Rural local institutions and climate change adaptation in forest communities in Cameroon
Surveys and interviews were used to understand community resilience in forest-dependent communities facing climate change in Cameroon. Surveys of 232 individuals showed a diversity of formal and informal institutions that relate to most aspects of rural life. Although direct activities related to climate change adaptation were limited, the activities and density of membership in rural local institutions could increase the community’s adaptive capacity. Twenty-six semistructured interviews were also conducted with representatives of diverse local institutions who had some responsibility for agriculture, forests, conservation, or development. Local governmental institutions had not received any information from the national level and were limited in their knowledge of how to help communities respond to climate change. Although limited in their direct action on climate change, local nongovernmental organizations and international institutions act as bridging institutions with rural communities and could facilitate sharing of knowledge and innovation, thereby fostering resilience. Planning for climate change adaptation in Cameroon needs to build the capacity of diverse local institutions and improve the relationships between local and national-level adaptation planning.