Article

# Establishing the Itombwe Natural Reserve: science, participatory consultations and zoning

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• KBA Secretariat
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## Abstract

Biological surveys starting in the 1950s provided clear evidence that the Itombwe Massif, located in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of the most important areas for conservation in Africa. Further surveys in the mid 1990s and early 2000s showed key species were still present and could be conserved. Following a report on these surveys the Ministry of Environment established the Itombwe Reserve in 2006 without consulting local communities who have legitimate customary rights to reside within the area and use the region's natural resources. Although creating the Reserve was within the government's legal authority, its establishment violated the rights of the people there. Here we report over a decade of work by a consortium of international and national human rights and conservation NGOs, the local communities and the protected areas authority (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature), to remediate this taking of customary rights. Starting in 2008 these partners began a participatory process with all 550 villages within and around the boundary of the Reserve. Using a community resource use mapping approach, developed from best practices, the team helped communities determine the boundary of the Reserve, and then pilot participatory zoning to identify zones for settlements, agriculture, hunting, gathering of non-timber forest products, and conservation. This process secured the customary rights of long-term residents in the Reserve and protected their lands from being taken by non-rights holders. As a result of this work the use rights of communities were largely restored and the communities agreed on 23 June 2016 to formalize the boundaries of the renamed Itombwe Nature Reserve.

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... Located in eastern DRC's South Kivu Province, the Itombwe Massif is the most biologically rich region of the Albertine Rift (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019). Despite attracting the attention of naturalists and biologists since the Colonial era, it was not until the 1990s that discussions commenced over whether a protected area should be established in the region. ...
... Some people still remembered the displacements from Kahuzi-Biega during the 1970s and were afraid the same thing would happen around Itombwe Nature Reserve. AfriCapacity, a Congolese NGO, even took action to get the entire reserve legally degazetted (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019). Some communities would not allow representatives of the reserve onto their lands. ...
... Itombwe Nature Reserve is the only protected area in eastern Congo to be established according to the community conservation paradigm during a period of active conflict. Uniquely, multiple armed groups and around 600,000 people were living in the wider region while the reserve was being created (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019;. International NGOs cooperated with the government to establish the reserve through two governmental technologies: participatory mapping and zoning exercises; and the partial devolution of regulatory responsibility to communities themselves. ...
... Itombwe Nature Reserve (INR) is the only protected area in eastern Congo to be established according the community conservation paradigm in a conflict-afflicted region where militarised conservation dominates. Uniquely, multiple armed groups and around 600,000 people were living in the wider region while the reserve was being created (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019;. International NGOs cooperated with the government to establish the reserve through two governmental technologies: participatory mapping and zoning exercises; and the partial devolution of regulatory responsibility to communities themselves. ...
... km, the reserve was promoted as a way to protect the region's forests from being sold out to commercial logging and mining concessions (Gauthier, 2016). Yet for many of the 600,000 or so people living in and around it, the reserve represented a top-down, rushed and unjust attempt to take control of their lands (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019). Few communities were consulted in advance of the decree's publication, which failed to account for their livelihood needs and the complex territorial structures of different ethnic groups living in the area. ...
... During the course of discussions, it became clear that the first two NGOs were keen to proceed with the conservation project, whereas the latter were more concerned about safeguarding the rights of communities. Yet despite differences of option, all parties eventually came to the agreement that steps needed to be taken to protect the Itombwe Massif against external threats (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019). ...
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Conservation efforts must develop strategies to perform at violent frontiers where environmental values, mineral extraction and conflict intersect. Using war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's Itombwe Nature Reserve as an illustrative example, this article explores how community conservation is implemented and received at a violent frontier. Taking inspiration from an emerging body of literature which portrays conservation as a form of ‘social contract’ in regions where the nation state is weak or absent, it explores some of the expectations and obligations that surround community conservation initiatives. It draws the conclusion that conservation social contracts are likely to produce unintended consequences when left unfulfilled or broken. Conservation actors perceived to be breaking the terms of (implicit) social contracts can inadvertently encourage local communities to embrace alternative contracts with other actors seeking to extract value from the resources located in frontiers, such as industrial mining companies.
... For example, the relationship between protected areas and surrounding areas has been reported to have both positive and negative effects from the perspectives of socioeconomics and biodiversity protection (Perelló et al., 2012). Setting park boundaries without considering resource use can cause conflict with the local community and necessitate resetting the boundaries (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019). Moreover, establishing protected areas can alter land use both within and around protected areas (Gimmi and Radeloff, 2013;Moraes et al., 2017), threatening the sustainability of resource use and resulting in fragmentation and isolation of local landscapes (Nagendra et al., 2006). ...
... Resource assessment based on scientific evidence helps in resolving regional conflicts (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019). This study clarified the spatial distribution between the wood resources, an historically important service for the region, and zoning in national parks. ...
Article
Among the ecosystem services that humans use from forest ecosystems, wood resources are one of the basic services that are essential to human life. Since the use of wood resources disturbs ecosystems, overharvesting destroys local ecosystems, resulting in a decline in ecosystem services. Therefore, there is a need to balance the use of wood resources by people with the health of the ecosystem. In this study, we evaluated wood provisioning in newly established national parks in Okinawa Main Island, Japan, for future sustainable management. We clarified the spatial distribution between the forest stand volume obtained from LiDAR data, the logging sites before the national park designation, and national park zoning. We found that the buffer zone contains some forests with high stand volume that continue from the core area. There had not been much logging in recent years, but most logging sites were located in the buffer zone and within 200m from roads. Forests with aged stands and high stand volume are important as buffers to prevent isolation of the core area. Therefore, park managers need to consider not only the legal regulations for each zone but also the continuity with the surrounding natural environment to prevent isolation of the core area. Understanding the spatial distribution of wood resources and park zoning relationships at a fine-scale resolution will be useful for managing buffer zones where there is competition between conservation and resource use.
... Despite the number of protected areas, the conservation of these forests is a challenge, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), where five World Heritage Sites have been placed on the 'In Danger' list for more than 20 years. To date, engagement of local populations in the management of Congolese forests has been limited (Kujirakwinja et al. 2018). In order to design effective forest management interventions that also prevent harm and promote the wellbeing of local populations, it is important to consider local populations' needs and perspectives (Martin et al. 2016). ...
... In 2006, the Minister for the Environment declared unilaterally that a reserve would be established in the Itombwe Mts. International and national human rights and conservation NGOs, local communities, and protected area authorities took over 10 years to formalize the boundaries of the now called Itombwe Nature Reserve (Kujirakwinja et al. 2018). Access to the forests in the Itombwe Mts is not restricted, and there are some community forests surrounding this reserve. ...
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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.
... The Itombwe Mts are part of the Albertine Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot [19], and support globally important populations of Grauer's gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) and forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) [20]. Most of the montane forest and alpine vegetation is now part of the Itombwe Nature Reserve, which was declared in 2006 but the boundaries of which were established in 2016 [21]. Insecurity (the presence of armed groups hiding in the forest) is high throughout the Itombwe Mts, and market access is limited in the eastern part due to poor road conditions and the greater distance to the Bukavu or Uvira urban centers ( Figure 1). ...
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The warming rates in many mountain areas are higher than the global average, negatively impacting crop systems. Little is known about the climatic changes which are already being observed in eastern Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo, due to the lack of long-term meteorological data. Local perceptions could help us to understand not only the climatic changes and impacts but also which adaptation strategies are already being used by local smallholder farmers. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 300 smallholder Bafuliru (n = 150) and Lega (n = 150) farmers living in the Itombwe Mountains. The respondents reported climatic changes and impacts, with the Bafuliru—living on the eastern drier slopes—reporting more changes and impacts. While the Bafuliru were implementing several adaptation strategies (e.g., increased irrigation and use of inputs, more soil conservation, more income diversification), the Lega were implementing very few, due to soft limits (access to inputs, markets, and information) and culture (less interest in farming, less capacity to organize into groups). The results highlight important differences in sociocultural contexts, even for one ‘remote’ mountain, calling for a more collaborative approach to adaptation planning and action.
