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COMMUNITY FORESTS

CODEVIR community forest, Cameroon

The community forest managed by the United Villages Development Committee (CODEVIR) covers 4 100 ha in eastern Cameroon, in the “agricultural and residential” zone of the non-permanent State-owned estate (Lomié District, Nzimé-Nord Canton). It is a natural closed moist forest.

Unauthorized felling of their forest heritage by a logging company led the inhabitants of four villages to form the CODEVIR association with a view to pursuing a community forest adoption process. The objectives assigned to this forest are the harvesting of wood and non-wood products, agrosilvipastoral use, hunting and other traditional uses.

The simple management plan was established in April 2001 and approved with a letter from the Ministry of the Environment and Forests on 6 May 2002. It was prepared by the communities with the support of basic training in forest techniques, the NGO International Centre for Support to Sustainable Development and the SDDL/SNV Project. Funding is raised by the communities from members’ subscriptions and forest fees from the four villages of Djénou (the headquarters), Djébé, Abakoum and Nemeyong, made up of two ethnic groups (the Baka and the Nzime). The inhabitants of the four villages and the local forest administration are involved in technical supervision and surveillance. A contribution is expected shortly from national and outside economic operators within a partnership framework.

The key elements of the simple management plan are as follows:

• division of the forest into four intervention sectors: one agricultural and residential sector (1 000 ha) and three primary forest sectors (1 200, 800 and 1 100 ha); the five-year simple management plan can be renewed for 25 years under current law; apart from the five-year action programme, an annual harvesting plan has been established for the four sectors;

• section 4 in the west is periodically closed off to hunting and wood cutting to allow for regeneration and the reconstitution of wildlife species, and for reasons of proximity to the Dja reserve; each sector is divided into five 200-ha plots, with each plot corresponding to an annual output of 500 m3; the topography of the forest imposes prudence with regard to the natural boundaries in the west and those of forest management zones in the east; with this in mind, enlargement of the forest by up to 5 000 ha can be requested;

• there is a major possibility for the development of NWFP harvesting, according to a feasibility study (basket-making, moabi oil extraction, etc.).

Conservation measures are as follows:

• disciplinary measures reinforced in the statutes and interior rules of the association in order to counter infringements of rights of use;

• extension of agroforestry, with alternating products;

• protection of certain trees such as moabi and wild mango;

• environmental awareness-raising;

• monitoring of the natural regeneration of wild stock;

• respect for minimum harvest diameters;

• respect for the regulations in force;

• a ban on the opening of new fields in primary forest zones;

• harvesting based on portable sawing operations, without opening up tracks in the forest or bringing in heavy machinery;

• prevention of resource wastage;

• re-establishment of community forest boundaries.

The CODEVIR community forest in Cameroon is a good example of the exercise of ownership and control of resources by the local population, together with the definition of joint rules and methods for resource harvesting. If extraction of the resource is low, the impact is low. This project is still in a pilot phase and is just getting under way, so that medium- and long-term community objectives still need definition.

Nomination proposed by:

Jean Séraphin Motto Mboh, Responsable de la gestion des opérations forestières

CODEVIR SDDL/SNV

B.P. 19, Lomié, Cameroon

Tel: (+871) 762104592

E-mail: snvcmpose@gcnet.cm

Further information available from:

CP SDDL/SNV

B.P. 19, Lomié, Cameroon

Tel: (+871) 762104592

E-mail: snvcmpose@gcnet.cm

Ngola and Achip community forest, Cameroon

This forest has an area of 4 200 ha and stretches for 17 km in Cameroon’s Lomié District. It is a medium-altitude closed moist forest that has never been industrially harvested until now. This community forest belonging to the communities of Ngola and Achip villages is managed by a village development committee, the Balagbo, Pa’a, Bamouh Bankoho, Baka and Bodja Family Association. The stakeholders are the forest administration, local NGOs, young loggers, the Fets Federation and the people of the villages. It is estimated that there are 1 430 beneficiaries of forest management. The management objectives assigned to this community forest are the small-scale production and processing of timber, the production of NWFPs, implementation of joint microprojects, and ecotourism.

The first steps in preparing a simple management plan were taken in November 1998 with the technical support of the SDDL/SNV Project as a pilot experiment to develop a management model for community forests in Cameroon. The plan lists the activities to be carried out in the forest during the first five years of self-management.

An inventory of timber resources and various socio-economic surveys were carried out. Zoning of the community forest was established, with its division into three sectors (two primary forest sectors and one residential and agricultural sector). Demarcation of the zone was carried out. Rotation length was fixed at 24 years and annual potential in terms of area at 175 ha and in terms of volume at 1 000 m3 of lumber.

The simple management plan was approved, the management agreement signed, and the 2001–2002 annual report and 2001–2002 annual harvesting plan approved. Notification of the start of operations was signed, and harvesting and marketing activities carried out despite many difficulties with regard to the manner of harvesting. Activity reports have been produced, but the definitive management plan is still in course of preparation in close collaboration with the Dja Forest Studies Centre, specializing in forestry operations, and the Fets Federation through its strategic plan to install a mobile processing unit for the output of community forests in the Lomié and Dja region.

