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28 April 2017

Creation of Proposed Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve:

Posted in News, Views 124

Technical Team Commences With Survey Reports

Creation of Proposed Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve:

A technical note incorporating a detailed socio-economic and livelihood prioritisation, biological and geographical surveys and historical facts of Mt Muanenguba will soon be established. This was the outcome of a technical meeting held at the Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, Moungo Division, Littoral of Cameroon, Thursday April 6, 2017. The meeting aimed at drawing up strategies leading to the classification of Mt. Muanenguba as a protected area, brought together a technical team from the Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), and the Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF).

According to the Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife for Moungo, Mr. NNA Francis, the technical note is very important in the process leading to the classification of Mt. Muanenguba as a protected site.

“It is very imperative for the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife to sign the Public Notice document. The document paves way for the facilitating NGOs together with MINFOF officials to sensitise each village adjacent to the proposed area, on government’s intention to protect part of the forest. Without a Public Notice, some activities cannot proceed because they will be seen as illegal by the government. The document to be produced must contain a detailed socio-economic and livelihood prioritisation, biological and geographical surveys and historical facts of Mt Muanenguba,” Mr. NNA Francis said.

The Technical Team in building a road map with relation to the realisation of the project, strategized to complete socio-economic and livelihood prioritisation surveys in 16 villages adjacent to Mt. Muanenguba, an activity that is 80% completed. They also plan to complete the sensitisation of villages which had not been made aware, carryout biological and geographical surveys, as well as the history of the proposed protected area, create and train 16 village forest management committees (VFMCs) on collaborative forest management, among others.

The team also plans to recruit and train 12 community rangers & and organise a workshop on biodiversity & resource management. To further create dynamism in the Technical Team, it was unanimously agreed that two chiefs’ representative, one from Kupe Muanenguba and the other from Moungo Division be part of the team.

For the Director of CAMHERP-CBF, Dr Nono Legrand, the name Integral Ecological Reserve should not be used for the classification of the proposed protected area.

“An Integral Ecological Reserve is an area with full protection of its flora and fauna. A Sanctuary is an area where only designated animal or plants species are given full protection. So I propose for the name to be changed from Mt. Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve to Mt. Muanenguba Herpetological Sanctuary,” Dr Nono Legrand added.

While applauding the idea, the technical team proposed to discuss about the nomenclature change during their next technical meeting, billed for July 6, 2017.

Mount Muanenguba which cuts across the Southwest and Littoral regions of Cameroon is said to have a heterogeneous Ecosystem, harbouring 100 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles and 270 bird species amongst which 60% of them are endemic. The mountain with height of 2411 meters above sea level, suffers chronic threats from communities living adjacent to the mountain. Habitat degradation, which involves conversion of natural land for agricultural land through shifting cultivation, destruction of trees for commercial purposes, overgrazing and trespassing of cattle in streams and water ponds, collection of amphibian and reptile species, amongst others, are the main threats rocking the mountain.

Faced with all of these challenges, Cameroon’s leading conservation NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), joined forces with the Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF) to conserve the rich biodiversity and Ecosystem of Mount Muanenguba with focus on Amphibians and Reptiles.

28 April 2017

Eco- Guards in Tofala Upgrades Skills on Use of Forest Surveillance, Patrol Equipment

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 Eco- Guards in Tofala Upgrades Skills on Use of Forest Surveillance, Patrol Equipment

Nine government Eco-Guards and local Rangers of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary have improved their capacity on the use of Global positioning System (GPS), cyber trackers and camera traps in patrol and forest surveillance. The training which took place in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary recently, was based on collecting and recording wildlife, poaching and encroachment data in the GPS and cyber tracker.

Participants also improved their capacity on the mode of operation of camera traps, installation techniques and retrieving of data from the camera traps. During the training, participants were given the privilege to practically use these equipment to collect data.