... Following Doumenge (1998), the forests are dominated by The Itombwe Mountains are part of the Albertine Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot (Myers et al., 2000). The Itombwe Nature Reserve (about 6,000 km 2 , see Figure 1), declared in 2006 but with the boundaries delimited in 2016 (Kujirakwinja et al., 2019), contains the four, above-mentioned montane forest types. Upper montane forests cannot be found outside the Reserve. ...
Article
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An $s$ stage $k$ name snowball sampling procedure is defined as follows: A random sample of individuals is drawn from a given finite population. (The kind of random sample will be discussed later in this section.) Each individual in the sample is asked to name $k$ different individuals in the population, where $k$ is a specified integer; for example, each individual may be asked to name his "$k$ best friends," or the "$k$ individuals with whom he most frequently associates," or the "$k$ individuals whose opinions he most frequently seeks," etc. (For the sake of simplicity, we assume throughout that an individual cannot include himself in his list of $k$ individuals.) The individuals who were not in the random sample but were named by individuals in it form the first stage. Each of the individuals in the first stage is then asked to name $k$ different individuals. (We assume that the question asked of the individuals in the random sample and of those in each stage is the same and that $k$ is the same.) The individuals who were not in the random sample nor in the first stage but were named by individuals who were in the first stage form the second stage. Each of the individuals in the second stage is then asked to name $k$ different individuals. The individuals who were not in the random sample nor in the first or second stages but were named by individuals who were in the second stage form the third stage. Each of the individuals in the third stage is then asked to name $k$ different individuals. This procedure is continued until each of the individuals in the $s$th stage has been asked to name $k$ different individuals. The data obtained using an $s$ stage $k$ name snowball sampling procedure can be utilized to make statistical inferences about various aspects of the relationships present in the population. The relationships present, in the hypothetical situation where each individual in the population is asked to name $k$ different individuals, can be described by a matrix with rows and columns corresponding to the members of the population, rows for the individuals naming and columns for the individuals named, where the entry $\theta_{ij}$ in the $i$th row and $j$th column is 1 if the $i$th individual in the population includes the $j$th individual among the $k$ individuals he would name, and it is 0 otherwise. While the matrix of the $\theta$'s cannot be known in general unless every individual in the population is interviewed (i.e., asked to name $k$ different individuals), it will be possible to make statistical inferences about various aspects of this matrix from the data obtained using an $s$ stage $k$ name snowball sampling procedure. For example, when $s = k = 1$, the number, $M_{11}$, of mutual relationships present in the population (i.e., the number of values $i$ with $\theta_{ij} = \theta_{ji} = 1$ for some value of $j > i$) can be estimated. The methods of statistical inference applied to the data obtained from an $s$ stage $k$ name snowball sample will of course depend on the kind of random sample drawn as the initial step. In most of the present paper, we shall suppose that a random sample (i.e., the "zero stage" in snowball sample) is drawn so that the probability, $p$, that a given individual in the population will be in the sample is independent of whether a different given individual has appeared. This kind of sampling has been called binomial sampling; the specified value of $p$ (assumed known) has been called the sampling fraction [4]. This sampling scheme might also be described by saying that a given individual is included in the sample just when a coin, which has a probability $p$ of "heads," comes up "heads," where the tosses of the coin from individual to individual are independent. (To each individual there corresponds an independent Bernoulli trial determining whether he will or will not be included in the sample.) This sampling scheme differs in some respects from the more usual models where the sample size is fixed in advance or where the ratio of the sample size to the population size (i.e., the sample size-population size ratio) is fixed. For binomial sampling, this ratio is a random variable whose expected value is $p$. (The variance of this ratio approaches zero as the population becomes infinite.) In some situations (where, for example, the variance of this ratio is near zero), mathematical results obtained for binomial sampling are