Strategies for Combating the Drivers of Deforestation

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According to Burns and Grove (2005), “the research design is the supporting structure of a study.” However, Mouton (2001) explains that “the research design focuses on the product: what kind of study is being planned and what kind of results are aimed at?” Mouton (2001) makes a distinction between research design and research methodology, showing that the latter focuses on the research process and the kind of tools and procedures to be used.

Type of Study

The present study is empirical in character. Mouton (2001) asserts that, “empirical studies use primary data such as surveys, experiments, case studies, programme evaluation, and ethnographic studies”. This research has relied on focus groups and interviews to get primary data. It is also considered as a double case study because investigates two contexts – the DRC and RSA. Creswell (1998) also affirms that “a case study is an exploration of a bounded system or a case (or multiple cases), over time through detailed, in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context.”
Furthermore, this study is also descriptive, evaluative, cross-sectional, and comparative, and uses a qualitative approach. It is evaluative because it has assessed the climate change mitigation strategies in the DRC and the RSA in the forestry and energy sectors, and comparative because it has helped to compare the climate change mitigation strategies employed by both the DRC and the RSA. According to Creswell (1998), “a qualitative study is used because of the need to present a detailed view of the topic.” With regard to the current research, a detailed description of issues relating to climate change mitigation strategies both in the DRC and in the RSA using primary data from multiple sources of information is presented. The study is also cross-sectional because data is collected only once in a given timeframe and not for a long period.

Delimitation of Research Area

The present study was conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The DRC is chosen in this research because it has the second largest forest in the world and has much potential for energy production. However, the energy production can also emit GHG from deforestation and forest degradation. On the other hand, the RSA is chosen because it is advanced fast developing country in Africa and is characterised by pollution from its energy sector. It also has a low forest cover which might not fully help in carbon sequestration.

Study and Target Populations

The study population is composed of the population of the SADC while the target population entails the DRC and the RSA populations.


