The Cacheu Mangroves
Natural Park (PNTC) was established in the year 2000 with the objective of protecting the coastal forests of Northern Guinea-Bissau, which have been subject to deforestation and are at risk. Concomitantly, the need to find sustainable financial revenues to support forest conservation motivated the development of projects that explore avoidance of deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) as a potential income possibility. The 886,150 ha of forest in the PNTC include a mosaic of different villages where communities with different cultural and socio-economic habits reside. In addition to the uncontrolled expansion of subsistence agriculture with the associated shortening of fallow periods, forests may have also been subject to degradation from selective logging, fuel wood collection, and charcoal production. To contribute to a forest degradation baseline forest uses for household fuel consumption (wood and charcoal) were surveyed using questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. The data were collected from a representative sample of circa 200 households within a 2 km buffer of the PNTC. These data are analyzed and the results are discussed according to a scenario of ethnic diversity, i.e.
, a diversity of approaches relating to forest conservation. Even though the results indicate that fuel wood is the main (and almost sole) source of energy for cooking, they also show that the average daily fuel consumption per capita (1.21 kg) is well below the sub-Saharan average and that fuel is obtained from downed dead wood or dead trees. Therefore, it is concluded that reported forest degradation in PNTC cannot be attributed to fuel wood consumption by local populations.
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