From local sustainability to global carbon sequestration #
NADA currently works with 20 villages; 10 villages acting as ‘controls’ (to enable robust evaluation of interventions) and 10 villages actively engaging in actions beyond data collection. 4 of the 10 villages NADA works closely with have begun the process of autonomous wildlife management. With individuals and entire communities acting as integral members of the NADA team, this innovative approach is successfully seeing rural communities setting their own environmental agendas and defining their own visions of sustainability. Some inspiring results include:
- Villages creating a suite of hunting rules and sanctions, including electing management bureaus and holding regular community-wide meetings.
- Each village determining its own specific rules including conservation reserves where hunted is banned; spatial rotation of hunting with open and closed areas changing over time; limits on the numbers of animals hunted and frequency of hunts; banning outsiders from hunting.
- Villages reinforcing their rules with community patrols, and conduct outreach and collaboration with neighboring villages, local authorities, and logging companies.
- The village that hunted the most at the beginning of the data collection created the most in-depth management system, a suite of nine rules, and reduced their hunting more than any other, by almost 50% – around 750 animals a year.
Community wildlife management on this scale is a novel initiative nationally in Gabon, in line with the country’s global leadership for a sustainable planet. NADA is working increasingly closely with Gabonese decision-makers, and through this collaboration is seeing an increase in community participation in national environmental frameworks.
Conserving thousands of animals like this represent not just a win for biodiversity but is vital for a healthy ecosystem both locally and globally. For example, many large tree species rely on hunted mammals to disperse their seeds, and conserving these animals enables the forest to regenerate over time and continue to sequester enormous amounts of carbon, fighting climate change.
Further, as the world increasingly recognizes the ethical and pragmatic importance of indigenous and local peoples stewardship of earth, NADA’s interventions from the local to the global provide tangible ripple effects for other initiatives to learn and grow from, just as NADA has from them.
As always, NADA conducts research with the aim of informing, facilitating and achieving truly just and transformative conservation. As we continue to deepen our work with all villages and beyond, we invite you to read more scientific detail, explore data yourself, or join us on our journey.