WCS Congo

Nouabale-Ndoki Buffer Zone

The Project for Ecosystem Management in the Nouabalé-Ndoki Periphery Area, or PROGEPP, also called the Buffer Zone project, is a partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Government of Congo, the logging company, Congolaise Industrielle du Bois (CIB), and local communities.Initiated to protect the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park from increased demographic and hunting pressures associated with logging, the project enforces Congo hunting laws that protect endangered species. Unlike conversation of most protected areas, PROGEPP’s goal is not to reduce hunting to zero.  Rather, the idea is to establish management systems that assure sustainable harvest of legally hunted species so that indigenous people have access to wild meat now and in the future.

 

Conservation Challenges

There are five principal settlements in the concessions adjacent to the Nouabalé Ndoki National Park.Pokola, once a sleepy village of 400 people along the Sangha river, is the base of logging operations for CIB and houses several sawmills. Over the past five years its population has doubled to over 13,000 people. The industrial logging site at Kabo was founded almost 30 years ago by the logging company Societé Bois Sangha and is also the site of two sawmills. Ndoki I, Ndoki II, and Loundoungou are all advanced forest camps for exploitation teams.The population density in the northern region of the Congo is relatively low, with less than 0.7 people per square kilometer. However, many of the inhabitants living in the major settlements are immigrants from other parts of Congo and neighboring countries, who have come to the region to profit from the employment opportunities and service industries created by the logging company. These immigrants have a great deal of spending power relative to the rest of the country, and so form a lucrative market for the commercial bushmeat trade.

 

Conservation Approach

The Project for Ecosystem Management in the Nouabalé-Ndoki Periphery Area, or PROGEPP, also called the Buffer Zone project, is a partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Government of Congo, the logging company, Congolaise Industrielle du Bois (CIB), and local communities.Initiated to protect the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park from increased demographic and hunting pressures associated with logging, the project enforces Congo hunting laws that protect endangered species. Unlike conversation of most protected areas, PROGEPP’s goal is not to reduce hunting to zero.  Rather, the idea is to establish management systems that assure sustainable harvest of legally hunted species so that indigenous people have access to wild meat now and in the future.

PROGEPP has adopted a four-pronged strategy to protect biodiversity and manage wildlife in logging concessions.  First, we collaborate with the government of Congo to enforce existing Congo wildlife laws, with the goal of protecting biodiversity and endangered species and keeping hunting at sustainable levels.  Second, we work with communities to help them manage their own wildlife resources and to arm them with information about ecology and conservation.  Third, we experiment with alternative activities to hunting to provide protein sources and alternative sources of income to local people.  Fourth, we monitor the effects of logging on wildlife populations and biodiversity.This is accomplished through the use of research methods to quantify bushmeat availability and consumption, wildlife populations, biodiversity, and ecological processes critical to forest regeneration.  Monitoring results guide management decisions and aid in the formation of regional and national policy.

 

Activities

In early 1998 WCS proposed a plan to the Ministry of Forestry Economy and the Environment (MEFE) that would create a buffer zone around the park. The plan was rejected by the Government in favor of the development of a project that would co-manage the forestry concessions surrounding the park for wildlife.

While details of a formal agreement linking the project partners were being negotiated, WCS initiated pilot activities in the Kabo and northern Pokola concessions from 1998 to 1999. On June 2, 1999, MEFE, WCS and CIB signed an agreement launching the project in the Kabo, Pokola, Toukoulaka, andLoundougou forestry concessions. By so doing, wildlife management was essentially extended over 1,300,000 ha. of tropical lowland forest.

 

Threats

There are five principal settlements in the concessions adjacent to the Nouabalé Ndoki National Park.

Pokola, once a sleepy village of 400 people along the Sangha river, is the base of logging operations for CIB and houses several sawmills. Over the past five years its population has doubled to over 13,000 people. The industrial logging site at Kabo was founded almost 30 years ago by the logging company Societé Bois Sangha and is also the site of two sawmills. Ndoki I, Ndoki II, and Loundoungou are all advanced forest camps for exploitation teams.

The population density in the northern region of the Congo is relatively low, with less than 0.7 people per square kilometer. However, many of the inhabitants living in the major settlements are immigrants from other parts of Congo and neighboring countries, who have come to the region to profit from the employment opportunities and service industries created by the logging company. These immigrants have a great deal of spending power relative to the rest of the country, and so form a lucrative market for the commercial bushmeat trade

 

Accomplishments

Between 2000 and 2005 a series of large mammal surveys, bushmeat and similar studies established baseline information on large mammal abundance, human population trends, and levels of bushmeat offtake for the Kabo, Pokola, Loundoungou, and Toukoulaka concessions.

This information contributed to the development of logging company and community management policies to protect large mammal populations and that habitat on which they depend. These data will also be critical to the writing of management plans for each of the concessions.

Studies on the impact of logging activities on large mammal abundance and distribution are underway in the buffer zones, and specific ecological studies of bongo, elephant, gorilla and chimpanzee were conducted across the entire Ndoki-Likouala landscape. Resultant information has shown that there a significant populations of large mammals using the forestry concessions, particularly forest elephants, bongo and western gorillas.

 

 

Contact

WCS Congo Program
B.P. 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
+(242) 05 722 7411

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