The Gamba Protected Areas Complex (GPAC) in Gabon is an Integrated Conservation and Development Project designed to conserve ecosystems in the Guinea-Congo Basin and promote sustainable natural resource development. This article presents a socioeconomic survey undertaken by members of the local community using PRA techniques. The objectives of this survey were to determine the boundaries of terroirs villageois (buffer zones within which sustainable use of natural resources would be permitted), gather qualitative and quantitative information on the life of rural communities living in this area and develop the rapport needed for participatory management. The article outlines some of the PRA tools used aswell as emphasising the need to allow time to build rapport and trust within communities. It highlights the importance of using both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the Gamaba Complex through two examples, firstly, geographic positioning and delimiting of terroirs villageois and secondly, measuring damage caused by elephants to food crops.
International Institute for Environment and Development