The present research has used a non-probability sample, mainly, the purposive sample. According to Lavrakas (2008), “a purposive sample, also referred to as a judgmental or expert sample, is a type of non-probability sample.” Mack et al. (2005) add that, A purposive sampling is one of the most common sampling strategies, group participants according to preselected criteria relevant to a particular research question. Sample sizes, which may or may not be fixed prior to data collection, depend on the resources and time available, as well as the study’s objectives. Purposive sample sizes are often determined on the basis of theoretical saturation (the point in data collection when new data no longer bring additional insights to the research questions). Purposive sampling is, therefore, most successful when data review and analysis are done in conjunction with data collection.
In this study, the choice of the sample is based on a certain number of criteria which include:
– Being a member of institutions or organisations involved in climate change mitigation activities or environmental protection;
– Being a member of local or forest dwellers communities; and
– Being a member environmental civil society’s organisations.
As mentioned above, a non-probability sample can be defined as a sample in which all the people in the target population do not have the same chance of being selected as respondents. All participants in interviews and focus groups discussions were selected according to the criteria aforementioned.
Regarding the in-depth interviews and focus group discussions conducted in the DRC, the sample was composed by key informants from institutions involved in the field of environment protection. One individual was selected for interview from each of the following institutions: Gorilla Organisation, Réseau CREF (CREF Network), CERD (Centre for Renewable Energy and Development), North Kivu Provincial Department of Energy, NSK (NOVACEL Pilot REDD+ Project on Agro-forestry in South Kwamouth, and Geographically Integrated REDD+ pilot project around the Luki Biosphere. Other institutions include the FAO’s national office, national office of the WWF, the National REDD Directorate, GTCR (REDD Climate Working Group) of the national office of the civil society, Equatorial REDD+ pilot project, OCEAN Geographically Integrated REDD+ pilot project in Isangi, and the WCS Mambasa Forestry REDD+ pilot project, Mambasa Commission of Agriculture, and Eastern Province Directorate of Environment. The others are ICCN Eastern Province, Eastern Province Department of Energy, the YME Great Lakes Beni, Research Centre for Environmental Planning, WCS North Kivu, WWF South Kivu, Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), ICCN South Kivu, South Kivu Provincial Directorate of Environment and Sustainable Development, FFN (National Forestry Fund) North Kivu, WWF North Kivu, and North Kivu Ministry of Environment. The remaining participant institutions are UGADEC Goma (Association of Unions for Gorilla Conservation and Community Development in the Eastern DRC), North Kivu Provincial Directorate of Environment, South Kivu Provincial Department of Energy, UNDP National Office, National Ministry of Energy, National Ministry of Environment and ICCN North Kivu. This means a total of 33 target persons participated after using the snowballing sampling. Each institution selected a representative in the research.
Four focus group discussions were organised with:
– Beneficiaries of the Mambasa Forestry Pilot REDD+ project;
– Beneficiaries of the Isangi REDD+ Pilot project;
– Beneficiaries of the Luki REDD+ Pilot project and
– Beneficiaries of the Eco-Makala REDD+ pilot project.
Given that this study is comparative, similar interviews were organised in South Africa. One person (or a maximum two individuals) was selected for interview from the following institutions: SunFire Solutions Company, the Department of Environmental Affairs (national office), Earth Life Africa, Food and Trees for Africa, the Department of Energy (national office), Energy Research Centre (University of Cape Town), Department of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries (national office), Cirrus Group South Africa, WWF South Africa Gauteng office, WWF South Africa Cape Town office and the Federation for a Sustainable Development. This makes the total number of participants 11 target persons in the RSA using the snowballing sampling.
This list of participants suggested at the beginning of the research was not exhaustive. The study combined the purposive sampling with the snowballing sampling in order to get sufficient information on climate change mitigation strategies in the forestry and energy sectors of the DRC and the RSA. On snowballing, Mack et al. (2005) note that,
A third type of sampling, snow-balling – also known as chain referral sampling – is considered as a type of purposive sampling. In this method, participants or key informants with whom the contact has already been made use their social networks to refer the researcher to other people who could potentially participate in or contribute to the study. Snow-balling sampling is often used to find and recruit hidden populations, that is, groups not easily accessible to researchers through other sampling strategies.
The strategy of using snowballing has helped the study to receive more information about issues related to climate change mitigation strategies in the forestry and energy sectors of the DRC and RSA. During the interviews, the pre-selected participants directed the researcher to other people who could provide information about issues relating to climate change mitigation actions in the DRC and the RSA.

Data Collection Techniques and Research Tools

Prior to data collection, the researcher received an ethical clearance from the Department of Environmental Sciences and ensured that the logistics of interview were in place. The recording equipment and the venue of the interviews were also prepared. In focus group discussions, notebooks and recording equipment were set up before the meetings, and the meeting venue was prepared beforehand to enable participants sit comfortably and in a satisfactory manner.
Different instruments were used to collect data during in-depth and focus groups interviews. The interview guide with open-ended questions was used during interviews with different key informants from the abovementioned institutions and organisations, and focus group discussions were organised with civil society members/ local communities/indigenous people who are beneficiaries of different REDD+ pilot projects. The suitable instrument for collecting data in focus group discussions was the focus group guide with open-ended questions. The interview is the data collection technique which was used to acquire data from the respondents.
According to Mack et al. (2005),
In-depth interviews are useful for learning about the perspectives of individuals, as opposed to, for example, group norms of a community, for which focus groups are more appropriate. They are an effective qualitative method for getting people to talk about their personal feelings, opinions, and experiences.
During the data collection, the research participants described their own experiences and shared their own views about climate change mitigation strategies in the forestry and energy sectors. Data collection was carried out first in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and then in the Republic of South Africa.

