Tap Into Indigenous Knowledge To Preserve Our Forests

By Sylvie Djacbou

A few years ago, I found myself in the Baka indigenous sacred forest in Assok, in Cameroon in the course of my work in supporting them to preserve their forest against land grabbers. We were building a forest hut using only leaves and the knowledge of our indigenous partners.

I was skeptical when we started. “What about rain,” I thought. But the leaves were placed in a way that the rain simply flowed down the sides. Inside was warm and dry.

Indigenous forest peoples are recognized as the first inhabitants of the forests around the world. For millennia Indigenous People have lived symbiotically with nature – gathering fruits and insects; hunting, and protecting the environment they rely upon.

In the Congo Basin, around 50 million Indigenous Peoples depend on forests yet they are the most vulnerable, the most marginalized and the poorest inhabitants of a region that stretches across some five countries including Cameroon, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This op-Ed was originally posted on IPS NEWS on July 6, 2022.