This project was conducted between 2013 and 2017 while I was a research fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the Ohio State University, USA. I worked with Prof. Mark Moritz as a mentor, as part of an international and interdisciplinary team funded by the US National Science Foundation studying the nonlinear dynamics of coupled human and natural systems in the Logone Floodplain in Cameroon.

The Logone floodplain is in the narrow Far-North region of Cameroon, between the Nigerian and Chadian borders. It is home to hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods are closely connected with the rhythms of the river: mobile pastoralists, fishers, and farmers.

Our team included social scientists, earth scientists, ecologists, computer scientists, local fishermen and rural development specialists across the Universities of Maroua, Cameroon and Ohio State, USA, and two local NGOS – the Cameroonian Association for Environmental Education (ACEEN) and the Center for Research and Development of Pastoralism (CARPA – photo below shows S. Laborde with CARPA field collaborators). The project examined the dynamics of the Logone floodplain fishery system in Cameroon, and changes in local livelihoods in relation to the changing hydrology of the floodplain, using a combination of field research, remote sensing analysis, and numerical modeling.

We produced films, models and a series of articles from this research, showing the productivity of the social-ecological system across multiple sectors of the economy and the consequences of the interplay of these natural movements of water and people (as shown below), and top-down water planning. You can find these articles on my Google Scholar page.

This work was carried out under a significant constraint, as our field site became inaccessible to foreigners early in 2014 due to the terrorist activity of the sect Boko Haram (below is the evolution of the “red/no-go” zone as communicated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs). We adapted the large interdisciplinary project so that it could continue in this context.

The project finished in 2017 with the sharing of research results with traditional authorities (Kotoko and Musgum) and state floodplain users and managers. The data and results are still being used by NGO collaborators.