Cultural ecosystem services provision in response to urbanization in Cameroon

In Africa, cities are unable to accommodate population growth within their current administrative limits, putting pressure on ecosystem services (ES) in peripheral areas. Existing ES related studies in the region were conducted in East and South Africa, and rarely focused on cultural ES in peri-urban areas. This study aimed to assess changes in the value of cultural ES in two peripheral areas of Yaoundé, Cameroun. It applied the concept of ES through participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) to understand how the value of cultural ES has changed over time and how residents perceive it. It also considered the impact of land management by relating changes in ecosystem service provisioning areas (SPA), with the current land tenure system. We focused on two study areas, Mbalngong and Nkozoa, which were selected for their high urbanization rates. PGIS activities were conducted during twenty semi-directive interviews and one workshop per site. We found that the provision of ES decreased by more than 90% within an 18-year period, from 2000 to 2018. The lack of randomness in the distribution of ecosystem services showed that SPA had distinct functions for residents, but that this was not taken into consideration in planning decisions. We showed that current land management strategies are influenced by the land tenure system and do not incite landowners to preserve their parcels and associated SPA. While direct subsidies may not be appropriate, other approaches such as community land trusts may be more advisable for the preservation of SPA.

Published in:
Land Use Policy, 79, 641-649

 Record created 2018-05-23, last modified 2018-12-03

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