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16 May 2013

Students and pupils around Tofala forest area nurse over 117. 000 tree seeds

Posted in News, Views 997

Volunteer assist pupils of GS Kenkah-Folepi in nursing trees

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has through its Environmental Education Program mobilized over 200 students and pupils to nurse a total of 117, 300 seeds of different species including Acacia, Leuceana, date palm and Prunus Africana. The students and pupils drawn from some nine primary and secondary schools in the Tofala area established a total of nine tree nurseries in nine school campuses around Tofala. They sowed 80000 Accacia, 36000 of Leuceana, 500 of date palm and 800 of Prunus Africana. The exercise took place from April 15 to April 26, 2013 in the school campus of Government School (GS) Bechati, GS Malengah-Bechati, Government High School (GHS), Bamumbu, Government Secondary School (GSS) Bechati, GHS Besali, GS Kenkah-Folepi, GS Banti, GS Egumbo and GS Bamumbu. During the process the students and pupils who showed a lot of interest, gained skills in seed identification, pretreatment of seeds, establishment of bare root nurseries and construction of shed for nursery.

Getting these young people plant trees falls in line with ERuDeF's vision to educate the young people on the importance of environmental protection, for them to in turn educate their parents to support the conservation of the last great apes in the forest of Tofala. In addition to this, the enthusiasm to plant trees was ignited during the ERuDeF's annual wildlife advocacy week in February 2013 which brought together all primary and secondary schools for an environmental education exhibition. During the official closure of the event, it was unanimously agreed that school grounds have to be more environmentally friendly. Ideas were exchanged between the ERuDeF environmental education coordinators, students, pupils and teachers on possible ways to achieve a greener school environment. It was then resolved that each school should establish a 3-year forest garden project to be supervised and supported by ERuDeF. It was therefore against this backdrop that these nine schools were mobilized to plant trees.

Hanna Maija an ERuDeF volunteer who assisted in the establishment of these nurseries was very excited after a visit to the nurseries 2 weeks after they were established, 'I am so glad because most of the seeds nursed have geminated. The nursery site is so clean which indicates that the kids are taking good care of the young plants'. It is hoped that, these trees would be transplanted in September in to the school forest garden. The school authorities on their part are taking the necessary measures to ensure the growth of these trees into proper school forest. This implies if the project is successful, in 5 years 9 schools in Tofala will have their own school forests.

By Mahah Vladimire

16 May 2013

ABS National Focal Point Deputy Coordinator Visits Echinops giganteus Project on Mt Bamboutos

Posted in News, Views 1033

ABS Coordinator poses with Echinops project team

The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) National Focal Point Deputy Coordinator has made his first visit to the Echinops giganteus project in Magha Village, Mt Bamboutos, Lebialem Division SW Cameroon. Mr. Wilson Shei was in Magha on April 12, 2013 to formalize commitments on the Echinops giganteus/ABS project. Speaking at the Chief's Palace in Magha, Mr. Wilson Shei explained that the involvement of the ABS principle in the Echinops giganteus project is to ensure that there is an equitable benefit for the local community and the enterprise.

The Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) principle, it would be noted is a feature of the 2010 Nagoya protocol. According to the ABS principle, the proceeds emerging from a natural resource has to be shared equitably between the community hosting the natural resource and the individual or corporate body wishing to exploit it.

The ABS Deputy Coordinator thus explained that the involvement of the ABS principle in the Echinops giganteus project is to ensure that there is an equitable benefit both at the level of the local community and the level of the enterprise. He expressed satisfaction about the involvement of the ABS Principle in the Echinops giganteus project explaining that "The Echinops giganteus project is a pilot project for the implementation of the ABS principle and will guide its implementation in other related projects in the country".

The event brought together the representative of the Southwest Regional Delegate of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Mr. Kuitekam Dongo Patrice, the traditional ruler of Magha, Chief Nembo Abraham, some village elites and Project Coordinator, Manuella Huque.

The Project Manager, Manuella Huque, on her part, reassured the ABS National Focal Point Deputy Coordinator and all present, that the French enterprise has no intention of copying this genetic resource promising to help fight against the bio-pirating of the Echinops plant.

She also urged the Chief and village elites to set up a Village Management Committee for the project as well as carry out feasibility study and cost analysis for the setting up of a village cooperative and submit to her.

