From knowledge to sustainable use of local biodiversity


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Nutrition-sensitive landscapes was a side-event at the Int. Conference on Forests for Food Security organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International, all members of the CGIAR Consortium.

Céline Termote, research assistant with Bioversity International's Nutrition and Marketing Diversity Programme, shared some of her experiences from research she carried out in the Tshopo District in the Democratic Republic of Congo on wild edible plant knowledge and use. She found that peoples' knowledge of biodiversity was not always translated into their effective use of wild edible plants. She argued for better integration of participatory research techniques: "We should put people at the centre of the landscapes approach. Food is an expression of their culture, we must not forget that, “she said.

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From knowledge to sustainable use of local biodiversity

  1. 1. From knowledge to sustainable use of local biodiversityA participatory approach to nutrition-sensitivityCéline Termote, PhD14/05/2013
  2. 2. Nutrition: who?Need to put the PEOPLE living in thelandscape in the centerImportance of local knowledge:• Forest/wild foods, other non-timber foodproducts (NTFPs)• Landscape and forest management.Food systems in indigenous communitiesare sometimes closely linked tocultural, social or political systemsE.g. ‘Lilwa’ socio-cultural organisation ofthe Mbole, Tshopo District, DRCongo; allinterventions in the Mbole society shouldbe based on an understanding of thissocio-cultural institution (KalalaNkudi, 1979)
  3. 3. Participatory cartography -giving local populations a voice- How is the environment perceived by localpopulations:• What kind of vegetation do theyrecognize?• How are they named, distinguished andwhy, etc. ?- Where do people source and what foods?• related to forest type (food availability)• related to institutions, rules, culturalaspects, e.g. sacred forests .- How do forest sites, fields and fallowsevolve over time- Discussions on how limits/boundaries aredefined lead to aspects of land tenure anduse.
  4. 4. Participatory cartography (2)-Description of forest types (left)-Timeline, evolution of land use over time(under).
  5. 5. Nutrition: what?• 925 million people are undernourished + additional 2 billion suffer from ‘hiddenhunger’• Changing debate from quantity of staple foods (agronomists) to dietary diversity(nutritionists)• Forest foods can be a ‘safety net’ during food shortages, but their real potential lies inthe fact that they (could) contribute to complementing staple foods with essentialmicronutrients and pharmacollogically active substances• Landscape should provide it all: fields (food quantity), forests (forest foods andecosystem services), pastures, public spaces, etc.•Linear programming using local food composition data and food prices as aninnovative tool to screen local biodiversity with regard to its potential to optimize dietquality and reduce cost of diet.
  6. 6. From knowledge to use – barriers and actionssome findings from Tshopo District (Kisangani, DRCongo)KNOWLEDGE : 166 WEPs (165 species and 2 varieties) within 71 botanical familiesfor the Turumbu, Mbole and Bali togetherTshopo District inOriental Province, DRCongoTurumbu BaliMbole
  7. 7. 7Dendrogram presenting the results of the clustering of the 9 villages studied (3 perethnic group) based upon occurence (present/absent) of the 166 WEPsinventoried, using Ward’s Hierarchical Clustering Method.Bafwabula 7Bafwambalu 9Bavoy 8Yasekwe 2Yalungu 3Yaoseko 1Yaleko 4Olife 5Lefundelo 6Knowledge differs from ethnic group to ethnic groupCULTURE is important and can substantially differ within the same landscape
  8. 8. 8USE:• Methodology: Two multiple-pass 24h recalls per women duringperiod of highest WEP availability (July-October)–241 adult women in Kisangani city, all ethnicities mixed–129 Turumbu women in Yaoseko village–122 Turumbu women in Kisangani city.• Results: diets mainly based on cassava (some rice in the city)combined with cassava leaves. Caterpillars present in about 20% ofthe recalls• Only 15 WEPs figured in a marginal number of recalls–1 wild yam (2 recalls on a total of 984)–2 wild nuts (3 recalls)–4 wild leafy vegetables (18 recalls)–3 wild fruits (10 recalls)–5 wild spices (30 recalls).• Safou (Dacryodes edulis), a native underutilized fruit species (semi-domesticated) was fairly consumed in the village (30.1% of recalls)and contributed to approx. 5% of energy intake in the village.