Speaking during the training, the Director of Biodiversity and Protected Area Management at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF), Enokenwa Allen Tabi, said the carrying out of routine surveillance in Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is very important. He indicated that the training will equip the Eco-Guards with the necessary knowledge and tools to crack down on deviant behaviours and excesses in and around the sanctuary.

“The GPSs and cyber trackers will help the Eco-Guards to carryout patrol and surveillance in the sanctuary. Patrol and forest surveillance will enable the eco-guards to identify trends on wildlife species, poaching and encroachment activities in the forest. The data that will be inputted in the GPS and Cyber Trackers, will be downloaded for analysis and necessary actions taken. This can be used to facilitate effective management of the sanctuary,” Mr Tabi said.

The Eco-Guards, promised to use the knowledge gathered to patrol and survey the forest with all technicality. “I shall use the knowledge got from this training to effectively keep Tofala safe from poachers and encroachers,” Elebe Christian, an eco-guard said

They expressed sincere gratitude to the management of ERuDeF, for always standing by the government for the management of the sanctuary.

The Eco-Guards acknowledged that the training was necessary given that most of them are new recruits.

“Most of us are new to the sanctuary. With this training, we have learnt a lot that will help in our surveillance and patrol of the sanctuary. The exercise was more of orientation to me,” Placid, a ranger said.

For his part, the conservator of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Mr Amin Thomas, underscored the importance of such a training.

“I am very grateful for this training because it will enable those newly recruited eco-guards and the old once to improve their skills on the use of these patrol and forest surveillance equipment. These will go a long way to help us collect quality data that will be usedto effectively manage the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary,” Mr Amin said

He also pledged on behalf of government, to provide a vehicle, motorcycles, GPS and other patrol and forest surveillance equipment that will enable the effective patrol of the Sanctuary.He went further to thank the management of ERuDeF the only national Non-Governmental Organisation operating in the area, as well as financial partners for supporting the Management of the Sanctuary.

Situated in the Lebialem highlands, Southwest Cameroon, the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary covers a total surface area of 8087 hectares and harbours two great apes species, the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilladiehli)and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes elloiti). It also inhabits drills ( Mandrillusleucophaeus), and other threatened wildlife species. It is therefore fundamental to ensure the protection of these species by supporting the management of the Sanctuary.

By Allen Tabi

28 April 2017

Nkongho-Mbo Women Laud “Nkongho-Mbo Women Cooperative Society” Creation

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Nkongho-Mbo Women Laud “Nkongho-Mbo Women Cooperative Society” Creation

Women residing in and around the Nkongho-Mbo Area in Nguti Sub-Division, Kupe Muanenguba Division of Southwest Cameroon, have welcomed the initiative to create acooperativein their area. They accepted the initiative recently during a sensitisation and mobilisation outing by the Conservation Finance Officer of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Mr Njang Quddus. The sensitisation meeting brought together inhabitants of Mbemfe, Ngientu, Nzeleted, Lebock, Lebeh, Njungo and Fonki villages, who unanimously agreed to call the cooperative, the Nkongho-Mbo Women Cooperative Society. Speaking on behalf of the women, madam Thecla, indicated that creating a cooperative for women will greatly improve the women’s production and commercialisation of their produce. She lauded ERuDeF for bringing such initiative to their area and promised on behalf of the women, to work with the Organisation so conservation can be understood by all in the Nkongho-Mbo Area. “I am very happy with what ERuDeF is doing in this our community. I believe with this idea of creating women cooperative, our women will be able to work together so as to have high yield at same time have a ready and available market for its produce through the Social Business Division of ERuDeF that is the Silver Back company Ltd,” Mm Thecla said. Speaking to the women, the Conservation Finance Officer enumerated the importance of cooperatives. He indicated that when women come together to form a cooperative, their produce will be harnessed and sold bringing in huge profits. “Belonging to a cooperative is very important in the sense that your produce will be gathered together and sold as one, bringing in more profit than would have been the case if you sold alone. Other benefits like donation of farm tools and inputs from government and NGOs will be easier to get as a cooperative,” Mr Njang said. In line with ERuDeF’s Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) Initiative, the cooperative enterprise was to engage in cassava production and commercialisation through value chain development. The women were also briefed on the procedures involved in creating a cooperative up to the legalisation stage. A Caretaker Committee was put in place to mobilise the subscription of shares as well as carry out publicity as to permit massive registration of women as members. The Caretaker Committee was sub-divided into two, that is, the Management Committee and the Publicity Committee. The cost of a share was generally accepted to be 10,000 FRS and a registration fee of 2000 FRS. The idea to form a cooperative, it should be recalled, was first introduced to the Nkongho-Mbo people during a meeting held in Buea, January 23, 2017. The idea was generally welcomed by the chiefs and elites of Nkongho-Mbo present during the meeting. The creation of cooperatives are sustainable livelihood measures taken by ERuDeF to provide alternative sources of living to communities adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Area. The project is being carried out by ERuDeF with the support of Rainforest Trust.