Reacting to this, Chief Nembo Abraham lauded the steps taken in the project this far. He promised to set up the management committee before May 15, 2013. The traditional ruler was particularly grateful with the involvement of the government in the project pledging more moral and material support for the project. The Chief also signed a lending contract for the test plot necessary for the agronomic trials of the Echinops giganteus.

Meanwhile a Dry Station for the Echinops giganteus roots has been established and nursed seeds already sprouting, depicting a green light for the project.

Betrand N. Shancho

16 May 2013

ERuDeF sets up five 5000 capacity community nurseries around Mt Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1053

Sample community nursery set up at Bakingili

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has supported the establishment of nine 5000 capacity community nurseries in some communities around the Mt Cameroon. Some of these communities include Bafia, Bakingili, Bomana and Bova I. "The aim of this move is to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of some globally threatened trees of the Mount Cameroon forest" says Louis Nkembi, CEO of ERuDeF. Some of these trees include the Microberlinia bisulcata, Oncoba lophorcarpa, Cordia platithystera and the Prunus african. In partnership with the Ministry of Forestry-Mt Cameroon National Park Service, ERuDeF is currently training community members on the identification of these threatened species and basic nursery practices. The initiative which was welcomed by the inhabitants is now gaining grounds. Community members now construct nursery sheds, fill polythene bags and collect seeds from the forest for the nursery. Thereafter, these communities would plant the threatened species in their farms. It is hoped that these trees would not only contribute towards minimizing the carbon in the atmosphere and fight global warming, but subsequently serve as a source of income for in terms of furniture derived from the wood.

Mount Cameroon it would be recalled is one of Africa's largest volcanoes. This Mountain locally referred to as "Efasa moto" meaning "the Chariots of the gods" is the highest peak in sub-Saharan western and central Africa, rising to 4,049 metres above the coast of West Cameroon. This Mountain stands tall in plant and animal biodiversity. It is home to plants that are not just endemic to the region but equally threatened. Unfortunately for some time, human pressure on this mountain such as indiscriminate logging and creating of farmlands has put some plants under threat. It was in line with this that the Cameroonian conservation organization, ERuDeF designed the Mt Cameroon threatened trees project with a goal to restore globally threatened trees. Supported by Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Global Tree Campaign, this project has identified some 17 species within the Mt Cameroon area which are highly endangered. Amongst these species identified, ERuDeF set up a central tree nursery at the Regional Delegation of Forestry to premises of Buea where 7 of these species are currently being raised. Creating community nurseries is therefore an effort to indulge the communities more in tree planting, given that nature can best be taken care of by those who live closest to it.

By Asa'a Lemawah

16 May 2013

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer supports Tofala Sanctuary creation process

Posted in News, Views 1199

Picture: SDO poses with team after sensitisation meeting

Lebialem Senior Divisional Officer supports Tofala Sanctuary creation process

The Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem Division alongside some top government officials recently visited some villages in the Wabane Sub-division, Lebialem Division SW Cameroon to educate the people on the need for the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Mr. Kuemo Simon alongside other officials of the Ministry of Forestry, on April 5, 2014, visited three villages including Folepi, Bangang and Bamumbu. These villages form a significant portion of the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

Speaking during a sensitization meeting in Folepi, Mr. Kuemo Simon explained that carving out a protected area was not a punishment, but a way of preserving a Nation's rich heritage for posterity. He had the indigenes of Folepi understand that, the Cross River Gorilla is critically endangered and if not conserved, might go extinct. He therefore urged the natives to commit themselves fully for the realization of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

This proposed Sanctuary is home to about 40 critically endangered Cross River Gorillas, 150 endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and a host of other endemic fauna and flora. In a bid to save the last great apes, the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), working with the Cameroon government initiated a legal process in 2010 towards making this site a full protected area. It was in line with this that the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem went to three villages to call on the natives to throw support for the project.

The villagers in turn pledged full commitment to support the process but called on ERuDeF and the supporters to provide them with alternative sources of livelihoods to replace farmlands which would constitute part of the Sanctuary.

It would be recalled that, according to the Cameroon 1994 forestry law, community participation in the creation of protected areas and the sustainable management of forestry and wildlife resources for local development is vital. This explains why ERuDeF and its partners went to sensitize natives of these villages, which form a portion of the proposed site, on the importance of conservation of wildlife.

