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Rural local institutions and climate change adaptation in forest communities in Cameroon

H. Carolyn Peach Brown, University of Prince Edward Island
Denis J. Sonwa, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07327-200206

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Abstract

Surveys and interviews were used to understand community resilience in forest-dependent communities facing climate change in Cameroon. Surveys of 232 individuals showed a diversity of formal and informal institutions that relate to most aspects of rural life. Although direct activities related to climate change adaptation were limited, the activities and density of membership in rural local institutions could increase the community’s adaptive capacity. Twenty-six semistructured interviews were also conducted with representatives of diverse local institutions who had some responsibility for agriculture, forests, conservation, or development. Local governmental institutions had not received any information from the national level and were limited in their knowledge of how to help communities respond to climate change. Although limited in their direct action on climate change, local nongovernmental organizations and international institutions act as bridging institutions with rural communities and could facilitate sharing of knowledge and innovation, thereby fostering resilience. Planning for climate change adaptation in Cameroon needs to build the capacity of diverse local institutions and improve the relationships between local and national-level adaptation planning.

Key words

adaptation; Africa; climate change; community forests; local institutions; resilience

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087