What future for primates? Conservation struggles in the forests of Cross River State, Nigeria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While deforestation and forest degradation have gained attention in recent years not least at the UN climate negotiations, a third “de”, i.e., defaunation, has to a great extent been overlooked. Human-induced faunal loss does not only reduce tree species diversity, but also significantly erodes key ecosystem services and functions and further disadvantages local communities. In this article, we analyze these impacts, and the associated multi-level governance gaps, through a case study of Nigeria’s Cross River State and make suggestions for more encompassing conservation approaches that take defaunation into account. To this end, we analyze the interplay between current forest governance and REDD+ in Cross River State and local hunting of forest fauna. Drawing on Ostrom’s social-ecological systems framework and a mixed-methods approach, we identify shortcomings and gaps of international and domestic forest governance, for instance, the ongoing expansion of agriculture in forest areas, a lack of collective action on forest fauna conservation at the local level, as well as conflicts amongst key actors at the sub-national level. Current REDD+ governance in Cross River State largely fails to address fauna loss and local hunting practices, but also affect allocation and access of environmental benefits and burdens for local people.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences


  • Forest biodiversity, Forest governance, Hunting, REDD+, Social-ecological systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1529
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number6
Early online date2019 Feb 25
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch