Top > African Study Monographs > ASM Supplementary Issue Back Number > No. 43 (2012)
Land Use, Livelihood, and Changing Relationships Between Man and Forests in Central Africa

Edited by Mitsuo ICHIKAWA, Daiji KIMURA & Hirokazu YASUOKA


pp.1

PREFACE

Mitsuo ICHIKAWA, Daiji KIMURA & Hirokazu YASUOKA

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pp. 3-14

CENTRAL AFRICAN FORESTS AS HUNTER-GATHERERS’ LIVING ENVIRONMENT: AN APPROACH TO HISTORICAL ECOLOGY

Mitsuo ICHIKAWA
Japan Monkey Centre

ABSTRACT
      While tropical rainforests in central Africa are often assumed as “green desert” where human cannot live by entirely depending on wild food resources, recent studies suggest that hunter-gatherers could survive there even in the dry season, when food resources are relatively scarce. Newly found archaeological investigations also suggest the existence of early, hunter-gatherers’ habitation in the forests of central Africa. Recent field research in Cameroon by Yasuoka (2006; 2009a) showed the key food to sustain the forest life is comprised of wild yams with annual stems, which are gregarious and found only in limited “gaps” formed under supposedly human influences in the past. Other forest food species are also found more in secondary forests than in mature forests, as reported in previous studies. Moreover, there are increasing evidences that show the distribution of a variety of human-induced vegetations throughout the equatorial forests of Africa. It is necessary, therefore, to examine the implications of such human-induced vegetations for understanding the history in the region. It is also important to examine the forest ecosystem and landscape in a perspective of historical ecology, i.e., from the viewpoint of interactions between man and forest environment, which may provide the forest peoples with a basis for claiming customary rights to the forests.

Key Words: Hunter-gatherers; Food resources; Human influences; Vegetation; Customary rights.

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pp. 15-44

TECHNOLOGICAL LEAP-FROGGING IN THE CONGO BASIN, PYGMIES AND GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEMS IN CENTRAL AFRICA: WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND WHERE IS IT GOING?

Jerome LEWIS
Department of Anthropology, University College London

ABSTRACT
    It is surprising that many Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin, though unable to read the numbers on banknotes or write their own names, have begun to use handheld computers attached to global positioning systems (GPS). In describing this remarkable case of technological leap-frogging I will summarise the historical context that led to this situation, followed by a survey of the different uses that Pygmies are putting the GPS to in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. What are the reasons for this sudden technological engagement and what has it made possible?

Key Words: GPS; Mapping; Logging; Conservation; Technology.

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pp. 45-59

 MAPPING OF RESOURCE USE AREA BY THE BAKA PYGMIES INSIDE AND AROUND BOUMBA-BEK NATIONAL PARK IN SOUTHEAST CAMEROON, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO BAKA’S CUSTOMARY RIGHTS

Olivier NJOUNAN TEGOMO
Louis DEFO

University of Yaoundé I , and World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Cameroon


Leonard USONGO
International Union for Conservation of Nature, Cameroon

ABSTRACT
    In the beginning of the year 2000 the Cameroon government created several protected areas within the framework of efforts aimed at biodiversity conservation in southeast Cameroon, one of which is the Boumba-Bek National Park. The creation of this park restricted the rights of the Baka indigenous hunter-gatherers living in the region to use the resource there. To take into consideration adequately the customary rights of this indigenous people in the management and development of this protected area, we carried out scientific studies as part of investigation by the WWF Cameroon on how the Baka use this forest space. Results of these studies revealed that the Baka have been using the forest for various purposes for a long time. Resources used by the Baka in this forest are very important for them economically, socially and culturally. To accommodate the Baka customary rights to access the forest resources, the management plan for Boumba-Bek National Park should be partly modified to elaborate sufficiently the actuality of Baka traditional use of land and resources.

Key Words: Indigenous peoples; Hunter-gatherers; Protected area; Southeast Cameroon.

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pp. 61-84

BIODIVERSITY OF INTERCROPPED FIELDS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN RAINFORESTS

Kaori KOMATSU
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shizuoka University

ABSTRACT
    This paper reports an example of agrobiodiversity in central African rainforests. In central Africa, people manage agriculture characterized by vegetative crops and shifting and intercropping culture. They plant many crop species and cultivars in a field simultaneously. Tolerated wild plants such as uncut trees and weeds also exist in fields. I found 29 species of uncut trees in 9 fields and 102 species of weeds in a field area of 750 m2. People recognize these wild plants well and assign utilities to most of them, such as medicine, food, and other useful materials. These domesticated and wild plants generate biodiversity in farmlands. This fact cannot be explained only by functional aspects; therefore, I attempted to clarify the cultural and historical background of the agrobiodiversity in this region.

Key Words: Agrobiodiversity; Intercropping; Shifting cultivation; Tolerated Plants; Central Africa.