sometimes quite similar to results obtained using some of the more usual sampling models (see [4], [7]; compare the variance formulas in [3] and [5]); in such cases it will often not make much difference, from a practical point of view, which sampling model is utilized. (In Section 6 of the present paper some results for snowball sampling based on an initial sample of the more usual kind are obtained and compared with results presented in the earlier sections of this paper obtained for snowball sampling based on an initial binomial sample.) For snowball sampling based on an initial binomial sample, and with $s = k = 1$, so that each individual asked names just one other individual and there is just one stage beyond the initial sample, Section 2 of this paper discusses unbiased estimation of $M_{11}$, the number of pairs of individuals in the population who would name each other. One of the unbiased estimators considered (among a certain specified class of estimators) has uniformly smallest variance when the population characteristics are unknown; this one is based on a sufficient statistic for a simplified summary of the data and is the only unbiased estimator of $M_{11}$ based on that sufficient statistic (when the population characteristics are unknown). This estimator (when $s = k = 1$) has a smaller variance than a comparable minimum variance unbiased estimator computed from a larger random sample when $s = 0$ and $k = 1$ (i.e., where only the individuals in the random sample are interviewed) even where the expected number of individuals in the larger random sample $(s = 0, k = 1)$ is equal to the maximum expected number of individuals studied when $s = k = 1$ (i.e., the sum of the expected number of individuals in the initial sample and the maximum expected number of individuals in the first stage). In fact, the variance of the estimator when $s = 0$ and $k = 1$ is at least twice as large as the variance of the comparable estimator when $s = k = 1$ even where the expected number of individuals studied when $s = 0$ and $k = 1$ is as large as the maximum expected number of individuals studied when $s = k = 1$. Thus, for estimating $M_{11}$, the sampling scheme with $s = k = 1$ is preferable to the sampling scheme with $s = 0$ and $k = 1$. Furthermore, we observe that when $s = k = 1$ the unbiased estimator based on the simplified summary of the data having minimum variance when the population characteristics are unknown can be improved upon in cases where certain population characteristics are known, or where additional data not included in the simplified summary are available. Several improved estimators are derived and discussed. Some of the results for the special case of $s = k = 1$ are generalized in Sections 3 and 4 to deal with cases where $s$ and $k$ are any specified positive integers. In Section 5, results are presented about $s$ stage $k$ name snowball sampling procedures, where each individual asked to name $k$ different individuals chooses $k$ individuals at random from the population. (Except in Section 5, the numbers $\theta_{ij}$, which form the matrix referred to earlier, are assumed to be fixed (i.e., to be population parameters); in Section 5, they are random variables. A variable response error is not considered except in so far as Section 5 deals with an extreme case of this.) For social science literature that discusses problems related to snowball sampling, see [2], [8], and the articles they cite. This literature indicates, among other things, the importance of studying "social structure and...the relations among individuals" [2].
Article
This study considers the issue of security in the context of protected areas in Cameroon and Botswana. Though the literature on issues of security and well-being in relation to protected areas is extensive, there has been less discussion of how and in what ways these impacts and relationships can change over time, vary with space and differ across spatial scales. Looking at two very different historical trajectories, this study considers the heterogeneity of the security landscapes created by Waza and Chobe protected areas over time and space. This study finds that conservation measures that various subsets of the local population once considered to be ‘bad’ (e.g. violent, exclusionary protected area creation) may be construed as ‘good’ at different historical moments and geographical areas. Similarly, complacency or resignation to the presence of a park can be reversed by changing environmental conditions. Changes in the ways security (material and otherwise) has fluctuated within these two protected areas has implications for the long-term management and funding strategies of newly created and already existing protected areas today. This study suggests that parks must be adaptively managed not only for changing ecological conditions, but also for shifts in a protected area's social, political and economic context.
