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Migration and Conservation in the Misotshi-Kabogo Ecosystem

Human migration is playing a significant role in driving land conversion and sustaining the overexploitation of key natural resources in the Misotshi–Kabogo ecosystem, to the detriment of conservation and traditional livelihoods.

The ecosystem is found in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in the lower portion of the Albertine Rift, one of the most species-rich regions of Africa. Misotshi–Kabogo does not yet have formal protection, but is of great importance to the survival of local species due to the fact that forests in the ecosystem’s altitude range are increasingly rare in the DRC. Migrants have begun to arrive in the region, drawn by perceptions of abundant arable land and the return of security. The corresponding increase in local population, and the migrants’ livelihood choices, threaten to have a significant impact on the ecosystem.

This report presents an assessment of the migration context in the Misotshi–Kabogo ecosystem, as well as suggested response strategies. IISD and the Wildlife Conservation Society conducted the research with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation. The research is part of the “Migration and Conservation in the Great Lakes Region” project, which attempts to address migration and conservation issues by: (a) developing a methodology to better understand the drivers and impacts of migration on critical natural resources, ecosystems and livelihoods in the Great Lakes region; (b) identifying effective responses for policy-makers and practitioners working on these issues; and (c) catalyzing further research and policy engagement on the topic in the region.