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Preliminary Reflections on Water Vulnerability Stemming from Anthropogenic Activities and Climate Change in the Forested Province of Tshopo, Democratic Republic of Congo

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In Tshopo, a forested province in the north-eastern part of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), the regulation of water availability and quality is crucial for sustaining livelihoods and protecting communities from natural hazards. These ecosystem services are crucial for reducing water vulnerability and providing sufficient water for domestic use in places where the government’s capacity to manage water resources is insufficient. However, the forests of Tshopo are threatened by climate change and various anthropogenic activities. Its rural landscape is dominated by forests that are undergoing several transformations, exposing water bodies to contamination. Hence, water is one of the key resources vulnerable to climate change in the Tshopo Province. As few studies have focused on the understanding of water availability at the sub-national level in the DRC, in this work, we aim to review the current water situation and its relation to climate change and forest degradation in the Tshopo province. Our analysis shows the necessity to develop well-defined strategic plans that consider contextual specificities and to find a trade-off between forest and water management strategies to respond to water-vulnerability risks in the region.

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