Data Analysis

The views of key informants were summarised in tables based on similar views and differences. Regarding focus groups, information from participants was summarised in tables and similarities and differences were highlighted. The results from the DRC were then compared with those from the Republic of South Africa. Bernard (1995) notes that, “in judgment sampling, it is not even necessary to decide up front what kinds of units of analysis to study.” Nevertheless, the present research being a double case study, probes the unit of analysis which is composed of climate change mitigation activities and programmes which are implemented in the forestry and energy sectors of the DRC and the RSA. Data collected were described, and a thematic analysis was done of this qualitative study. A manual method was used during the analysis, which means that the analysis was not computerised. The thematic analysis helps to identify the similarities and especially the differences between the elements in a comparative study. During the analysis, data were coded manually and grouped into categories or objectives. In addition, the thematic analysis was used to develop categories into themes which were considered as climate change mitigation strategies in the forestry and energy sectors. However, the strengths and weaknesses of these mitigation strategies were also obtained from these themes.

Data Quality

The researcher did not explain the purpose of the study and research tools to the participants before the inception of the focus group. The reason for this is that respondents could influence one another, and data collected could be biased due to lack of objectivity.
If the record equipment broke down or participants refused to have their statements recorded, the researcher made a quick analysis of such data immediately after the focus group or interview so that he would not forget and would be able to reproduce all responses provided by the participants. If this was not done, the quality of data could be affected negatively.
Regarding reliability and validity, both concepts are more used in quantitative research but the present research is qualitative. It seems that when quantitative researchers speak of research validity and reliability, they usually refer to a research that is credible but the credibility of a qualitative research on the other hand depends on the ability and effort of the researcher (Golafshani, 2003). Although reliability and validity are treated separately in quantitative studies, these terms are not viewed separately in qualitative research. Instead, terminologies that encompass both, such as credibility, transferability, and trustworthiness are used.
Consequently, the present research, being qualitative, did not measure the reliability and validity as in quantitative research. The researcher focused rather on the quality of the research. Eisner (1991) indicates that although the term “reliability” is used for testing or evaluating quantitative research, the idea is most often used in all kinds of research. Thus, the most important test of any qualitative study is its quality. Stenbacka (2001) also shows that “this relates to the concept of a good quality research when reliability is a concept to evaluate quality in quantitative study with a purpose of explaining while quality concept in qualitative study has the purpose of generating understanding”. Stenbacka’s explanation is in line with the purpose of the present research which is to gain a deeper understanding of the climate change mitigation strategies in the forestry and energy sectors in the SADC with specific reference to DRC and RSA. Thus, reliability and validity are not relevant concepts to this qualitative research. It is the quality of the research which was guaranteed.

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Ethical Considerations

In terms of ethical issues, the informed consent of participation in the research and information about the purpose of the research, confidentiality, and the right to withdraw were taken into account during interviews and focus group discussions. Confidentiality means that the researcher could not divulge views expressed by participants in the course of the data collection, and participants also had to ensure that would not disclose the content of the discussions or the identity of fellow respondents to those outside the group.
Moreover, the researcher did not disclose the views of a participant to fellow participants, and participants were urged to discontinue any discussion or exchange of ideas about the topic after the end of the focus group meetings. Names of participants did not also appear on the interview and focus group guides or in the final report, except for the demographic information. Participants had the right to withdraw from or participate in the research process at any point in the process. The principle was that if one of the participants wished to withdraw, the researcher should not become upset but thank him/her and pay for his/her transport costs if necessary, that is, as compensation and not as a payment.
During the data collection process, the researcher began by asking whether participants agreed that the information provided be recorded. Before the interviews and focus groups began, the participants were also made to understand that there would be no benefits for answering questions. The informed consent of participation in the research was confirmed by the ethical clearance issued in advance by the department, that is, in accordance with the recommendation by Mack et al. (2005) that,
In general, data collection activities that require more than casual interaction with a person require individual informed consent from that person, regardless of whether community-level permissions exist. Examples of such activities include in-depth interviews and focus groups. During interviews and focus groups, participants should be told:
• The purpose of the research;
• What is expected of a research participant, including the amount of time likely to be required for participation;
• Expected risks and benefits, including psychological and social;
• The fact that participation is voluntary and that one can withdraw at any time with no negative repercussions;
• How confidentiality will be protected;
• The name and contact information of the local lead investigator to be contacted for questions or problems related to the research; and
• The name and contact information of an appropriate person to contact with questions about one’s rights as a research participant (usually the chair of the local ethics committee overseeing the research).
All the aforementioned elements were respected during the research process especially during interviews and focus group discussions.