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pp. 85-114

FLEDGING AGRICULTURALISTS? RETHINKING THE ADOPTION OF CULTIVATION BY THE BAKA HUNTER-GATHERERS

Hirokazu YASUOKA
Faculty of Humanity and Environment, Hosei University

ABSTRACT
    The Baka hunter-gatherers currently cultivate agricultural crops. However, they do not seem to esteem planned, continuous, year-round produce, to which the neighboring cultivators attach great importance. The Baka do not expect to always obtain foodstuff from their own fields. Rather, than interpret this resource usage as an immature stage before the adoption of full agriculture, the adoption of banana cultivation by the Baka can be recognized as a diversification of resource usage within the “semi-domestication” gradation. The author argues that “resource use” comprises of human-to-nature relationship and human-to-human relationship. What differentiates the resource use between the Baka and the cultivators is the human-to-human relationships that surround the resource, such as the right to use the resource, the labor input for the resource, the distribution and the consumption of the resource among the people. The author hypothesizes that the Baka community lacks a rigid logic linking labor input and ownership of its fruits. Conversely, when most Baka begin to feel that the causal relationship between labor and ownership is natural and reasonable, their community is recognized as being on the definitive step to becoming an agriculturalist community.

Key Words: Forest food resource; Semi-domestication; Diversification of resource use; Labor and ownership.

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pp. 115-136

CASH CROP CULTIVATION AND INTERETHNIC RELATIONS OF THE BAKA HUNTER-GATHERERS IN SOUTHEASTERN CAMEROON

Takanori OISHI
Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University

ABSTRACT
    The Baka hunter-gatherers of southeastern Cameroon practice tree cash crop cultivation, which brings economic benefits but is an activity of delayed-return economy that requires long-term and intensive labor inputs. This article describes the socioeconomic contexts of Baka’s cacao cultivation and examines how the Baka have adapted to it, with special references to the dynamics of relationships between farmers, merchants, and hunter-gatherers under the pressure of a market economy. In the course of logging operations and expanding cash crop cultivation, the Baka have started to grow cacao in their own plantations. The Baka also gain cash from wage labor for other farmers with larger plantations. Because of a strong desire for alcohol and consumer goods, the majority of the Baka spend the money immediately after acquisition. On the other hand, a small number of the Baka try to save money so they can employ the other Baka to expand their cacao plantations. Cacao cultivation has provided them with direct access to a market economy without mediation and control by neighboring farmers, which gives the Baka autonomy in the local society. As a result, considerable economic inequality has emerged among individuals, causing a conflict between self-interest (economic gain) and existing egalitarian ethics.

Key Words: Tree cash crop; Delayed-return economy; Farmer and hunter-gatherer relationships; Egalitarianism; Economic inequality.

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pp. 137-159

QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT OF LIVELIHOODS AROUND GREAT APE RESERVES: CASES IN LUO SCIENTIFIC RESERVE, DR CONGO, AND KALINZU FOREST RESERVE, UGANDA

Hirokazu YASUOKA
Faculty of Humanity and Environment, Hosei University


Daiji KIMURA
Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University


Chie HASHIMOTO
Takeshi FURUICHI

Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University

ABSTRACT
    This study analyzed the livelihoods of people living around two great ape reserves in Africa, the Luo Scientific Reserve, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Uganda, based on quantitative assessments carried out for several years. The results show clear differences in food sources between the two sites. The forest is an important food source in Luo, whereas the market is central in Kalinzu. This difference should be acknowledged when adjusting management plans for the great ape reserves to fit the actualities of local livelihoods. For example, in Kalinzu, restricted forest use can be compensated by an increase in cash income, which is more acceptable than in Luo, where the market economy is less developed and the forest provides most of the protein consumed by local people. This difference in degree of integration into the market economy presents different challenges for the long-term management of the reserves.

Key Words: Conservation; Wildlife management; Local people; Forest resource; Rural Africa.

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pp. 161-178

DIACHRONIC CHANGES IN PROTEIN ACQUISITION AMONG THE BONGANDO IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Daiji KIMURA
Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University

Hirokazu YASUOKA
Faculty of Humanity and Environment, Hosei University

Takeshi FURUICHI
Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University

ABSTRACT
    A comparison of data obtained in the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000s revealed diachronic changes in protein acquisition among the Bongando people living in the Wamba region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main protein source changed from bushmeat to fish due to depletion of the game animal population. This shift occurred for two main reasons. First, hunting pressure around sedentary villages had increased even before the 1980s. Second, a civil war in the 1990s resulted in changes in the structure of cash earning in this region, consequently accelerating commercial hunting for cash income. To preserve the ecosystem and ensure a stable protein supply, it is important to promote the aquaculture and animal husbandry that have been implemented by some local nongovernmental organizations.

Key Words: Animal husbandry; Aquaculture; Bongando; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Protein acquisition; Tropical rainforest.

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