Project insight 2019: Reconciling Protected Area Management and Local Development in Cameroon
According to Cameroon's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), the country is endowed with a rich biological diversity within diverse ecosystems that are largely representative of Africa's ecosystems, yielding Cameroon the reputation of being Africa in miniature. On the African continent, Cameroon ranks fourth in terms of floral richness and fifth in terms of faunal diversity, featuring a high degree of endemism.
The ecosystem, species and genetic diversity is of significant socio-economic, scientific and medicinal importance. It underpins the country's economy, substantially contributing to the wellbeing of its people. Despite setting aside about 11 % of the national terrestrial territory as Protected Areas (PA), the rich biodiversity is, however, seriously under threat. Major drivers of biodiversity loss are:
- land use conversions in the quest for agricultural / pastoral development by a rapidly growing population, recently exacerbated by the conversion of forests for industrial plantations (oil palm, rubber, coffee, cocoa and tea);
- unsustainable and often illegal (over-)exploitation of natural resources, notably of timber, certain Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP, e.g. Prunus africana), fuel wood and wildlife (bush meat);
- mineral exploitation in biodiversity-rich locations;
- climate change and climate variations.
Figure: Waterbuck (Kobus defassa)
The communities adjacent to the PAs often lack income opportunities and social infrastructures, such as access roads, drinking water supply, health care and education. They highly depend on the goods and services which they derive from the forests. Conservation measures may further constrain the livelihoods of the local population in the absence of transparent benefit-sharing schemes.
The Projects implemented with the support of DFS since 2006 aim at reconciling the conservation of high value ecosystems and endangered species with the socio-economic development of the local communities.
- Support to the creation in a participatory process of the Mount Cameroon NP (2008) and of the Takamanda NP (2009).
Figure: Entrance of the Mount Cameroon NP
- Elaboration and/or revision of management and/or business plans for the Mount Cameroon, Korup, Takamanda, Bouba Ndjidda and Bénoué NPs according to international standards, promoting / strengthening equitable co-management approaches.
- Improving the management of the Mount Cameroon, Korup and Takamanda NPs by capacitating the park management teams through trainings, equipment and infrastructure to attain an increased level of protection and law enforcement.
- Monitoring of wildlife and illegal activities by ensuring regular surveys and patrol monitoring using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).
- Support eco-tourism development and thereby income generation, mainly for Mt. Cameroon NP.
Figure: Eco lodges in Mount Cameroun NP
- Monitoring of PA management effectiveness using the Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool (IMET).
- Ensuring the integrity and ecosystem functioning of the PAs as a core zone in a wider landscape through an approach looking at the sustainable development of the peripheral zone, (i) mediating land use conflicts around the PAs, (ii) promoting participatory corridor managements, and/or (iii) supporting the creation and/or management of community forest, council forests and/or hunting zones around the PAs.
- Improving the communication and collaboration of the PAs and/or Hunting Zones with the local communities, municipalities, NGOs and forestry authorities.
Figure: Sustainable management of Prunus africana
- Improving the livelihood of local communities through socio-economic infrastructure development (drinking water supplies, farm-to-market roads, storage facilities, markets, etc.) and income generating projects:
- management of council and/or community forests, sustainable harvesting of Prunus africana, cocoa and/or cassava plantations, multi-purpose nurseries for the improvement of agro-forestry systems in the South West Region;
- development / improvements of NTFP value chains (e.g. shea butter, neem oil, cashew nuts, balanites, baobab, moabi, moringa, tamarind, etc.) using the "Value Links" approach in the Northern Region), taking into account (i) the certification potential, (ii) ethical bio-commerce and (iii) the concept of Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) arising from the utilization of genetic resources.
- Catalysing the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (TBR) nomination process around the Cross River NP in Nigeria and the Korup and Takamanda NPs in Cameroon.
- Assist in the establishment of the trust fund for Mount Cameroon NP.
Figure: Entrance of the Bouba Ndjidda NP
- Development of a management and sustainable funding concept for the Binational Sena Oura - Bouba Ndjidda Protected Areas Complex (BSB Yamoussa) between Cameroon and Chad.
- Facilitation of the establishment of a new legal and institutional framework for the sustainable management of the Cameroon's PAs, geared towards the acceleration of economic growth and job creation, and involving all stakeholders (local populations, economic operators, etc.) in a participatory process in the management and conservation of the PAs.
- Development of management plans for the hunting zones surrounding the Bouba Ndjidda NP.
Figure: Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus major)
- Development of a satellite image-based land use change monitoring system for the BSB Yamoussa and its vicinities.
External links for further information:
- Programme for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources - South West Region: http://psmnr-swr.org/
- Mount Cameroon National Park: http://www.mtcameroonnationalpark.org/
- IUCN Best Practice Guidelines: https://www.iucn.org/theme/protected-areas/resources/best-practice-guidelines
- Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool (IMET): https://www.biopama.org/assessment-tools-and-their-application
- Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART): http://smartconservationtools.org/
- Value Links: http://valuelinks.org
- National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans: https://www.cbd.int/nbsap/about/latest/default.shtml