By: Njang Quddus

28 April 2017

Sixteen SW Farming Groups Integrated Into ERuDeF’s Agroforestry Programme

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 Sixteen SW Farming Groups Integrated Into ERuDeF’s Agroforestry Programme

Some16 new farming groups made up of over 70 farmers have been integrated into the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)’s Southwest Cameroon Agroforestry Programme. They were accepted into the agroforestry family during a regional tour across Meme, Fako, Kupe Muanenguba and Lebialem Divisions of Southwest Cameroon paid recently by the ERuDeF Agroforestry Team.

The tour, aimed at building the capacity of farmers on nursery establishments and value of agroforestry farming techniques, also provided the agroforestry team the opportunity to renew partnership with old faming groups, and welcome committed new ones.

Speaking on behalf of one of the new groups, Millennium Group in Malende-Muyuka, Fako Division, Mr. Atem Ben, a seasoned yams and melon (Egusi) farmer, lauded ERuDeF’s strides in building their capacities on the agroforestry farming techniques. He thanked the management of ERuDeF and Partners for donating seeds of agroforestry tree species like Accacia, luecaena andPrunus, among others.

“Given that our soil have become infertile due to the huge inorganic chemicals, slash and burn, and even felling down of trees that some of us practice, these agro forestry seeds after planted will help to restore our soil” He added

On behalf of his farming group, Mr Atem said they will plant 200,000 agroforestry trees in their farms, this 2017. He pleaded with the management of ERuDeF to provide farmers with more Moringa seeds giving the rich medicinal property of the plant.

The representative of another farming group, Devoted Young Farmers in Ikiliwindi in Kumba-Meme Division, Mr Kome Moses, said his group is made up of very astute young minds who are devoted to making high yields. He affirmed his group’s firm participation in the programme.

“We are very young and committed youths who came together for the mere fact of making it big in agriculture. I promise you that your accepting us would not go in vain. We shall be very committed to planting of trees. We can’t promise you more, but count on us,” Mr Kome Moses said.

Mr Palle Augustine of the Kobi Mukam Water Catchment in Ekambeng in Kupe Muanenguba Division, also promised on behalf of his group to be very committed into the agroforestry programme.

Accepting the new farming groups into the agroforestry programme, ERuDeF’s South West Agroforestry Coordinator, Mr Ngome Emmanuel, said his Organisation is out to empower committed farmers with the necessary agroforestry tools needed for them to make huge harvest. He urged the farmers to be assiduous in their activities, and be rest assured, the management of ERuDeF will provide all necessary tools needed for them to own farms with rich soils, hence making them acquire sustainable harvest.

“Planting of agroforestry trees will not only increase your yields geometrically after three years, but also provide your farms with micro-climate that will play essential roles in the reduction of soil transpiration, fight against insect pest and the mitigation of climate change. With the coming of agroforestry techniques, you all will witness high crop yields, and increase in your household income,” Mr Ngome added.

