December 10, 2021, 17:00 – 19:00 (JST), Zoom Conference “Forests and Indigenous Peoples in Central Africa”

100th KUASS Kyoto University African Studies Seminar

Dr. Mitsuo ICHIKAWA (Emeritus Professor of ASAFAS)


Africa Contemporary forest peoples in central Africa seem to face similar problems concerning their culture and environment; destruction of the forests that have been accommodating their unique forest–based culture, influences of market economy and consumerism, and nature conservation movements that restrict their extractive activities in the protected areas.


In order to cope with these problems, it is important to understand their life and culture in local ecological settings, as well as in historical and wider economic and political contexts. I will show three approaches to the study on the relationships of central African forest peoples with the forest environment. The three approaches are (1) cultural ecology, which describes the way the forest people perceive, understand and utilize the forest environment, (2) historical ecology, which shows how they modify the forest through interacting with it, and (3) political ecology, which analyzes how the economic and political situation influences their relationship with the forest.


I will then examine the implications of these approaches for addressing the current problems faced by the central African forest peoples and their environment.


Based on the understanding of current situation of the central African forests and the peoples, we carried out overseas scientific cooperation project, called FOSAS, for 5 years from 2011 to 2016, in cooperation with the counterparts in Cameroon. I will report on some of the results from this project, and discuss about issues on the forests and indigenous people in the project area.


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