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Title: Hunting and rural livelihoods in northern Republic of Congo : local outcomes of integrated conservation and development
Author: Riddell, Michael A.
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
The over-hunting of wildlife, often referred to as the 'bushmeat crisis', presents a threat to both biodiversity and the livelihoods of people reliant upon this resource. The 'crisis' is representative of governance challenges in the wider forest sector in Western-Central Africa. Conservation interventions addressing these challenges aim to ensure sustainable use of wildlife, to support rural livelihoods and access of rural populations to bushmeat, and improve overall governance of wildlife. In Central Africa, those conservation interventions which address natural resource use are highly centralised, often taking the form of Integrated Conservation and Development Projects. Using the case study of the Upper Motaba River in northern Republic of Congo, the main research question of this thesis asks whether this form of conservation intervention is able to achieve the desired local-level outcomes. The research is inter-disciplinary and situated within a political ecology framework, which recognizes that environmental change is the product of socio-political processes. The research findings demonstrate that the methods used by the ICDP to assess the sustainability of hunting were unable to distinguish between changes in hunter behaviour and changes in wildlife populations. Furthermore, none of the expected eo-benefits of a conservation intervention in the 'bushmeat crisis' were achieved. The conservation strategy was over-reliant on extractive data collection, delivered a poorly conceived form of development, and did not incorporate local institutions into wildlife management. This conservation approach was not able to adapt to the rapidly changing context which was heavily influenced by commercial forestry. The findings highlight the need for conservation interventions to focus on the process through which they engage rural communities in order to monitor and achieve sustainability without undermining the well-being role of natural resources. Further research should focus on expanding this body of work by making wider comparisons of sustainability and well-being outcomes among different land management systems in northern Congo.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.550575  DOI: Not available
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