The farmers were encouraged with watering Cans, agro forestry seeds, rain boots, T- shirts, and calendars. He promised to furnish more farmers with other seeds, especially the Moringa plant which was so much loved by majority of the farmers.

The agroforestry programme falls in line with ERuDeF and Trees for the Future’s drive of planting millions of trees useful to local farmers, which can also increase their household income.

Emmanuel Ngome

28 April 2017

ERuDeF, Revitalising Agroforestry Farmers’ Network in Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 119

 ERuDeF, Revitalising Agroforestry Farmers’ Network in Cameroon

Farming groups across the 15 divisions where the Environment and Rural Development foundation (ERuDeF) is carrying out agroforestry activities have been called upon to reconstitute themselves and revitalise the Agroforestry Farmers Network created in 2010.

This call was made by Regional Coordinators of the Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development at ERuDeF during a one month tour across 72 farming groups in the Northwest, Southwest, West, and Littoral Regions in March 2017.

According to the Director of the Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development at ERuDeF, Madam Tionou Prudence, reinforcing these networks is one of ERuDeF’s priorities in 2017.

“ERuDeF in collaboration with Trees for the Future, in 2010, created some 15 Agroforestry Farmers’ Networks representing the 15 divisions where agroforestry activities are being carried out. It was rather unfortunate that most of these networks lose focus because financial support from ERuDeF was no longer coming. Kudos to the Fako Agroforestry Farmers Network which stood tall and continued to put in all efforts to make sure their network remains functional till date. For the other hibernated networks, we are looking forward to reinforcing them so all the benefits that usually come with networks, can be enjoyed by all farming groups,” Madam Tionou said.

She added that “a comprehensive article of association will be produced and distributed to all networks to ensure that they all have one goal and one interest.”

In 2010, some eight networks completed the formality process. The Fako Agroforestry Farmers Network, the Meme Agroforestry Farmers Network, the Menchum Agroforestry Farmers Network, the Mezam Agroforestry Farmers Network, the Haut-Nkam Agroforestry Farmers Network, the Menoua Agroforestry Farmers Network, the Ngoketunjia Agroforestry Farmers Network and the Boyo Agroforestry Farmers Network, were all legalised under Cameroon’s law of association, and owned a bank account, where they carryout monthly savings during their meetings. ERuDeF supported the Networks with some minimum finances every quarter of the year. Unfortunately, only the Fako Network for the past six years, remained active, holding regular monthly meetings. ERuDeF supported The Fako Agroforestry Farmers Network with 700 polythene bags following their request in March 2017.

The building ofrigid Networks across all of ERuDeF’s area of agroforestry operation, comes on the heels of the Organisation’s intention to join the Agroforestry Alliance of Africa.

Payong Marquise

28 April 2017

“Plant Trees for Better Educational Performance,” Schools in West and Littoral Cameroon Told

Posted in News, Views 90

 “Plant Trees for Better Educational Performance,” Schools in West and Littoral Cameroon Told

Pupils and students of Haut-Kam and Moungo Divisions in the West and Littoral Regions of Cameroon have been advised to make tree planting a culture.

“When you plant trees around your school campus, you will have more oxygen on campus that contribute in increasing your level of understanding in class” Mm Junie Chamjou, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)’s Agroforestry Coordinator for West and Littoral Regions told students and pupils in École Publique de Bakassa in the Haut-Kam Division of the West Region and Lycée Classique de Mellong II in the Moungo Division of Littoral Region.

She encouraged each learner to plant a tree monitor to ensure its survival. The students were also called upon to sensitising their parents one some agroforestry practises like alley cropping, contour farming and life fencing.

“When you get home, tell your parents the importance of trees and advise them to plant more trees especially around your houses and in the farms,” Junie added.

For their part, the pupils and students expressed total satisfaction being schooled on lessons of nature. Most of them resolved to plant as many trees as they can when theywill have the seedlings.

