,   while men move away to look for alternative means of survival. Women also   have fewer options to find other ways of making a living, especially since   women’s literacy rate is not even half of that of men. Women are also not   given a say in household decisions and are frequently without cash savings or   assets to sell to buy food and other basic items.

“The rain doesn’t come on time anymore. After we plant, the rain stops   just as our crops start to grow. And it begins to rain after the crops have   already been ruined,” Sefya Funge, a farmer in Adamitullu Jiddo Kombolcha   district in Ethiopia told Oxfam. “Because of a lack of feed and water, most   of my cattle have died. The few that survived had to be sold so that we could   buy food to live on. As I no longer have the means to support my family, only   three of my eight kids are still with me. Losing our assets was bad, but the   fact that our family is separated is devastating.”

Coping with climate change

With some assistance from non-governmental organizations and the   government, small-scale farmers and pastoralists are adopting a variety of   coping mechanisms, according to the report. In the farming areas, many are   shifting to more drought tolerant crops and varieties, improved forest   management practices, diversified energy sources, and alternative means of   income from off-farm activities. Pastoralists have also divided pasture into   wet and dry season grazing areas to better manage risk, while others have   changed the composition of their heard from cattle to camels and goats, which   can better tolerate dry, hot weather.

Poverty, limited resources, little alternative sources of income and   livelihoods, lack of knowledge and expertise, and the absence of appropriate   public policies and financing, increase vulnerability and decrease people’s   capacity to cope.


Links to other resources  

Marius Keller, Climate   Risks and Development Projects: Assessment Report for a Community-Level Project   in Guduru, Oromiya, Ethiopia. Source:

Many academic   reports available via Google