Article
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Article
Modern civilizations require explicit means of conserving natural lands in order to bring benefits. One of the best is through the establishment of protected areas. This article shows: 1) how organisations in different parts of the world vary in their response to this need; 2) provides a status report on the extent to which the international protected area network is covering natural ecosystems; 3) suggests priorities for further action; 4) describes a system which is monitoring protected areas; and 5) outlines how these can adapt to future challenges.-from Authors
Article
The analysis of exit options out of artisanal mining provides a useful entry point for discussing recent efforts made in many African countries' poverty alleviation strategies to promote smallholder farming. This article critically analyses exit options and their applicability to wider rural development policy and planning in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although smallholder rural agriculture is perceived to be an appropriate exit strategy by supporting agencies, it may, in fact, not be suitable for a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to, land access and tenure, economic remuneration, security and relevant skills. The article examines whether trade and small businesses may be more suitable alternatives, given that these exit options build on present artisanal miners' skills, knowledge and social networks. As agencies consider support towards exit options for artisanal miners, within a broader rural development framework, an analysis of not only the technical nature of alternative opportunities is critical; equally, an analysis of the socio-political constraints to exit is necessary. In effect, a ‘critical re-think’ of the region's rural development strategy is imperative. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Hunting of wild animals is an important component of household economies in the Congo Basin. Results from the growing corpus of quantitative studies show that: a) bushmeat remains the primary source of animal protein for the majority of Congo Basin families; b) bushmeat hunting can constitute a significant source of revenue for forest families; c) bushmeat consumption by low density populations living in the forest may be sustainable at present; d) demand for bushmeat by growing numbers of urban consumers has created a substantial market for bushmeat that is resulting in a halo of defaunation around population centres, and may be driving unsustainable levels of hunting, even in relatively isolated regions; and e) large bodied animals with low reproductive rates are most susceptible to over-exploitation compared with more r-selected species that apparently can tolerate relatively intensive hunting (Mangel et al. 1996). As urban populations continue to grow and economies revitalise, unless action is taken to alter the demand for, and the supply of bushmeat, the forests of the Congo Basin will be progressively stripped of certain wildlife species, risking their extirpation or extinction, and the loss of values they confer to local economies. Consequently, it is essential that a) logging companies are encouraged or coerced not to facilitate bushmeat hunting and transportation in their concessions, b) we develop a better understanding of the elasticity of bushmeat demand, c) that pilot bushmeat substitution projects are supported and their impact on demand evaluated, and d) social marketing activities are put in place to attempt to direct consumer preferences for animal protein away from bushmeat species that are particularly susceptible to over-exploitation.
Article
The debate on conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been widely documented by the international media, government and non-governmental agencies and academics. In recent years, a variety of international initiatives have been launched to curb the flow of funding from conflict minerals to armed groups. Many of these initiatives, however, have led to the loss of livelihoods for millions of small-scale miners. Drawing on interviews with key informants and focus group discussions in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities in South Kivu Province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), this paper examines the ways in which the national army, as well as an array of armed groups, have exerted control of mining towns. Findings reveal a number of ways that mining has shown itself to be “better adapted” to an unstable context than traditional agricultural models, resulting in the continued development of this sector even during conflict. Constant displacement, the fear of violence, inability to travel safely, and the disintegration of agricultural markets have all contributed to the decline of previous forms of income generation. With its promise of cash-in-hand, low start-up costs, and low demand for specialized knowledge, ASM provides a more viable employment opportunity to youth than farming. Finally, findings from this work suggest that, with components of both “distress-push” as well as “rush-type” motivations, the system could be characterized as third hybrid model: a “distress-rush” process. In this system, exploitation of minerals became increasingly entrenched as a primary source of income, and along the way shaped social, economic, and political structures. A better understanding of the political economies of ASM communities and the challenges miners face on a daily basis would increase the impact and effectiveness of initiatives aimed at curbing conflict and bolstering economic growth in the region.