“I am so grateful being part of this lecture on environment. At first, I did not know how to plant trees, but from the lessons got and with the demonstrations, I can now plant my own trees. As soon as I get home, I shall plant my first tree,” Tientcheu Noelle, a pupil of École Publique de Bakassa said.

The learners also pledged to follow-up with the planting of trees in and around the school so they can beautify the campus.

“If you look round our school, you cannot find so many trees. With this lesson acquired from the environment education talk, I shall join with my fellow students to plant more trees around the school boundary, and fruit trees on campus. In that way, we shall have a lot to eat when the time comes,” Douanla Romauald, a student of LycéeClassique de Mellong II said.

For their part, the school administration were very impressed with the lectures given the students, but were even more elated by the positive reactions of the learners. They promised to continue preaching the message of planting trees, so the learners can actually make it part of their daily lives.

“We have been teaching our learners on the importance of having a good environment, but I must confess that we have never had such enthusiasm from the students on issues of the environment. We shall continue to pass on the message to the students until they all understand the importance of planting trees” said Mme Kamguim Climentine, Principal of Lycée Classique de Mellong II.

The learners were treated to demonstrations on nursing seeds, transplanting, and planting of trees.

Meanwhile, pupils of École Pubique de Bakassa, appealed for the creation of a school garden.

The project falls inline with Trees for the Future’s objectives, that is, to integrate 8 million agroforestry species in farms, water catchments and around school campuses. The West and Littoral Regions had some 2.1 million seeds of acacia, luceana, calliandra, prunus and moringaseeds distributed to the different entities in the month of March 2017. The project is being implemented by the Environment and RuralDevelopment Foundation (ERuDeF).

28 April 2017

Community Engagement, Instrumental in Mapping Forest Resources in SW Cameroon

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 Community Engagement, Instrumental in Mapping Forest Resources in SW Cameroon

Today, it becomes more than important to integrate communities in the management of forest resources. Communities living within forest areas, are meticulous in acquiring deep knowledge of where they live; the dense forest milieu.

In spite of this mastery of the forest environment, the communities of Woteva in Fako Division, and Tinto, and Akwen / Agborkem in Manyu Division, all in the Southwest of Cameroon, live adjacent to a dense forest. Unfortunately, management of the forest resources have always been a problem. Much of the forest resources are untapped; those exploited are unevenly distributed.

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) recently launched the “participatory mapping ", a model of conservation wherein communities adjacent to forest areas take active part in the management of their forest resources. The model is also instrumental in the DRYAD project, which is geared towards promoting the development of local businesses from the extraction of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) from the community forests.

The participative approach engages villagers in the mapping of community forests with the help of a facilitator. The mapping process involves ground mapping, the collection of data, processing and the establishment of a concise map. At the level of the ground mapping, the villagers draw the space of their community forest on the ground by indicating the position of all elements including roads, rivers, non-timber forest products (NTFP) among others. Thereafter, they transfer the map got on the ground to the spreadsheet with all the details.

At the level of data collection, the villagers go to the forest for the acquisition of data using different tools that facilitate the collection of the data like GPS smartphones, and navigation GPS among others. Those who go to the forest have been trained beforehand on the manipulation of the tools of data collection, they are called the local cartographers. The data collected are given to the facilitator who processes them using the innovative technologies, produce the soft copy of the map that is validated by the entire community.

It was within this framework that the GIS specialist of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Mr Dogmo Eugne, carried out Maps production, based on identification of forest resources of Tinto in the Upper Bayang Subdivision, Akwen and Agborkem in the Eyumojock Subdivision all in Manyu Division of Southwest Cameroon. Five resources, Bush mango (Irvingiagabonesis), Eru (Gnetumafricana), Bush pepper (Piper nigrum), timbers and Njansang ( Ricinodendronhendelotti), were selected to represent in the map.

In each community, at least three (03) local cartographers were trained on maps productionwith emphasis on the production of the ground mapping.

