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Social Perceptions of Forest Ecosystem Services in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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JournalHuman Ecology
DatePublished - 4 Dec 2019
Number of pages15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The forests of the Albertine Rift are known for their high biodiversity and the important ecosystem services they provide to millions of inhabitants. However, their conservation and the maintenance of ecosystem service delivery is a challenge, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our research investigates how livelihood strategy and ethnicity affects local perceptions of forest ecosystem services. We collected data through 25 focus-group discussions in villages from distinct ethnic groups, including farmers (Tembo, Shi, and Nyindu) and hunter-gatherers (Twa). Twa identify more food-provisioning services and rank bush meat and honey as the most important. They also show stronger place attachment to the forest than the farmers, who value other ecosystem services, but all rank microclimate regulation as the most important. Our findings help assess ecosystem services trade-offs, highlight the important impacts of restricted access to forests resources for Twa, and point to the need for developing alternative livelihood strategies for these communities.

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© The Author(s) 2019

    Research areas

  • Republic of the Congo, Montane forests, Forest management, Socio-cultural assessment

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