Research limitations and constraints

Research limitations are the problems the researcher could encounter during the research process, especially during data collection, which might affect the quality of the collected data. There are no noticeable limitations in the present research except that the Conservation International in the DRC did not respond to our request for interview. The use of the snowballing sampling helped us to overcome this limitation as more respondents from other organisations which work in partnership with the Conservation International were contacted.
Research difficulties are a series of problems which could crop up during the research process but which do not affect the quality of data collected. The main difficulty was the large size of the research area and the complexity of mitigation strategies in the forestry and energy sectors of both the DRC and the RSA. The data collection was prolonged because the researcher had to travel to different provinces both in the DRC and in the RSA. In addition, a number of the institutions especially in the DRC did not respond to the request for interviews sent to them, and there was delay in getting feedback which was required by the ethical committee of the department from some of them. Some institutions and respondents insisted that there was no need for them to write a letter of consent because they had already accepted to participate in the research. They insisted that verbal consent was adequate whereas the ethical committee by principle requires written consent. The insecurity in the eastern part of the DRC especially in terms of the killings around the town of Beni and the presence of armed groups discouraged visits to a number of the protected areas.



The present chapter outlines the results of data obtained on climate change mitigation strategies in relation to the forestry and energy sectors in SADC region with emphasis on DRC and RSA as case studies. The results were obtained based on a guide of interview addressed to key informants in both countries and a focus group guide to members of the civil society involved in climate change mitigation activities in the forestry and energy sectors. It should be noted that focus groups were organised only in the DRC while in the RSA only key informants responded to questions. Due to the comparative nature of the study, this chapter is divided into three main sections containing:
a) The biographical information of respondents
b) The results of mitigation strategy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
c) The results of mitigation strategy from the Republic of South Africa
To come up with the findings, the researcher followed several steps in qualitative study which are:
The condensation of the raw and varied data, most of which are provided in a summary format;
Establishment of links between the research objectives and categories derived from raw data; and
Development of emerging themes or climate change mitigation activities related to each of the subsidiary objectives.

The Biographical Information of Respondents

This section presents the biographical information regarding the respondents and the organisation or institution that they represent.

Number of organisations and distribution of key informants per organisation in the DRC and the RSA