Article
ABSTRACT African rural dwellers have faced depressed economic prospects for several decades. Now, in a number of mineral-rich countries, multiple discoveries of gold and precious stones have attracted large numbers of prospective small-scale miners. While their ‘rush’ to, and activities within, mining sites are increasingly being noted, there is little analysis of miners' mobility patterns and material outcomes. In this article, on the basis of a sample survey and interviews at two gold-mining sites in Tanzania, we probe when and why miners leave one site in favour of another. Our findings indicate that movement is often ‘rushed’ but rarely rash. Whereas movement to the first site may be an adventure, movement to subsequent sites is calculated with knowledge of the many risks entailed. Miners spend considerable time at each site before migrating onwards. Those with the highest site mobility tend to be more affluent than the others, suggesting that movement can be rewarding for those willing to ‘try their luck’ with the hard work and social networking demands of mining another site.
Article
The diversity and extent of forest in the Itombwe Mountains, eastern Congo Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire), are among the most significance in continental Africa. Despite some human impact, this area still harbors a wide range of vegetation types, including forests and grasslands, drylands and wetlands, and mid-altitude to upper-montane habitats. Forests extend from mid-altitude through sub-montane and montane to alpine zones. These first results provide a general description of the Itombwe Mountains as a basis for more detailed investigations. Certain priorities in conservation-development actions are suggested, based mainly on tree species knowledge; this information could influence further decision-making processes and management guidelines for the conservation and sustainable use of Itombwe's natural resources.
Article
This paper provides an extended analysis of livelihood diversification in rural Tanzania, with special emphasis on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). Over the past decade, this sector of industry, which is labour-intensive and comprises an array of rudimentary and semi-mechanized operations, has become an indispensable economic activity throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, providing employment to a host of redundant public sector workers, retrenched large-scale mine labourers and poor farmers. In many of the region's rural areas, it is overtaking subsistence agriculture as the primary industry. Such a pattern appears to be unfolding within the Morogoro and Mbeya regions of southern Tanzania, where findings from recent research suggest that a growing number of smallholder farmers are turning to ASM for employment and financial support. It is imperative that national rural development programmes take this trend into account and provide support to these people.
Article
While mineral exploitation can provide significant income and employment, it may negatively impact the environment, being ultimately detrimental to livelihoods in the long term. The consequences of mining are of concern in high value forest ecosystems such as the Sangha Tri-National (TNS) landscape covering Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Republic of the Congo. This paper captures the socio-economic and environmental impacts of small-scale mining in the TNS. Using structured questionnaires, consultations and observation, diamonds and gold were found to contribute directly to the livelihoods of at least 5% of the landscape's population. Although up to eight income-generating strategies are used, mining contributes on average to 65% of total income and is used mainly to meet basic needs. A gold miner's average income is US$3.10 a day, and a diamond miner earns US$ 3.08, making them slightly wealthier than an average Cameroonian and three times wealthier than an average non-miner in the TNS. Environmental impacts were temporary, low impact and of limited scale. However, with mining likely to increase in the near future, an increasing population and miners' low environmental awareness, measures are needed to ensure and reinforce the positive impact of artisanal mining on livelihoods and maintain its low environmental footprint in the TNS landscape.
Article
Climate change is understood as a threat to which the poor are acutely vulnerable. Microfinance services (MFS) are recognised as tools for helping to reduce the vulnerability of the poor. If this is indeed the case, then the possibility of linking MFS to climate change adaptation deserves careful consideration. MFS can provide poor people with the means to diversify, accumulate and manage the assets needed to become less susceptible to shocks and stresses and/or better able to deal with their impacts. Yet these links may not hold for everybody. MFS typically do not reach the chronically poor, may encourage short-term coping instead (or at the expense) of longer-term vulnerability reduction, or even increase vulnerability. These limitations and risks aside, MFS can still play an important role in vulnerability reduction and climate change adaptation among some of the poor, provided services better match client needs and livelihoods.
