Links Between Resilience and Political Conflict in Northern Congo

Jocelyn Kelly , Harvard University
Taylor Burl, Tufts University
Michael VanRooyen, Harvard School of Public Health

The vast majority of wars fought in Africa occur in the continent's biodiversity hotspots. Yet the link between humans, political conflict and environmental conservation is poorly understood. This research aims to contribute to this understanding by assessing how exposure to conflict violence may be associated with harmful environmental behaviours, and how resilience, measured through a psychometric scale, may modify this relationship. This paper draws on a two-stage cluster randomized survey of 1,798 respondents in conflict-affected northern Congo. A stepwise multi-leveling model was used to examine the relationship between conflict exposure and the outcome of interest - hunting or farming in a protected environmental area. Exposure to war-related abuses is strongly associated with an individual's likelihood to engage in harmful environmental practices. Lower resilience scores were also associated with the outcome and did not modify the relationship between conflict and environmental degradation.

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 Presented in Session 144. Vulnerability and Resilience in “Hot Spots” of Acute and Chronic Environmental Change