Impacts of climate change and conservation: a study with participative photography at Parque Nacional de Cantanhez, Guinea-Bissau

Project title
Impacts of climate change and conservation: a study with participative photography at Parque Nacional de Cantanhez, Guinea-Bissau

Project reference

Start and end of project
01/07/2013 to 31/12/2014

Chief Investigator
Joana Roque de Pinho

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

Research team

Researcher Name
Institutional AFiliation
Joana Roque de Pinho CAPP/ISCSP/ULisboa
Catarina Casanova CAPP/ISCSP/ULisboa
Mara J. Goldman University of Colorado-Boulder
Liliana Barbosa Moreira CEAP/Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto
Tiago Cunha Ferreira Photographer
Renaud Furquand International Partnership for Human Development
Rodrigo Penna Firme Pedrosa Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro



Country  Partners
EUA University of Colorado – Boulder
Guiné Bissau

IBAP – Instituto da Biodiversidade e Áreas Protegidas (Guiné-Bissau)

Brasil Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro - Gávea
Portugal CEAP - Centro de Estudos Africanos do Porto



Work by Albat Iala, in Cafal, Cantanhez National Park, Guinea-Bissau, April 2014.

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Human populations in coastal areas in some parts of West Africa are among the most vulnerable to climate change. There is an urgent need to investigate how impacts of climate change are experienced at the local level and how local communities are adapting to it. In this context, there have been calls for joint production of knowledge by scientists and local communities, and for research and development initiatives that empower communities and marginalized groups to make their voices and knowledge on climate change heard locally and globally. Focusing on Cantanhez National Park in Guinea-Bissau, this exploratory study will seek to answer the following questions. 1) How does climate change impact local farming communities? 2) What strategies do these communities use to deal with perceived climate change? 3) How do biodiversity conservation policies mitigate or exacerbate the impacts of climate change on local communities?

In response to calls for the inclusion of local knowledge in scientific research, we will investigate these three questions from the point of view of the people who depend directly on local natural resources inside the national park. This exploratory study will involve local communities in producing knowledge on climate change by combining a participatory action research method (i.e., Photovoice) and ethnographic research to examine local perceptions of impacts of climate change and adaptive strategies used by farming communities. After receiving training in photography, local farmers will be researchers in their own right, documenting through photography and narratives their lives with climatic and other environmental changes. The project will test the Photovoice method where it has not been used and produce data on climate change in a country with few studies on the subject. Above all, we hope that our approach will result in knowledge that advances the state of the art in the field of adaptation to global environmental change, while giving a voice to a marginalized group: the farmers who live inside Cantanhez national park. We will also hold photo exhibits combined with the photographers' narratives to raise public awareness of the climate challenges faced by communities that depend directly on natural resources.

The project’s local researchers and photographers are Umo Cassamá. Mussa Cassamá, Haruna Cassamá, Manuel Tchuda, Pedro Nancussa, Roberta M’boto Nankabi, Satan Ture, Zeca Dju, Joana Natumna, Banna Seidi, Mussa Conte, Sene Bangura, Mariama Nabrimpande, Sene Cassamá, Lissa Ture, Luis Paulo Cabral, Jóia Gastão,Binto Ture, Paulo Nanfuta, Seco Camará, Umaro Finhane Nanao, Mariama Cassamá, Manuel Camará, Bébé Naman, Bulutna Nancussa, e Albat Iala. Together, they created the association Fotógrafos de Cabambol.