In Tinto, the local cartographers collected more than 300 points in their community forest while in Akwen and Agborkem, the local cartographers collected more than 200 points. The maps of the community forests have been produced and validated by the villagers of those communities with the facilitation of the GIS specialist from ERuDeF.

Now, the villagers acquired supplementary knowledge to reproduce and to update the map of resources in their forest area. By the end of the process, it was realized that the resources are dense in the different community forests.Taking the case of bush mango for example, the quantities are very important. In the community forest of Tinto, the number of stems of bush mango is estimated at 2500 stemsand more whereas in the one of Akwen-Agborkem, the number of stems of bush mango is estimated at 12000 stems and more.

28 April 2017

Communities Within Lebialem Highlands Schooled to Adopt Environmental Friendly Actions.

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 Communities Within Lebialem Highlands Schooled to Adopt Environmental Friendly Actions.

Communities adjacent to the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community Conservation Project, have been sensitised on the importance of protecting the environment in the face of increasing global threat from climate change. The Manager of the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Mr Samuel Ngueping, was speaking to the communities during a sensitisation tour organised recently.

Using Biblical quotations the ESD Manager frowned at unsustainable practises carried out by communities in this area that contribute to environmental degradation and climate change.

“It iswritten in the book of Genesis that God created all living things including the water, the earth and all the biodiversity that it contains. God also created man, putting him in charge of all creation. Unfortunately, some people use their wisdom to destroy the environment rather than protecting,” Mr Ngueping said.

He implored the population to shun unsustainable environmental practices and engage in conservation and sustainable management of natural resources for a long term reward.

Speaking on behalf of the Besali people, Pa Tayem Joseph appreciated ERuDeF for enlightening them on the danger that awaits them as a result of unsustainable environmental practices. He promised to adopt environmentally friendly actions.

“I thank God for being here today because I have learnt a lot. I shall make sure I put into practice the things I have gotten here today. Top on my list will be to avoid slash and burn. Also, I shall make sure the trees in my community are managed in a sustainable manner,” Pa Tayem said.

Thrilled by the exposition on the effects of his action on the environment another participant from Bokwa village in Upper Banyang, Ndem Thomas amongst other to stop cutting down trees and polluting the environment.

The communities sensitised included Abebue, Fonven, Mbetta, Mouck-bie, Ngwangong, Mouck-leteh, Mbelenka, Nkong, Besali, Bechati and Folepi, in the Lebialem Division. Meanwhile, those in the Upper Banyang Subdivision of Manyu Division were Kendem, Bokwa, Etoko and Egbemo. This sensitisation was carried out with support from Tusk Trust.

By Samuel Ngueping

28 April 2017

Upper Bayang Communities Pledge to Create Two New Community Forests

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 Upper Bayang Communities Pledge to Create Two New Community Forests

Some nine communities in Upper Bayang, Manyu Divisionof Southwest Cameroon have unanimously agreed to create two community forests in the area. They made the agreement recently in Kendem village, Upper Bayang, in the presence of government officials and well-wishers. The nine communities include Bakumba, Ayukaba, Chinda,Numba, Kendem, Bokwa, Etoko, Egbemo and Tafu.

These communities are, more than ever, engaged in the conservation of fauna and flora in their forest area.

“We have huge forest just behind our village, which individuals exploit and siphon the proceeds. Creating a community forest will therefore mean, we the indigenes of Bakumba village will manage the economic returns from the forest,” Chief Tata Adolf said.

The chiefs promised to lend total support and collaboration to the project when needs arise.

“We are solidly behind the creation of these community forests. We shall be very much available anytime our assistance is solicited,” Chief NyentiAko of Bokwa village said.

Meanwhile communities have reserved over 9,834 hectares for the two community forests to be created that is 4500 hectares per community forest. The two community forests dubbed BANCK and BEET community forests were allocated to the nine communities. Communities in the BANCK community forest will include Bakumba, Ayukaba, Numba, Chinda, and Kendem, while those in the BEET community forest include will include Bokwa, Etoko, Egbemo and Tafu.