The conservation measures adopted are based on the twofold principle of continuing activities carried out exclusively by members of the community, particularly the supervised exercise of rights of use, the development of a community palm plantation, creeper removal and harvesting by the community itself in order to reduce the extensive damage caused by logging companies. A monitoring committee will also be set up for surveillance of the forest. A programme for the regeneration of degraded zones is at present under way, encompassing notably the carrying out of multiresource inventories and the identification of seed-trees.

Nomination proposed by:

Feu Théodore Andang, s/c B.P. 19, Lomié, Cameroon

Further information available from:

Ntsie Mikoua Hervé Omer Gbopaba/UPODEFC

s/c B.P. 19, Lomié, Cameroon

Tel: (+871) 7829929

E-mail: Ntsiemikoua@yahoo.fr

Nzienga-Mileme community forest, Cameroon

This State-owned natural closed moist forest covers 4 490 ha and has the status of a community forest. It is located in Lomié in eastern Cameroon and can be divided into three major sectors:

• a forest zone in the north with an area of 2 666 ha, made up of primary forest containing species providing timber (sapelli, iroko, etc.) and poles (moabi, wild mango, etc.); its main use is timber harvesting, with collecting, gathering, subsistence hunting and fishing as secondary uses;

• a residential and agropastoral zone of 340 ha that includes young secondary forest containing species providing timber (sapelli, iroko, etc.) and poles (moabi, wild mango, creepers, etc.); it is used mainly for slash-and-burn cultivation, fish farming, animal husbandry and small-scale timber harvesting; secondary uses are subsistence hunting, agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and gathering;

• a forest zone of 1 484 ha in the south, composed of primary forest containing species providing timber (sapelli, iroko, etc.) and poles (moabi, wild mango, etc.); its main use is timber harvesting, with collecting, gathering, subsistence hunting and fishing as secondary uses; a five-year action programme has been formulated for this sector.

The management objectives are an improvement in the living conditions of the local population and sustainable use of the forest. The forest is managed by the local NGO Environmental Protection, Research and Support to Development. A commercial company carries out actual logging, under the supervision of the NGO and a local monitoring committee. The forest station head, representing the government, helps the officer in charge of forest operations to draw up his reports and fill in vehicle permits allowing the circulation of the timber extracted. The workers are villagers employed by the logging company and skilled machine operators (using Lucas mills).

Management was started in 1999, with the following key elements:

• a management and harvest inventory was carried out and the results made available; a wildlife inventory was also carried out;

• the simple management plan was prepared;

• the division into felling plots was made and the rotation plan issued;

• the conditions of the contract between the logging company and the local population are strictly respected, under penalty of a harvesting ban.

Between three and five trees per hectare are extracted and harvesting requires neither heavy machinery nor the opening up of tracks. Conservation measures focus on the identification and protection of seed-trees and a ban on hunting large primates. A monitoring committee has been set up to monitor timber harvesting and subsistence hunting. An agroforestry system will be established in areas allocated for plantations. In socio-economic terms, income from forest harvesting helps to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of the two villages concerned by harvesting of the community forest.

Nomination proposed by:

Angèle Ankoh

Isidore Kpaman

B.P. 23, Lomié, Cameroon

Tel: (+237) 7588545

E-mail: angele.ankoh@caramail.com

Further information available from:

Angèle Ankoh

B.P. 23, Lomié, Cameroon

Tel: (+237) 2216496

E-mail: angele.ankoh@caramail.com

Meme River Forest Reserve, Cameroon

This deciduous closed tropical moist forest covers more than 1 450 ha and is located in Cameroon’s Mbonge Subdivision. The wide (40 m) Meme river flows through it. The area involved was recently increased to 20 000 ha, thus involving the Meme et Ndian Division. It falls under the supervision of the Federation of Environmental and Ecological Diversity for Agricultural Revampment and Human Rights. It belongs to the Bakundu and Mbonge peoples, who are also the beneficiaries, and more than 25 000 people and 20 villages are affected by the management.

Management of this forest reserve was started in 1991, with the multiple objectives of community use and soil and watershed protection.

The key elements in this management approach are as follows:

• sustainable harvesting of forest and water resources ensured by a legal procedure drawn up by the Ministry of the Environment and Forests;

• harvesting monitored by forest rangers;

• selective extraction of trees;

• adoption of a “selection forest” type of silviculture;

• management carried out by the local population, which also draws the benefits.

The result is that the forest is not affected by forest fires or excessive harvesting of timber and other forest products, while the Meme river still contains its wide variety of water species and its gradient.

Nomination proposed by and further information available from:

M. Tcharbuahbokengo

P.O. Box 321, Kumba, Meme

S.W.P. Cameroon

Tel: (+237) 3354483

Fax: (+237) 3322311

E-mail: Feedar97@yahoo.com

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