Wildlife Diversity in Cocoa/Agricultural Mosaics at the Congo Basin Forest Margin.

TitleWildlife Diversity in Cocoa/Agricultural Mosaics at the Congo Basin Forest Margin.
Publication TypeWorking Paper
AuthorsWeinbaum K, Sonwa D, Weise S, Brashares, J, Getz W
PublisherInternational Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Place PublishedAccra, Ghana
Year of Publication2007
Date PublishedDecember 2007
Publication LanguageEnglish
AbstractWhile forest conversion to agriculture is considered one of the most important threats to biodiversity in the tropics, the over harvesting of wildlife is considered to be an even more important threat in the Central African context. The human population gradient on the northern fringe of the Congo Basin represents the future trajectory of change in land use, bush meat consumption, and biodiversity if human population growth rates continue. In this preliminary study we conducted wildlife transects (n=35 km), hunter-follow surveys (n=14), and socioeconomic interviews (n=42) in four villages across a gradient of human population density (from peri-urban to remote) in southern Cameroon in an agricultural mosaic consisting of cocoa agroforests, food crops, fallow fields, secondary forest and primary forest. Transect results reveal that mammalian diversity increases with village remoteness. Secondary forest had the largest proportion of animal signs of all land uses. Hunter-follows reveal that people invest more time to hunting in more remote areas, and interviews highlight that bush meat is a more important source of income in more rural areas, and is more often consumed. Fish is consumed more often than bush meat, however, and is reportedly becoming more scarce locally along with wildlife. The Food and Agriculture Organization has called the unsustainable hunting of bush meat “one of the most important food security and biodiversity conservation challenges” in Central Africa and requires further research.
KeywordsASB, bushmeat, cocoa/agricultural landscape, Congo Basin., Southern Cameroon, Wildlife diversity
Citation Key675