Knowledge systems and adaptive collaborative management of natural resources in southern Cameroon : decision analysis of agrobiodiversity for forest-agriculture innovations

Mala, William Armand (Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch, 2009-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to analyze under which conditions the structure, organization and integration of knowledge systems can provide the implementation of adaptive collaborative management of natural resources under conditions of high biodiversity in the humid forest zone of southern Cameroon. The study specifically did the following: characterized sustainable slash-and-burn agriculture innovations; examined the influences of local perceptions of nature and forest knowledge management systems on adaptive slash-and-burn agriculture practices; analyzed the influences of the social representation of land use patterns and their local indicators on agro-ecological sustainability; characterised the biophysical dimensions of local management of agricultural biodiversity knowledge systems; analyzed how local agricultural biodiversity knowledge is used to adapt and to satisfy household consumption needs, market preferences, and sustainable livelihoods; examined the influences of local perceptions of climate variability for the ability and adaptive capacity of people to use local knowledge to deal with the effect of pests-diseases on crop yield, corrective management actions, and adaptive slash-and-burn agriculture management. The study was conducted in three blocks within the humid forest zone of southern Cameroon along a gradient of natural resource use management intensification and population density. Data were collected via structured and semi-structured interviews, multi-disciplinary landscape assessment and a review of secondary information. Chisquare tests were used to show how local knowledge influences - natural resource management at the forest-agriculture interface, while binary logistic regressions were used to understand the influences of biophysical and socio-economic factors on farmers’ decisions to domesticate tree species and to cultivate several crop cultivars. Fourteen research and development (R&D) themes were identified and found to be equally distributed among blocks but unequally distributed across technical, marketing and socio-organisational types of innovation. There was a gap between social demand and innovation offer. Innovations offered covered more technical issues, such as crop variety development, indicating their agricultural focus rather than the integration of forest and agriculture issues. The local perceptions of nature and forest resources are based on social representation of the vital space into components having a specific function for the social, physical and spiritual life of people. Needs of the human world determine the role of local forest knowledge systems in the interpretation and responses of the natural environment, and guide the trajectories of natural resource management practices. The management of agro-ecological sustainability is based on the local definition of well-being, social representation of space and on a multi-criteria approach combining bio-indicators such as plants, earthworm activities, age of vegetation or forest cover, soil colour and quality but it is also positively influenced by land use history, the use value of wild plant and crop species, the knowledge of crop qualities, the knowledge of interactions between crops, and between crops and other wild plant species, the tree size of tree species used, the future use of a current land use, the estimated land use for own use and market access.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal onder watter omstandighede die struktuur, organisasie en integrasie van kennissisteme kan bydra tot die implementering van aanpasbare deelnemende bestuur van natuurlike hulpbronne onder toestande van hoë biodiversiteit in die vogtige woudsone van suidelike Kameroen. Die studie het spesifiek die volgende gedoen: volhoubare kap-en-brand landboukundige ontwikkelinge gekarakteriseer; die invloede van plaaslike persepsies van die natuur en woudkennisgebaseerde bestuursisteme op aanpasbare kap-en-brand landboupraktyke ge-evalueer; die invloede van die sosiale verteenwoordiging van grondgebruikspatrone en hul plaaslike indikatore op agro-ekologiese volhoubaarheid ontleed; die biofisiese dimensies van die plaaslike bestuur van landboukundige biodiversiteitskennissisteme gekarakteriseer; geanaliseer hoe die plaaslike landboukundige biodiversiteitskennis gebruik word om aan te pas by en bevrediging te verkry vir huishoudelike gebruiksbehoeftes, marksvoorkeure en volhoubare bestaansbehoeftes; die invloede en gebruik van plaaslike kennis en persepsies van klimaatsvariasie beoordeel in die vermoë en aanpassingskapasiteit van mense om die effekte van siektes-peste op gewasproduksie, regstellende aksies en aanpasbare kap-enbrand landboubestuur te hanteer. Die studie is uitgevoer in drie blokke binne die vogtige woudsone van suidelike Kameroen langs ‘n gradient van natuurlike hulpbrongebruiksbestuursintensiteit en populasiedigtheid. Data is versamel deur gestruktureerde en semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude, multi-dissiplinere landskapsevaluering en ‘n oorsig van sekondere inligting. Chi-kwadraat toetse is gebruik om te wys hoe plaaslike kennis die bestuur van die woudlandbou konneksie beinvloed asook binêre logistiese regressies om die invloede te verstaan van biofisiese en sosio-ekonomiese faktore op die boere se besluite om boomsoorte te domestikeer en om verskeie gewaskultivars te kweek. Veertien temas in navorsing en ontwikkeling (N&O) was gelyk versprei tussen die blokke en ongelyk versprei tussen tegniese, bemarking en sosio-organisatoriese tipes innovering. Daar was ‘n gaping tussen sosiale aanvraag en innoveringsaanbieding. Innoverings het meer tegniese aspekte gedek, soos ontwikkeling van ‘n verskeidenheid gewasse, wat wys op ‘n landboukundige fokus eerder as ‘n integrasie van woud en landboukundige aspekte. Die plaaslike persepsies van die natuur en woudhulpbronne was gebaseer op sosiale verteenwoordiging van lewensbelangrike ruimte in komponente met ‘n spesifieke funksie vir die sosiale, fisiese en geestelike lewe van die mense. Behoeftes van die menslike wereld bepaal die rol van plaaslike woudkennissisteme in die interpretasie van en reaksie op die natuurlike omgewing, en rig die gebruik van hulpbronbestuurspraktyke. Die bestuur van agro-ekologiese volhoubaarheid is gebaseer op die plaaslike definisie van geluk, sosiale verteenwoordiging van ruimte en op ‘n multikriteria benadering wat bio-indikatore kombineer soos plante, erdwurmaktiwiteite, ouderdom van plantegroei- of woudbedekking, grondkleur- en kwaliteit, maar is ook positief beinvloed deur grondgebruiksgeskiedenis, die gebruikswaarde van natuurlike en gewassoorte, die kennis van gewaskwaliteite, die kennis van die interaksie tussen gewasse en tussen gewasse en natuurlike plantsoorte, die boomgrootte van boomsoorte wat gebruik word, die toekomstige gebruik van ‘n huidige grondgebruik, die beraamde grondgebruik vir eie gebruik en vir toegang tot die markte.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/1290
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