Biodiversity and Climate Change in Central Africa: Perceptions, Attitudes and Policies
To test this hypothesis, focus groups were conducted in five villages within the buffer zones in June and July 2015 (n=28 participants). Participants reported that climate change and spillover of large mammals from national parks are impeding the practice of agriculture. Climate change has shifted rainy season timing and increased cassava pathogens, causing crop failure. Elephants living in nearby parks routinely ventured into villages while foraging and destroyed agricultural fields. These unfavorable economic circumstances prompted the immigration of young people to urban areas (average villager age was 59 years). The findings suggest that conservation programs aimed to preserve wildlife in national parks should also provide payments or food shipments to buffer zone communities to compensate for crop losses, thereby reducing human-wildlife conflict in this biodiversity hotspot.
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