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Conservation and utilization of wildlife in the Congo Basin: How to tackle the protein gap?


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Conservation and utilization of wildlife in the Congo Basin: How to tackle the protein gap?

  1. 1. Conservation and utilization of wildlife in the Congo Basin: How to tackle the protein gap? Robert Nasi, Nathalie Van Vliet, Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez Nutrition
Basin Brussels,
  2. 2. The “Bushmeat Crisis”  Empirical evidence • Historical: hunting-related extinctions (passenger pigeon, American buffalo…) • Today: local extirpation because of hunting (for food or trade in wildlife parts)  Is “doomsday” coming? • Not sure but there is a clear sustainability problem  Biodiversity but also livelihoods of local people are at stake
  3. 3. Importance of wildlife  Ecological • Keystone species • Ecological services  Economical • Local livelihoods, food security • Income generation  Cultural • Social bonding, • Redistribution • Traditional ceremonies, • Taboos  Defaunation • Not restricted only to environmental or conservation issues • Livelihoods issues are at least as important • “Bushmeat hunting” needs to be approached as a socio-ecological system
  4. 4. Ecological aspects  Extinction or extirpation of hunted species  Food chain feed–back and Allee effects  Potential pest outbreaks  Changes in pollination patterns  Changes in seed predation / dispersion patterns  Modification of vegetation dynamics and biomass fluxes
  5. 5.  Potential food crisis; malnutrition  Deforestation or forest degradation for alternative sources of protein  Unsustainable harvesting of other wild resources (e.g. fish)  Public health issues  Loss of income  Loss of cultural identity Socio-economic aspects
  6. 6.  Estimates of the value of the bushmeat trade range from US$42 to US$205 million per year in West-Central Africa.  Current harvest in Central Africa alone may well be in excess of 5 million tons annually, equivalent of over 2 billion chickens or 15 million cows!  30 to 80% of the protein intake of many rural populations Bushmeat hunting in Congo Basin
  7. 7. A simplified bushmeat value chain Hunters Transporters Retailers Consumers,
rural Consumers,
international) LA Resource Wholesalers
  8. 8.  Complex wicked problem, no simple solution or “silver bullet”  Driven by many underlying causes similar to the ones that drive poverty  Livelihood issues as important as biological ones  Very important gender dimension to be properly considered  Interdiction and enforcement only policies cannot work in the short or medium term  Resource needs to be managed and its use monitored Issues at hands
  9. 9. Tackling the protein gap  Solution can only be combinations of various actions at different points of the value chain and of the enabling environment  Actions need to be combined at various levels around three main elements: – Reducing the demand for bushmeat – Making the off-take, supply more sustainable with proper management of the resource – Creating an conducive and enabling institutional and policy environment
  10. 10. Reducing demand  Hunters, rural consumers – Develop alternative sources of protein at a cost similar to bushmeat – Improve economic opportunities in productive sectors – Use local media (e.g. radio) to deliver environmental education and raise awareness
  11. 11. Reducing demand  Retailers, urban consumers – Strictly enforcing ban of protected/endangered species sales and consumption – Confiscating and publicly incinerating carcasses – Taxing sales of authorized species  International consumers – Instituting very heavy fines for possession or trade of bushmeat (whatever the status or provenance of the species) – Raising awareness of the issue in airports or seaports – Engaging and making accountable airline or shipping companies
  12. 12. Improving sustainability of supply  Hunter, rural consumers – Negotiate hunting rules allowing harvesting resilient species and banning vulnerable ones – Define self-monitored quotas and co-construct simple self- monitoring tools  Research and extension services – Develop and disseminate simple monitoring methods – Understanding the “empty forest” syndrome: • Role of source-sink effects in hunting areas • Competition and substitutions effects on forest composition and structure – Analyze relationships and trade-off between bushmeat and other protein sources • Bushmeat and freshwater fish consumption • Bushmeat and domestic meat (livestock, poultry…) footprints • Is there a nutritional transition? Where? Into which alternative protein source?
  13. 13. Improving sustainability of supply  Extractive industries – Enforce codes of conducts and include wildlife concerns in companies’ standard operating procedures – Forbid transportation on company’s cars or trucks – Establish manned checkpoints (with trained personnel) on main roads – Provide alternative sources of protein at cost – Organize, support community hunting schemes – Adopt and implement certification
  14. 14. “Enabling” environment  National policy makers and agencies (range states) – Enhancing ownership, linked to tenurial and rights reform – Legitimize the bushmeat debate – Make an economic assessment of the sector and include in national statistics – Acknowledge contribution of bushmeat to food security in national strategies – Develop a framework to “formalize” parts of the trade – Review national legislation for coherence, practicality and to reflect actual practices (without surrendering key conservation concerns) – Include bushmeat/wildlife modules in curricula
  15. 15. “Enabling” environment  International policies – Strict enforcement of CITES – Ensure wildlife issues are covered within internationally- supported policy processes – Link international trade with increased emerging disease risks – Impose tough fines and shame irresponsible behavior  Local institutions – Negotiate full support of communities that have a vested interest in protecting the resource – Increase capacity to setup and manage sustainable bushmeat markets – Develop local participatory monitoring tools
  16. 16. Conclusion?  No universal solutions exist to solve the problem of unsustainable bushmeat hunting in tropical forests.  Some principles need to be taken into account in order to achieve the sustainability of bushmeat hunting: – Ensure that research is linked to the practices – Mitigate against the potential for tension between livelihood and conservation objectives – Analyse both the livelihood and conservation implications of a given intervention on all stakeholders – Search alternative models from other sectors – Identify the most appropriate entry points – Employ multi-pronged approaches to a complex problem by involving different stakeholders
  17. 17. Pictures: Nathalie Van Vliet, David Wilkie, Rober Nasi and CIFOR