These community forests, according to community members, would serve as part of the corridor linking gorillas, chimpanzee and other wildlife species of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Takamanda National Park, passing through the FMU 11002 and FMU 11009 (former Mone river forest reserve).

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) is piloting the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community Conservation Project that began in January 2016. The project seeks to create a wildlife corridor, which will serve as a genetic pool linking the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) and the Mone Forest Reserve. In particular, it will connect the Cross River gorillas of THWS to those of the Takamanda National Park through the Mone Forest Reserve.

ERuDeF is playing a key role for these communities to formally reserve their forests using prescriptions from the manual of procedures for the attribution and norms for the management of community forests in Cameroon. Following the procedures, a lot of sensitisation has been done through information and awareness meetings, the two community forest blocks carved out by a cartographer, a management committee put in place, a consultation meeting organised and documents compiled and sent to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) for a two year provisional management agreement to be signed.

It is this provisional management agreement that will give the communities the go ahead to produce a five-year management plan. Communities are very excited with this as they are keenly and constantly monitoring their forest for fear of illegal activities in the forest concession.

By Floribert Asong

28 April 2017

Mulching, Panacea For Low Farm Yield & Soil Infertility

Posted in Volunteering and Internship, News, Views 217

 Mulching, Panacea For Low Farm Yield & Soil Infertility

Mulching is a practice in agriculture where farmers cover the soil with plant materials to protect the soil. Farmers cover the soil with organic material and this protects their soils from extreme winds or drought. The mulch serves as home for insects that improve soil texture and fertility. Mulching also protects the soil from erosion, extreme temperatures, and sunrays gradually releasing nutrients to plants.

Mulching is mostly done in alley cropping demonstration farms. Alley cropping is a technique of agroforestry where trees are planted in double rows in the farm where other food crops are planted. Here, the distance from one tree to the other is 30cm while the distance from one row to the other is 5m. When these trees reach the height of 1m or 1.5m, they are pruned at 50cm and the leaves are used to mulch the soil.

Acacia, Calliandra and Leucaena are species best used in alley cropping because they are nitrogen fixing. They are therefore referred to as the soil health improvement trees. When these leaves are mulched into the soil, the nitrogen contents in the leaves are slowly release to the soil, thus improving the fertility of the soil. This form of mulching also protects the soil from erosion, sunrays, and wind. It provides a habitat for species of insects and microorganisms that will eventually improve on some physical properties of the soil such as texture and structure.

For the past 8 years, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) through the Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development, has been able to reach and sensitiseBare root nursery establishment in Mile 15 over 4,080 farmers in the Northwest, Southwest, West and Littoral Regions of Cameroon with our Agroforestry activities. Of the 4,080 reached, over 3000 farmers have successfully implemented the project given a 74% success. Today, these farmers have been expressing their gratitude through different testimonies.

Mr. Douanla Pierre is a renowned farmer in Balafotio, West Region. For four years, the farmer has embraced agroforestry system in his farms. According to him, ever since he has been mulching the soils with agroforestry nitrogenous trees, production in his beans farmhas moved from 2 buckets to 12 buckets.

Mrs. Ayoung Jannet is another agroforestry farmer in Kugwe, Northwest Region. She testified that “mulching my plantain and grafted pears has made them healthier and doubled in production.”

Mr. Ambang of Maumu, Southwest Cameroon, for the past 7 years has multiplied the production of beans and maize, all thanks to mulching,

“I have moved from 4 bags of maize to 10 bags and from 3 baskets of tomatoes to 9 baskets as I have been using agroforestry nitrogenous trees to mulch my soil” Ambang of Maumu testified.

The importance of Mulching in the improvement of agricultural yield, cannot be over emphasised. Mulching is arguably the hidden panacea in witnessing a significant growth in agricultural production, but most especially, growth in household income. Farmers are therby ecouraged to mulch their soils with nitrogen fixing agroforestry trees for a significant growth in their agricultural production.

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