This is the fourth stage of the process of creating a Sanctuary. According to the laws of the land, the creation of protected areas involves six legal steps. These include the production of a technical note, publication of a public notice, sensitization of administrative authorities and local elites, village to village sensitizations, divisional classification and compilation of documents by Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for onward transmission via Ministry of Forestry headquarter to the Prime Minister Office for final gazzetement of the area. The first three steps were completed in 2012 and 8 out of 11 villages adjacent to the proposed protected area were sensitized.

By Allen Enokenwa Tabi

07 April 2013

ERuDeF Women call for action following the killing of a Cross River Gorilla

Posted in News, Views 1201

Celebrating international women’s day

The 1st of March would forever be remembered as a tragic day for the Cameroonian conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF). On this day, one of the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla that strayed from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, was killed in neighboring Pinyin in the North West Region of Cameroon. On the 8th of March, a day set aside as women's day, the women of ERuDeF used the event, not just for the march pass but also to send a strong message to government on the urgent need to protect these last great apes. The women carried placards bearing messages such as "Don't kill them, don't eat them, protect them".

In a rather pathetic mood, the wailing women waved a board carrying the picture of the dead Gorilla to the watching crowd at the Grand stand saying enough is enough! This drew widespread attention as other women taking part in the march pass came to find out about the death of this animal. The women used the opportunity to create awareness for women calling on them to be at the forefront of conservation.

The march pass also gave the women a unique opportunity to call on women to plant trees and fight climate change. The women of ERuDeF bore posters with messages such as "one woman one tree, women take the lead in the fight against climate change and the general protection of the environment". Coincidentally, these messages happened to have been on this year's fabric for March 8.

One of the women at ERuDeF, Payong Marquise who works for the restoration of degraded landscapes through tree planting, explains why women should take the lead in reforestation "women are directly involved with the environment. They are the people making use of fuel wood from the forest, they farm and they use water for house chores. Mitigating climate change does not only mean planting trees, but also managing energy and water resources in a way that helps to promote the fight against global warming. They should therefore champion the struggle for environmental protection"

By Regina Fonjia Leke

06 April 2013

Echinops giganteus project makes remarkable progress

Posted in News, Views 1948

Echinops giganteus project makes remarkable progress

Wild plant planted for the first time

The growing of plants from the wild is not uncommon, but in Cameroon, it has not really been the case. Most wild plants grow in the wild and they hardly get planted. However, interestingly enough, the plants Echinops giganteus which grows in the Mount Bamboutos area has for the first time been planted. This was on March 28, 2013, in Magha, a small village in the Lebialem Division which forms part of Mt Bamboutos.

It would be recalled that the objective of the Echinops giganteus project is to promote the plant, locally called "Ayilagwem", and to link the project with the ABS process (Access and Benefit Sharing) of the Nagoya Protocol. The aim is to ensure the conservation of the natural resources and at the same time to secure the livelihoods and economic development of the local population. The project forms part of the Mt Bamboutos Ecological Restoration Program manned by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and financially supported by French Conservation organization, Man and Nature.

planting of echinopsThe Echinops giganteus project would also help to sensitize the local population on environmental issues and the need to plant trees in a bid to restore degraded landscapes.The people in Magha showed great enthusiasm towards the project and the planting of Ayilagwem. The results were incredible with 4 000 seeds of Echinops giganteus planted by 10 persons in 1hour.

The next step would be to follow the growth of the seeds through agronomic trials and try to understand how to produce this plant. If the project is a success, the population of Magha would be able to create a sustainable production of the plant and sell the roots,which has fragrance potentials to local and foreign enterprises.

Manuella Hugue

Project Manager

Echinops giganteus ABS program

06 April 2013

Motorbike Riders steal show, parade to raise awareness on the importance of water on World water day

Posted in News, Views 1003

Celebrating World Water Day in Menji

The World Water Day 2013, was celebrated on 22 March under the theme "Water Cooperation, within the framework of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013". During this Water Cooperation 2013 Campaign, which includes the Year and the Day, efforts around the world at local, national and international levels help to raise awareness on the potential and challenges for water cooperation, facilitate dialogue among actors, and promote innovative solutions for nurturing water cooperation.

This event was celebrated in Menji, the headquarter of Lebialem Division by the Delegation of Environment and Nature Protection in collaboration with Association of Women in Environment and Economic Development, Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF) and other civil society groups.

The motor bike riders stole the show when they took to the streets with their motor bikes calling on locals to manage water efficiently. They carried placards carrying messages such as "water is life, lets together fight to protect it"

This parade was followed by the projection of a documentary in the Catholic Church hall on water crises in the North of Cameroon. This documentary demonstrated how some water sources that had high volume of water some years back had gone dry due to climate change. The consequence was that people had to move for long distances before getting water or dig holes for water to ooze out.

