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Ivindo Interactive Map
Ivindo Interactive Map
Login to view georeferenced community data Mekob Epassendjč Mbolo3 Loa Loa Ivindo mapping teams Mapping forest destruction Sand collection, the Ivindo River video Cultural Activities, Ivindo video Mbolo 3 community elders video Forest Products, Ivindo Kongou Falls video Kongou Falls The Ivindo river Deforestation in the Ivindo National Park

Covering an area of 300,274 hectares, Ivindo National Park straddles the equator and the border between Ogooue-Ivindo and Ogooue-Lolo Provinces just south-west of the town of Makokou. The Park is rich in biodiversity and home to the most spectacular waterfalls in the equatorial forests of Africa - the Kongou and Mingouli Falls. Despite its protected area status, the Park has faced a number of threats in recent years, including the proposed construction of a hydroelectric dam at Koungou Falls to supply power to the Belinga mine some 100 km north up the Ivindo River. If the dam had been fully constructed, it would have flooded large areas of forest, risking the displacement of local communities and opening up the park to increased poaching and illegal logging.

Despite the successful campaign to halt the construction of the dam, local Bakota and other fishing communities have had much less success in maintaining their traditional livelihood activities in the area. Families that spend up to three months in forest camps during the dry season to fish and gather forest products say that they have been banned from selling their fish and accessing their camps beyond a certain limit in the Park. Of these camps, perhaps the most important lie in the vicinity of the Kongou Falls - an area plentiful in fish, and the ancestral home of certain local clans. According to local beliefs, this is the dwelling place of the spirit Assayoko, "one who commands spirits". Despite the importance of the Falls for local people, only tourists are currently permitted to visit the site.

Local communities say that the space left for them around Makokou is insufficient to carry out their livelihood activities, forcing them to use other stretches of the Ivindo River where they do not have traditional rights. This is creating conflicts with other groups. Moreover, they say that they were not fully consulted when the Park was created in 2002 and have since enjoyed little benefits through either employment or through the provision of alternative income generating activities.

 

Based on participatory research carried out by local partners in 2008, local communities identified access to land as one of their main priorities in problem-ranking exercises. Based on this research, Brainforest has begun a participatory mapping programme with four local villages; Mekob, Mbolo 3, Loa Loa, and Epassendjè, the latter three of which are located around the provincial capital of Makokou and have an historical attachment to the area around the Ivindo National Park.

The aim of the programme is to support these three communities to map their traditional lands and resources in order to facilitate dialogue with local authorities, including the manager of the National Park, concerning their access to the area. Community elders and other resource people are using mapping with the aim of developing land management protocols as well as securing other customary rights in the management plan for the park which is under development. Upstream, the community of Mekob is mapping its resource use in areas that have been allocated as logging concessions and towards the eastern end of Minkebé National Park.

 

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