Back
 GEP  Vol.8 No.2 , February 2020
Community Forest Management: A Strategy for Rehabilitation, Conservation and Livelihood Sustainability: The Case of Mount Oku, Cameroon
Abstract: Well-managed forests are major sources of livelihoods for the fringed communities. However, the remoteness, inaccessibility of most forested areas coupled with conflicts from adjacent forest communities, who often depend on it for livelihood is a daunting task in implementing conservation, viz-a-viz the Sustainable Development Goals. The Mt Oku forest is a unique, remote but represents novelty in forest management in remote areas in Cameroon, with devolution of management rights. The forest is well noted for its high level of endemism. This study is focused on the legal, institutional, socio-economic and regulatory framework put in place, for appropriate conservation and livelihood sustenance as forest management rights were devolved to the local community. A multidimensional framework guiding the development of testable hypothesis that assesses the relationship between the forest users’ activities and forest degradation, which have a multiplier effect on the SDGs, was used. The alternate livelihood options/strategies and benefits after the institution of the Forest Management Project (FMP) was examined in randomly selected frontline and secondary villages. Selected Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools and registers from FMIs aided relevant data collection. The results indicated a significant relationship (χ2 = 0.65.4, p = 0.00) between the activities of forest users and forest degradation. Adopted alternate livelihood strategies/options include, direct employment, tourist guides, bee farming, agricultural intensification, agroforestry, capacity building for skill acquisition, selective exploitation and sales of Prunus spp. Forest regeneration strategies ranged from, forest guards, removal of exotic species, forest enrichment, raising nurseries, fire tracing, etc. It is concluded that giving greater access and ownership of forest to the local community in the Mount Oku Region, led to transparency, accountability and social stability, which contributed tremendously both to the recovery and conservation of forest for improved livelihoods. However there is a dire need for the reinforcement of mechanisms for capacity building to improved livelihoods and conservation and the implementation of a system where stakeholders enjoy favorable conditions for information exchange and learning.
Cite this paper: Foncha, J. and Ewule, D. (2020) Community Forest Management: A Strategy for Rehabilitation, Conservation and Livelihood Sustainability: The Case of Mount Oku, Cameroon. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 8, 1-14. doi: 10.4236/gep.2020.82001.
References

[1]   Alden, L. W. (2003). Participatory Forest Management in Africa. An Overview of Progress and Issues. New York: Department for International Development.

[2]   Alden, W. L., & Mbaya, S. (2001). Land Peoples and Forests in Eastern and Southern Africa at the Beginning of the 21st Century: The Impact of Land Relations on the Role of Communities in Forest Management (pp. 1-313). Nairobi, Kenya: IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Africa.

[3]   Asanga, C. (2001). Facilitating Viable Partnership in Community Forest Management in Cameroon: The Case of the Kilum-Ijim Mountain Forest Area. In E. Wollenberg, D. Edmunds, L. Buck, J. Fox, & S. Brodt (Eds.), Social Learning in Community Forests. Rome: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

[4]   Asanga, C. (2002). Community Forest Management at the Kilum-Ijim Mountain Forest Region, Cameroon (p. 42). FAO Working Paper, Rome: Conservation and Sustainable Monument.

[5]   Bamberger, M. (1988). The Role of Community Participation in Development Planning and Project Management. Washington DC: World Bank.

[6]   Brown, D., Schreckenberg, K., Sheperd, G., & Wells, A. (2002). Forestry as an Entry Point for Governance Reform: Oversea Development Institute Forestry Briefing. London: Oversea Development Institute.

[7]   Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA) (2007). Participatory Forest Management, Component Document (pp. 1-20). Tanzania: Environment, Peace and Stability Facility (MIFRESTA), Environment Support Program (ESP).

[8]   Diamond, A. W., & Hamilton, A. C. (1980). The Distribution of Passerine Birds and Quaternary Climate Change in Tropical Africa (21 p.). London: Bird Life International.

[9]   Furon, R. (1963). Geology of Africa. Edinburg: Oliver and Boyd.

[10]   Gardner, A., De Marco, J., & Asanga, C. (2001). A Conservation Partnership: Community Forestry at Kilum-Ijim. Rome: Rural Development Forestry Network.

[11]   Headley, M. (2001). National Forest Management and Conservation Plan, Jamaica. Kingston: Department of Forestry.

[12]   Lamelas, P. (2000). Integrating Stakeholders in Participatory Natural Resource Management: Ecotourism Project of El Limon Waterfall. Dominican: Caribbean Natural Resource Institute.

[13]   Larson, A. M., Pachelo, P., Toni, F., & Vallejo, M. (2007). The Effect of Forestry Decentralization on Access to Livelihood Assets. Journal of Environment and Development, 16, 251-268. https://doi.org/10.1177/1070496507306220

[14]   Leeuwis, S. C. (2000). Reconceptualizing Participation for Sustainable Development: towards a Negotiation Approach. Development and Change, 31, 931-959.
https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-7660.00184

[15]   Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MINEF) (1994). Law No.94/01 of 20 January, to Lay Down Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Regulations. Yaoundé, Cameroon: Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

[16]   Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MINEF) (1998). Manual of Application of the Procedure for the Attribution and Norms of the Management of Community Forest, Cameroon. Yaoundé: Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

[17]   Mulugeta, L., & Melaku, B. (2008). Participatory Forest Management; Best Practices, Lesson Learned and challenges Encountered (pp. 4-35). The Ethiopian and Tanzanian Experiences. FARM-Africa/SOS-Sahel.

[18]   Neba, A. S. (1982). Modern Geography of the United Republic of Cameroon. New York: Hamilton Printing Company.

[19]   Nkwi, P. N., & Warner, J. P. (1982). Elements for a History of the Western Grass Fields.

[20]   Numbem, S. T. (1985). The Conservation of Oku Mountain Forest, Cameroon. Cambridge: International Council for Bird Preservation

[21]   Numbem, S. T., & Thomas, D. W. (1985). The Conservation of Oku Mountain Forest, Cameroon. Cambridge: International Council for Birds Preservation.

[22]   Paul, S. (1987). Community Participation in Development Projects: The World Bank Experience. Washington DC: Economic Development Institute.

[23]   Pulhin, J. M., & Makoto, I. (2008). Dynamics of Devolution Process in the Management of the Philippine Forests. International Journal of Social Forestry, 1, 1-26.

[24]   Sharpe, B. (1998). First the Forest: Conservation, Community and Participation in South-West Cameroon. Africa, 68, 20-45.
https://doi.org/10.2307/1161146

[25]   State of the Forest (SOF) (2006). The Forest of the Congo Basin. The Congo Basin Forest Partnership. Kinshasa: Community Based Forest Partnership.

[26]   Stuart, S. N. (1986). The Conservation of the Montane Forest of Western Cameroon. Yaoundé: International Council for Birds Preservation.

[27]   Sunderlin, W., Dewi, S., & Puntodewo, A. (2007). Poverty and Forests: Multi-Country Analysis of Spatial Association and Proposed Policy Solutions (44 p.). CIFOR Occasional Paper, No. 47, Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

[28]   Thomas, O., Gardner, A., & Demario, J. (2001). Devolution of Decision-Making: Lessons from Community Forest Management at Kilum-Ijim Forest Project, Cameroon. In R. Jeffery, & B. Vira (Eds.), Conflict and Cooperation in Participating Natural Resource Management. Guatemala: Global Issues Series.

[29]   Wunder, S. (2007). Poverty Alleviation and Tropical Forest: What Scope for Synergies? World Development, 29, 43-46.

 
 
Top