Forest products and livelihood strategies of rural households in the Kisangani región


Authors: Marie-Ange Muyambo Ndaya, Kimoni Kicha and Sarah Furaha Acira

DR Congo - 2017

Language: French


This study analyses the forest products and livelihood strategies of rural households in the Kisangani region. Five research techniques were used to obtain an in-depth idea of the use and management of forest products by different households in three villages located on three different roads around the city of Kisangani (Old Road Buta, Roads Lubutu and Ubundu): questionnaire, participatory mapping, transect, seasonal calendar and life story.

The multiplicity of activities that rural households practice in the forest is one of the strategies for overcoming several challenges, including natural disasters. Forest products play an important role as a reserve or safety net, generally providing a source of livelihood and income.

In the past, when fallowing was long because of the subsistence economy and low demography, among other things, the yield of rural activities was high because the soil had time to replenish; but currently, as the fallowing time is shortened to meet the city's growing demand, the yield has become low due to soil depletion. Demographic pressure is one of the major reasons for reducing fallow duration, as it leads to continued use of land for household survival.

Thus, is there a continuous reinvention of the means of survival because the forest is not enough to feed the inhabitants around Kisangani. Aggressive practices such as the use of toxic plants and chemicals in an attempt to maximize forest resources have had devastating effects. The quest for immediate interest seems to compromise the availability of resources for future generations. Some beliefs do not facilitate creating awareness of the risks associated with deforestation and other wild practices. The scarcity of forest products, the disturbances of the growing seasons and the degradation of the forests is done by the hand of God according to local people.  

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