Next Article in Journal
Long-Term Monitoring of Protected Cultural Heritage Environments in Norway: Development of Methods and First-Time Application
Previous Article in Journal
The Geographic Spread and Preferences of Tourists Revealed by User-Generated Information on Jeju Island, South Korea
Previous Article in Special Issue
Differentiations in Women’s Land Tenure Experiences: Implications for Women’s Land Access and Tenure Security in Sub-Saharan Africa
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Can Traditional Authority Improve the Governance of Forestland and Sustainability? Case Study from the Congo (DRC)

1
Department of Political Science, State’s University of Mbujimayi, 225 Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
2
Department of Sociology, University of Kisangani, R406 Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo
3
Department Political Science, University of Kisangani, R406 Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo
4
CIRAD, Département Environnements et Sociétés CIRAD, Campus International de Baillarguet, 34398 Montpellier CEDEX 5, France
5
Department Forest and Nature Conservation Policy, University of Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Land Use and Social Issues)
  |  
PDF [849 KB, uploaded 26 April 2019]
  |  

Abstract

With about 107 million hectares of moist forest, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a perfect paradox of a natural resources endowed country caught in repeated economic and socio-political crises. Democratic Republic of Congo possesses about 60% of the Congo basin’s forest on which the majority of its people rely for their survival. Even if the national forest land in the countryside is mainly exploited by local populations based on customary rights, they usually do not have land titles due to the fact that the state claims an exclusive ownership of all forest lands in the Congo basin including in DRC. The tragedy of “bad governance” of natural resources is often highlighted in the literature as one of the major drivers of poverty and conflicts in DRC. In the forest domain, several studies have demonstrated that state bureaucracies cannot convincingly improve the governance of forestland because of cronyism, institutional weaknesses, corruption and other vested interests that govern forest and land tenure systems in the country. There are however very few rigorous studies on the role of traditional leaders or chiefdoms in the governance of forests and land issues in the Congo basin. This research aimed at addressing this lack of knowledge by providing empirical evidence through the case study of Yawalo village, located around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From a methodological perspective, it used a mixed approach combining both qualitative (field observations, participatory mapping, interviews, focal group discussions, and desk research,) and quantitative (remote sensing and statistics) methods. The main findings of our research reveal that: (i) vested interests of traditional rulers in the DRC countryside are not always compatible with a sustainable management of forestland; and (ii) influential users of forestland resources at the local level take advantage of traditional leaders’ weaknesses—lack of autonomy and coercive means, erratic recognition of customary rights, and poor legitimacy—to impose illegal hunting and uncontrolled forest exploitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: forestland policy; Democratic Republic of Congo; local governance; land politics; Sustainability; Yangambi Biosphere Reserve forestland policy; Democratic Republic of Congo; local governance; land politics; Sustainability; Yangambi Biosphere Reserve
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Majambu, E.; Mampeta Wabasa, S.; Welepele Elatre, C.; Boutinot, L.; Ongolo, S. Can Traditional Authority Improve the Governance of Forestland and Sustainability? Case Study from the Congo (DRC). Land 2019, 8, 74.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Land EISSN 2073-445X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top