The documentary was watched by a cross section of the Menji population and as it went on, explanations and contributions were made to find tune solutions towards ensuring water sustainability.

Participants were cautioned on the need to protect their water sources, given that failure to do so may result to the plight of the people in the North of Cameroon befalling them in Menji.

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

04 April 2013

The Pinyin Cross River Gorilla saga and the need for more government law enforcement efforts

Posted in News, Views 1333

Regional Chief of Service for Wildlife, Eboule Emmanuel (Right) regretting loss of Gorilla during Press briefing

The Cameroonian conservation non-profit organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has called on the government to re-inforce the human resource capacity in forest adjacent communities which host Gorillas or other endangered species. The President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi was speaking in Buea on the 21st of March, 2 013 shortly after a Press briefing which aimed at revealing the sad circumstances leading to the killing of a Cross River Gorilla. It would be recalled here that the Gorilla was on March 1st killed by the people of Pinyin in the Santa Sub Division, NW of Cameroon after straying from the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands.

Louis Nkembi explained that the killing of the Gorilla was bad omen for the conservation world, given that it indicated that the fight against poaching, ignorance and people who do not yet understand the value of wildlife is still very far from being achieved. He went forth to say the Gorilla came from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary hosting about 40 of these Gorillas. "The death of this Gorilla therefore means the population has decreased by one. The loss of just one of the great apes means a lot to the Cross River Gorilla population which numbers just about 300 of them in the wild". Louis Nkembi added.

The presence of this Silver-back was reported by a local teacher who was going to her farm very early in the morning on March 1st 2013 at about 4Km away from the village. It is alleged over 45 cartridges were used as well as several blows with clubs and stones on the Gorilla, leaving the Gorilla in a pool of his own blood.

The death of this Silver-back remains a very big loss not just to ERuDeF, but to the conservation world at large, given that this ape is Africa's rarest and most threatened primate and one of the world's 25 most threatened wildlife species. Only about 300 of them live in the world between the Nigeria-Cameroon border Region.

In 2004, a new sub population of the Cross River Gorillas was discovered by ERuDeF's scientists in the now proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Since 2010, the Government of Cameroon through the technical assistance of ERuDeF and its partners has been working to complete the creation of this very important Sanctuary, which is home to about 40 Cross River Gorillas and over 150 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and a range of other endangered species of fauna and flora.

Only a very small number of Cross River Gorillas have been sighted in Tofala. The most recent was on the 24th February, 2013 by the Divisional Officer for Wabane Sub Division, Innoncent Moni in Besali forest on his way to Menji. The presence of this killed Gorilla about 33km away from Tofala is a good proof to explain the fact that the Tofala Gorillas are not isolated and still maintain a genetic gene flow with the other Gorilla sub populations in the Takamanda forest area, as few Gorilla sightings have been recorded between Tofala and Takamanda forests.

The killing of this Silver-back in Pinyin provides a more glaring proof about the plight o f this elusive wildlife species, that there is no hope for them out of formal protected areas. The migration of this killed silver back is also a testimony of the intense human pressure that the Gorillas in the Tofala forests are facing. This pressure includes very high forest conversion to farms and poaching.

Louis Nkembi therefore used the Press briefing to call on the government to increase the amount of support given to anti poaching units in areas hosting these rare species. This he explains as most of such areas are enclaved and have limited government presence. He therefore urged the Ministry of Forestry and wildlife to deploy more officials to these areas to reduce poaching and other activities that might lead to the loss of the habitat.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

04 April 2013

African Conservation Foundation strengthens ties with ERuDeF

Posted in News, Views 1207

Develops tourism potentials for conservation and sustainable development

Arend De Haas adressing cultural groups on intergrating culture and conservation

The African Conservation Foundation has consolidated the professional relationship with the Cameroon conservation organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation and established plans with the organization towards making Cameroon a tourist destination. The Executive Director of ACF, Arend De Haas was in Cameroon to improve on the International Volunteering Program which recruits volunteers worldwide to partake in the Cross River Gorilla expedition in the Lebialem Highlands. The team spent time in Bechati participating in the Wildlife Advocacy week which brought hundreds of students and pupils together declaring to be next generation conservation watchdogs. Time was also spent with ERuDeF's biomonitoring team in the Proposed Tofala Wildlife Hill sanctuary on a Cross River Gorilla expedition. During this time, an ecotourism scoping study was conducted as well.

