CIFOR-Forests-News: Cameroon research adds to growing consensus on sustainable climate change strategies


BOGOR, Indonesia — It’s a propitious time for climate change adaptation. Climate talks in Bonn in June seemed to open the door to formally linking strategies for adaptation with mitigation measures, and a growing body of evidence is showing that linking the two methods is integral to the success of both.


Add a new study in Cameroon to the list. In a paper published earlier this year, researchers in the Central African country showed that efforts to mitigate global warming by curbing deforestation can no longer be conducted separately from measures to help people adapt to a degree of inevitable climate change.


Failing to include adaptation in a project involving farming practices will never be sustainable


“We wanted to demonstrate practically that adaptation can be linked to mitigation, starting from the activity level,” said scientist Eugene Loh Chia, a research officer with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and lead author of the study, “Forest–climate nexus: linking adaptation and mitigation in Cameroon’s climate policy process.”


The study drew from observations of two community forest-carbon conservation projects in southern Cameroon implemented by the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), as well as results from CIFOR’s Congo Basin Forests and Climate Change Adaptation (CoFCCA) research project.

As climate change affects weather patterns, cultivation seasons and crop production, experts anticipate that farmers will be compelled to expand arable areas, including by clearing more forests in tropical locations—such as the two communities studied in the Cameroon paper. This would undermine the mitigation projects being implemented there, in which local people get paid to protect the trees from deforestation, thus contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“In Cameroon, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) dominates climate change action, but we have demonstrated the need to add adaptation as a co-benefit of such mitigation programs,” said CIFOR senior scientist Denis Sonwa, a co-author of the publication who also worked on the CoFCCA project.


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