Article
This paper examines the environmental impacts of small-scale gold mining in Ghana, and prescribes a series of recommendations for improving environmental performance in the industry. Since the enactment of the Small Scale Gold Mining Law in 1989, which effectively legalized small-scale gold mining in the country, industrial operations, collectively, have made important contributions to national gold output, foreign exchange earnings and employment. Accompanying this pattern of socio-economic growth, however, have been increased environmental complications – namely, mercury pollution and land degradation. The Ghanaian Minerals Commission has been burdened with most of the jurisdictional responsibilities related to small-scale mining, but with a staff of only 35–40 people working with a pool of highly obsolete research resources, it is clearly incapable of facilitating sufficient environmental improvement on its own. It is concluded that marked environmental improvements can only be achieved if: (1) assistance is provided to the Minerals Commission from local governmental bodies and academic units; (2) industry-specific environmental management tools and strategies are designed and implemented; (3) concerted effort is made to prospect for deposits suitable for small-scale gold mining, a key to preventing unnecessary exploration; and (4) a nation-wide industrial mercury study is commissioned, and a mercury retorting programme is implemented.
Article
This paper offers an alternative viewpoint on why people choose to engage in artisanal mining – the low tech mineral extraction and processing of mainly precious metals and stones – for extended periods in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing upon experiences from Akwatia, Ghana's epicentre of diamond production since the mid-1920s, the analysis challenges the commonly-held view that the region's people are drawn to artisanal mining solely because of a desire ‘to get rich quick’. A combination of events, including the recent closure of Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Ltd's industrial-scale operation and decreased foreign investment in the country's diamond industry over concerns of it potentially harbouring ‘conflict’ stones from neighbouring Côte D'Ivoire, has had a debilitating economic impact on Akwatia. In an attempt to alleviate their hardships, many of the town's so-called ‘lifetime’ diamond miners have managed to secure employment in neighbouring artisanal gold mining camps. But their decision has been condemned by many of the country's policymakers and traditional leaders, who see it solely as a move to secure ‘fast money’. It is argued here, however, that these people pursue work in surrounding artisanal gold mining communities mainly because of poverty, and that their decision has more to do with a desire to immerse in activities with which they are familiar, that offer stable employment and consistent salaries, and provide immediate debt relief. Misdiagnosis of cases such as Akwatia underscores how unfamiliar policymakers and donors are with the dynamics of ASM in sub-Saharan Africa.
Article
This paper reports the findings of a study undertaken to assess the socio-economic and environmental impacts of mining in Geita District, Tanzania. In addition to sampling community perceptions of mining activities, the study prescribes interventions that can assist in mitigating the negative impacts of mining. Marked environmental and interrelated socio-economic improvements can be achieved within regional artisanal gold mines if the government provides technical support to local operators, regulations are improved, and illegal mining activity is reduced.
Article
Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)--low tech, labour intensive mineral processing and excavation activity--is an economic mainstay in rural sub-Saharan Africa, providing direct employment to over two million people. This paper introduces a special issue on 'Small-scale mining, poverty and development in sub-Saharan Africa'. It focuses on the core conceptual issues covered in the literature, and the policy implications of the findings reported in the papers in this special issue.
Article
Over the last decade the concepts, policies and practices of conservation in Africa have begun to shift towards what has been viewed as a community-based approach. This introductory paper to the Policy Arena argues that the ideas underpinning this shift-a greater interest in local level and community-based natural resource management, the treatment of conservation as simply one of many forms of natural resource use and a belief in the contribution that markets can make to the achievement of conservation goals-are better understood as a 'new conservation'. This new conservation is presently diffusing through Africa both challenging 'fortress conservation' and working alongside it. It is no panacea for the problems that conservation faces but it does provide a basis from which more effective policies and institutions can evolve. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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