Speaking shortly before his departure, Mr. Arend expressed satisfaction for the work in conservation ERuDeF is doing. ACF will continue to work in close collaboration with ERuDeF towards developing tourism potentials. To this effect, he championed the organization of a cultural dance in Buea, which aimed at integrating conservation and culture.

The African Conservation Foundation it would be recalled is a UK registered charity working towards the protection and conservation of Africa's endangered wildlife and their habitats. Founded in 1999, ACF fills a unique niche by creating an Africa-wide network for information exchange and capacity building of conservation efforts in the region. ACF helps links African conservation initiatives groups and NGOs with the aim of strengthening their capacities, building partnerships and promoting effective communication and co-ordination of conservation efforts.

By Mahah Vladimire

04 April 2013

Giant palm oil factory inaugurated in the Mak/Betchou forest area

Posted in News, Views 1121

Giant palm oil factory inaugurated in the Mak/Betchou forest area
A palm oil producing factory with the capacity of producing up to two tons of palm oil a day has been installed in Essoh Attah village. The palm oil mill was installed on March 1 by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation,(ERuDeF) in a ceremony that brought together traditional authorities and communities around the proposed Mak/Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, and the staff of ERuDeF. Speaking during this ceremony, an Abebue Village notable, Mr. Daniel Morfow, representing the traditional ruler of Abebue, His Royal Highness Chief Fobesong, thanked ERuDeF and her partner organizations for choosing his community out of many other communities to install the oil mill. He wished they could be given trucks to aid in the transportation of palm nuts to the factory and palm oil to the market pledging to support ERuDeF in conserving threatened wildlife species and protecting the forest (the Mak/Betchou forest). On his part, the traditional ruler of Essoh Attah village, HRM, Fon Foreke, overwhelmed with joy, implored the people to extend palm plantations and limit their rate of invading the forest. “This oil mill has come to help us produce palm oil in large scale, sell, send our children to school and improve our standard of living. So we must take advantage of this, collaborate with ERuDeF and divert our attention from hunting wildlife to concentrating our palms” he reiterated. The traditional ruler further expressed his gratitude to ERuDeF and partners for “thinking about the people of this forest area” pleading that subsidiary industries be created to convert the end products of the oil mill to other marketable products like soap and kernel oil. Being the first of its kind in this forest area, village palm oil producers could not help but thank ERuDeF and its partners especially given the laborious, energy and time consuming nature of the traditional method of palm oil they used before now . “We want to say a big thank you to ERuDeF for this Palm oil mill. Our lifestyles can never be the same. We would no longer waste time in boiling, pounding, and washing palm nuts to produce oil again. ” Nketa Pauline, a village Palm oil producer testified (in Pidgin English). Another village palm oil producer, Pa Nkemdong Boniface, while praising ERuDeF for this novelty, recalled the inconveniences of the old traditional system of palm oil production. “The traditional system used to cause us chest and waste pain because it was very stressful and cumbersome. I am sure that with this new system, our health system will be improved upon….in fact chest and waste pains will be issues of the past” he added. The traditional ruler of Alasoeh Village, His Royal Highness Chief Fualasoeh, on his part, expressed his desire for ERuDeF to also establish a branch of their micro-finance institution, the Biodiversity Community Trust, in Mak/betchou. He said given that the oil mill will increase income, the micro finance institution is necessary for saving. Reacting to these, the CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi appreciated the people for their collaboration this far adding that the oil mill has come to support the project for the conservation of great apes in the Mak/Betchou forest areas like Chimpanzees and gorillas. Louis Nkembi told the local population that the palm oil factory has come to assist in reducing the pressure they exert on the habitat of wildlife, and to generate more jobs to people who live and depend on forest resources. He equally advised the people of this forest area to sustainably manage the mill. “This project is not for personal ends but to support communities and the conservation of natural resources in the area so that the income coming from the mill will generate more projects for people from this area.” Mr. Louis reminded. According to the ERuDeF Project Coordinator, Mr. Forbe Hudo, the project which stands at the tune of 12 million francs can bring about up to 60 percent increase in palm oil production if used cautiously. The installation of this oil mill it would be noted brings the total of oil mills to four including the one in Bechati pending installation within the Lebialem Highlands conservation complex. By Betrand N. Shancho
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