The total number of organisations from which the key respondents were drawn is 45, 34 of which are from the DRC and 11 from the RSA. Table 2 below shows the distribution of the key informants interviewed from the different organisations in the DRC and the RSA showing the main function of the organisation.
Overall, the interviews covered 45 government institutions, national organisations, projects and NGOs that adopt measures and activities supporting increase of forest cover by directly increasing afforestation or reducing deforestation and through increasing conservation, protection, development and sustainable management of the forestry resources (Table 2). Of this number, 34 are in DRC and 11 are in RSA (Table 3). All these functions contribute to climate change mitigation as indicated by Table 2 which shows the different institutions and organisations as well as their major functions and distribution in the DRC and the RSA. Although the activities of the organisations are in some cases pilot, they could enhance strategic development to support climate change mitigation at the national level. Above, Table 3 shows that 14 organisations in the DRC are involved with forestry including REDD+ and land use activities, while another 14 are involved with environment and environmental conservation, and six of them focus on energy.
Eleven organisations in the RSA are distributed across forestry and land use (3), environment (3),
and energy (5) as shown in Table 3. These organisations offer a strong foundation for climate
change mitigation strategies and support its implementation in the DRC and the RSA as indicated
by the various measures and activities by these organisations in Table 6. The existence and
functional activities of these organisations are compatible with the conceptual framework (section
2.7.1), the operational framework (section 2.7.2) and the operational definitions of terms (section
2.7.3) in this study. The forests in the DRC cover about 66% of the national territory and there are many state institutions and NGOs in the country which belong to the forestry sector and which handle several projects.
The DRC is a vast country which is divided into 26 provinces compared to its former 11 provinces. The character of the forestry and energy sectors in each province is different but about 66% of the national territory is covered by forests which means that the DRC has many projects and role players in the forestry sector, as shown by the many state institutions and NGOs that focus on the forestry sector in (Table 3) above. The number of respondents interviewed from the 34 organisations in the DRC and the 11 in RSA ranges from 1 to 3 (Table 2). This is because sometimes the available respondents from a particular organisation might not be able to respond to a question which requires the input of a specialist in the field. The peculiarity about South Africa is that it has a small natural forest and most of the data about the country’s forestry and energy sectors is controlled by the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries. Thus, the researcher was able to visit only 11 institutions.

Profile of key informants in the DRC and the RSA based on gender

As the Table above shows, the majority of participants in the research were male with a proportion of 83.9 % males to 16.1% women. This shows that women are not leaders or the experts in most of the institutions that handle environmental protection. This situation therefore calls for public awareness programmes among women to strengthen their roles and involve them in power sharing in environmental issues.

1.1 General Information
1.2 The Problem Statement
1.3 Research questions
1.4 Objectives
1.5 The Rationale/Justification for Research
1.6 Purpose of the Study
1.7 Definitions of Key Concepts
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Strategies for Combating the Drivers of Deforestation
2.3 Contributions of the National REDD Programmes and of other organisations to climate change mitigation
2.4 Roles of Civil Society/Local Communities/ Indigenous People in Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
2.5 Contributions of Energy Sources to Climate Change Mitigation
2.6 Application of Remote Sensing
2.7 Research Frameworks
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Type of Study
3.3 Delimitation of Research Area
3.4 Study and Target Populations
3.5 Sample
3.6 Data Collection Techniques and Research Tools
3.7 Data Analysis
3.8 Data Quality
3.9 Ethical Considerations
3.10 Research limitations and constraints
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The Biographical Information of Respondents
4.3 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in the DRC’s Forestry and Energy Sectors
4.4 National REDD+ programme and contributions of other organisations to climate change mitigation in the DRC
4.5 Roles of the civil society, local communities and indigenous people in climate change mitigation activities
4.6 Energy sources used in the DRC and potential energy envisaged by the government and other organisations in climate change mitigation
4.7 Application of remote sensing
4.8 Results from focus groups discussion in the DRC
4.9 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in the Forestry and Energy Sectors in the RSA
4.10 Contributions of the national REDD+ programme and other organisations to climate change
4.11 Involvement of the civil society, local communities and indigenous people in climate change mitigation strategies activities
4.12 Energy sources used in the RSA and potential energy seen by the government and other organisations
4.13 Application of remote sensing in the RSA
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Biographical Information of Respondents from Both South Africa and the DRC
5.3 Findings from the DRC
5.4 Findings from the RSA
5.5 Similarities and Differences between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Terms of Mitigation in the Forestry and Energy Sectors
5.6 Strengths and Weaknesses of Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in the DRC
5.7 Strengths and Weaknesses of Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in the RSA
5.8 Proposed Model for Sustainable Mitigation in the Forestry and Energy Sectors of the DRC and RSA
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Questions and objectives of the study: a recap
6.3 Summary of key findings
6.4 Conclusions
6.5 Recommendations
6.6 Recommendations for future studies

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