5. Temporal Reference

Submitted by Michael Rastall | published 9th Aug 2012 | last updated 17th Aug 2012

The time period considered for the current vulnerability analysis covers at least three decades. In several occasions, local perceptions were captured during focus group discussions or through interviews to explore changes over time from the 1970s to the present. Groups involved in the participatory exercises were generally mixed and included elderly people, making it possible to go back in time for at least two generations. This was important in order to understand multiple threats that may have affected the villages in the past, as well as processes of change in terms of coping mechanisms, social dynamics (e.g. formation of social networks and/ or institutions) and ecological dynamics (e.g. degradation or maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services).

Where possible, observed climate data were also used to complement the perception-based trend analysis. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, observed data series were not always complete. Two sets of data are used in the analysis: historical climate data from the Ouesso station located 250 Km south-east from Yokadouma in Ouesso, Sangha, Congo, and observed climate data from the Berberati station located 120 Km north-east of Yokadouma in Central African Republic. Both station records cover the period 1979 to 2000, while NCEP re-analysis data was used for the larger period 1979 to 2009. Ouesso station, located in a forested area similar to the project site, is the one that shows more similarity to the project site conditions in terms of climate patterns.

Looking at changes that occurred over the past decades help understand how the system has evolved to its current condition, and provides the basis for the formulation of possible future reference scenarios. Hence, this is a first step for the analysis of future vulnerability that will follow according to the COBAM project workplan.