World Resources Institute
Sarah Gates
2017 Fellow

About the Project

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization devoted to sustainable management of natural resources. They are partners in the implementation of the Central Africa Forest Ecosystems Conservation (CAFEC) project that falls under USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment program. The goal of CAFEC is to improve sustainable forest management and wildlife conservation in eight forest landscapes. One of the landscapes is Lac Tele-Lac Tumba, located within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo. WRI was interested in assessing the success of conservation within this landscape.

To investigate conservation success in the region, Sarah utilized data on forest cover loss, fire occurrence, and observations of wildlife and human signs in Lac Tele-Lac Tumba. Sarah conducted emerging hot spot analyses of forest loss and fire to determine hot and cold spot trends across space and time. The analysis revealed large persistent hot spots of fire occurrence in southwestern Lac Tele-Lac Tumba and many hot spots of forest loss within the portion of Lac Tele-Lac Tumba that falls within the DRC.

Sarah performed kernel interpolations of observations of over thirty categories of human and wildlife signs that were collected along transects in the Lac Tele region during three time periods: 2006, 2010, and 2017. A comparison of the interpolated results over time indicates that patterns of observed human activity are changing, and hunting signs seem to be increasing in some regions while signs of forest removal are decreasing in the far western Lac Tele region.