La FAO y el FMAM

Una asociación para la agricultura sostenible y el medio ambiente

Sustainable community-based management and conservation of mangrove ecosystems in Cameroon

In Cameroon, mangrove ecosystems provide a wide range of resources and ecosystem services that greatly contribute to people's livelihoods, including fisheries production, construction wood and firewood production, coastal protection, pollution reduction and carbon sequestration. Yet, as a result of demographic pressure, mangroves are threatened by urban expansion, the development of agro-industrial and port activities, and the exploitation of hydrocarbons.

About the project

The Sustainable Community-based Management and Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems in Cameroon project sought to address these challenges through the adoption and adaption of good practices in the area of sustainable food and agriculture. The project contributed to the creation of Cameroon’s first marine and terrestrial national park, Douala-Edea National Park, spread across over 260 000 hectares, that includes mangrove forests, rivers, wetlands and marine habitats.

Good practices for the project's success 

Mainstream sustainable food and agriculture approaches into national action plans

The project succeeded in creating a national framework and enhancing an enabling environment for sustainable mangrove management through the development of strategic documents, such as the five-year national strategy on sustainable management of mangrove and coastal ecosystems and the master plan for research and monitoring of mangrove and coastal ecosystems of Cameroon. These documents, as well as the training for government officials and NGO staff on environmental and social impact assessments, established project ownership and sustainability over time. 

Foster gender equality and women’s empowerment to drive inclusivity and participation 

All projects seeking to deliver positive change must champion women’s contribution and role in society, and ensure their voices are heard in decision-making fora. The project trained women's groups in four areas of income-generating activities related to mangrove ecosystem services: fish farmers and women fish smokers in Kribi, oyster growers in Mouanko and community forest product farmers in Bakoko Douala. Some 14 farmer groups were involved, and the trainings led to the elaboration of practical business plans 

Promote sustainable approaches that safeguard natural resources and protect livelihoods

The preservation of mangroves was the aim of the Manoka Community Forest, the first of its kind in Cameroon, in which the community-based management approach strived to conserve resources and unite local communities around a shared project. Ensuring the protection and enhancement of natural resources was an essential step for the transition to more productive and more sustainable food and agriculture systems. The two national parks and the designation of a new Ramsar site secured the long-term conservation of natural resources and associated ecosystem services. The project also helped in carrying out reforestation activities across three sites, extending the surface area of mangroves and, crucially, engaging local communities in both the reforestation efforts and the protection of these sites in the future. This allowed a continued flow of ecosystem services, which are often of vital importance to vulnerable communities. It also safeguarded biodiversity conservation and reduced ecosystem degradation.