  9. 9. 9Nutrient Kisangani(n=182)% womenunderRDA²Turumbu city(n=108)% womenunderRDA²Turumbu Yaoseko(n=80)% womenunderRDA²P³Weight (g) 1039.64 ± 275.14a 872.35 ± 271.83b 1062.88 ± 354.48a <0.001Energy (kcal) 2102 ± 444.19a 1715.08 ± 599.57b 1779.37 ± 564.85b <0.001Energy density(kcal/100g)205.47 ± 23.0 a 196.13 ± 26.21 b 169.34 ± 21.9 c <0.001Energy from protein (%) 9.24 ± 2.13 a 9.36 ± 2.1 a 7.56 ± 1.98 b <0.001Energy from lipids (%) 44.78 ± 5.42 46.19 ± 6.4 44.18 ± 8.06 0.0686Total carbohydrate (g) 4 260.79 ± 64.1 a 211.71 ± 64.82a 241.62 ± 94.55 b <0.001Fibre (g) 4 22.48 ± 8.73 17.59 ± 8.76 18.81 ± 7.56 0.4021Vitamin A (µg RE) 4 4240.06 ± 898.37a 0 3886.47 ± 764.4b 0 4301.83 ± 768.44b 0 <0.001Vitamin C (mg) 4 89.39 ± 23.46a 3.85 86.17 ± 29.34b 5.56 165.61 ± 74.22 c 0 <0.001Thiamine (mg) 4 1.03 ± 0.27 a 63.19 0.95 ± 0.36 b 72.2 1.07 ± 0.41 c 61.25 <0.001Riboflavin (mg) 4 2.07 ± 0.73 a 3.85 2.55 ± 1.88 b 7.41 2.52 ± 2.02 b 13.75 <0.001Niacin (mg) 4 9.12 ± 2.87 a 93.4 8.08 ± 3 b 96.3 7.44 ± 2.76 a 97.5 <0.001Vitamin B-6 (mg) 4 1.73 ± 0.51a 24.18 1.55 ± 0.43 b 31.48 2.40 ± 1.1 c 21.25 <0.001Folate (µg) 4 219.18 ± 58.84 a 100 202.9 ± 65.88b 100 238.08 ± 86.34 c 93.75 <0.001Vitamin B-12 (µg) 4 1.44 ± 0.58 a 93.4 1.28 ± 1.49 a 87.03 0.6 ± 0.57 b 97.5 <0.001Calcium (mg) 4 406.23 ± 104.98a 100 384.87 ± 138.13b 99.07 541.91 ± 245.64c 95 <0.001Iron (mg) 4 11.89 ± 3.67 a,b 100 8.93 ± 2.89 a 100 10.42 ± 4.22 b 100 0.0154Zinc (mg) 4 6.46 ± 2.1 a 91.8 5.04 ± 1.8 a 99.07 3.89 ± 1.9 b 97.5 <0.001
  10. 10. 10•Huge gap between knowledge and effective use of WEPs•WEPs are insufficiently consumed to contribute to nutritionsecurity•Urban nor rural people valorize their knowledge on WEPs tocomplement and ameliorate their diets•Despite they are not frequently used, there exists a lot ofWEPs in the region with interesting nutritional characteristicssuch as•Gnetum africanum; Treculia africana; etc.What are the barriers?What are factors that could favor sustainable consumption of forestfoods/more dietary diversity?More knowledge necessary for other ethnic groups living in rural areas
  11. 11. 11• Possible barriers:• Lack of knowledge on nutritional and health properties has been cited many timesby the interviewed women• Abundance and seasonality of species in the forest?• Time consuming collection/transformation/preparation?• Erosion of traditional knowledge (colonial system stressing on conventionalagricultural systems and despizing traditional use of plant medicines, etc.)• forest food perception => food for the poor?•Etc.=> Needs more investigation•Factors which might be used as incentives to increase forest food consumption:– Knowledge is present and bioculturally defined, cultural identity– Interesting species are present in the region–Women were eager to know more about WEPs and their health characteristics– Population was very proud to share their knowledge with us=> Needs more investigation
  12. 12. 12Some possible actions:• Identify and embrace local values which might support sustainableforest food consumption; nutritional education should not only be based onsound knowledge of nutritional values of WEPs, but also be able to identify andstimulate positive behaviour with regard to the consumption of WEPs anddietary diversity• Development of culturally accepted food-based dietary guidelinesincluding local foods and forest foods• Participatory nutrition education and promotion of dietary diversity should beintegrated into strategies for sustainable rural development in TshopoDistrict. Research into innovative agricultural models and agroforestry, basedon local knowledge and sound scientific research principles for integration oflocal species into farmer’s fields and home gardens• Home gardens are interesting places for participatory domestication andcultivation of nutrient rich species to increase availability and access• Promotion of nutrition-sensitive value chains• Etc.
  13. 13. 13Furthermore…- Ecosystem services- National and international policies- Land tenure and access- Local, national institutions- Sustainable harvest levels and opportunity costs of forest foods- Gender difference in access, knowledge and roles with respect to forestfoods- Demographics & population growth-…Multidisciplinary teams with:-Anthropologists, nutritionists, forest ecologists, agronomists, sociologists,economists, ethnobiologists, value chain specialists, public healthspecialists, geographers and land use planners, legal specialists, etc.
  14. 14. www.bioversityinternational.orgThank youNutrition and Marketing Diversity ProgrammeCéline Termote;