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07 April 2017

Chiefs, Communities Throw Weight Behind Creation Of Proposed Mt. Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve

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 Chiefs, Communities Throw Weight Behind Creation Of Proposed Mt. Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve

Chiefs and other stakeholders of communities adjacent to Mount Muanenguba, have pledged total support for the creation of the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral and Ecological Reserve. They took the resolution, Friday March 10, 2017 in Nkongssamba, Moungo Division, Littoral Cameroon, during a workshop to introduce and engage key actors in conservation activities that will soon go operational within Mount Muanenguba.

According to the Chiefs, creating an Integral and Ecological Reserve at Mount Muanenguba will positively affect the people living adjacent to this biodiversity hotspot.

“From all indications the project will be beneficial to the local population if realised. We are ready to work with all facilitators to ensure the sustainability of the project,” chief Ekwennongene Alexis from Moeba village said.

They recognised the adverse effects of human activities on this proposed protected area.

“Activities of our fellow villagers have greatly affected the biodiversity of the mountain. Most of them are farmers and hunters, they encroach into the forest and carryout mass destruction. This project will not only bring our communities to the lamplight, it will also conserve the flora and fauna of the area,” another chief said.

Speaking during the workshop, the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) for Moungo, Littoral of Cameroon, Kevin Etengeneng Oben, advised the chiefs and elites present to strengthen collaboration with the government and conservation Non-Governmental Organisations in protecting the rich biodiversity of the emblematic Mount Muanenguba. He urged the people’s representatives to sensitise the communities on government’s plans and the need for general participation for effective execution.

“Our country is highly blessed with biodiversity, we talk about plants and animals species. Mount Muanenguba prides itself with rich animal and plant species, found nowhere else in the world. For example, 270 bird species are found on that mountain, and of the number, 44 are found nowhere in the world. So that alone is enough reason for us to jealously protect our heritage. With that, I call on the main stakeholders to collaborate with government and the NGOs in making the dream of transforming the mountain into an integral ecological reserve. That alone, will be a great thing for the people and the country as a whole,” the SDO said.

Mount Muanenguba which cuts across the Southwest and Littoral regions of Cameroon is said to have a heterogeneous Ecosystem, harbouring 1000 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 restore the degraded landscape of this mountain.

According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CAMHERP-CBF, Dr Nono Gonwouo, the creation of the Integral and Ecological Reserve would not only conserve this rich biodiversity and ecosystem, but will equally protect and preserve their cultural heritage found on the mountain. To him, if the project is effectively realised, the mountain will serve as a touristic site, hence, creating employment opportunities for the local communities. The adjacent population would also benefit from alternative sources of livelihood to distract them from activities that deplete the forest.

For his part, the President and CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, said ERuDeF will act as the field technician by providing its expertise in protected area creation and development. On the other hand, CAMHERP-CBF would bring in its experience and research accrued from past activities carried out on amphibians and other reptiles. He assured the population the project will effectively be executed, with the firm participation of the communities. Responding to worries from participants on fears of leap start and paralysing end with little or no results attained, the ERuDeF boss underscored the fact that the project will be be executed with the local population benefiting from its fallouts.

A technical working team was put in place comprising of ERuDeF and CAMHERP- CBF staff with facilitation from the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife of Littoral. The team will follow up the steps for the creation of Mount Muanenguba Integral and Ecological Reserve and also report its activities to all stakeholders involved in this project quarterly. It will also sensitise the community on the creation, and identify priority needs of the population that will eventually bring income from alternative sources of livelihood. Preceding the meeting, a socioeconomic survey as well as village census was carried out.

The workshop was graced with the participation of traditional and administrative authorities, elites, and the two concerned NGOs. The project is expected to see the light of day in the next three years.

By Joyce Mbong

07 April 2017

ERuDeF, Citadel For Women Advancement

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ERuDeF, Citadel For Women Advancement

Meet 30year old Prudence Payong Maquise, Director of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development (DAgfAD) at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), one of the topmost and privileged positions in the organisation. Miss Payong Marquise elevated at ERuDeF from a very humble beginning some seven years ago, has through patience and determination contributed enormously to the growth of the Organisation.

Prudence Payong was hired by ERuDeF on January 18, 2010 as a junior staff integrated to the Trees for the Future Cameroon programme. Even with a meagre stipend for a probation period of six months, she humbled herself and learned every bit of work that would enhance her growth in the Organisation. As an intern, the workaholic lady pushed through her way to a regular staff, before becoming everyone’s favourite. Her commitments, dedication and determinations, caught the admiration of many, including partners and other colleagues who recommended her to hierarchy for promotion. She was first appointed the Southwest coordinator of Agroforestry projects before moving to West and Littoral Regions, where she created and pioneered Agroforestry project coordination. In June 2016, Miss Payong was promoted to the rank of interim Director of DAgfAD, before eventually appointed, full time director in January 2017.

According to the President and Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, the Organisation looks forward to scoring the gender 50-50 parity by 2020. He underscored that from his experience and empirical analysis, women are better conservationists and managers to men. He opined that there’s going to be a time in the world where women are going lead all if not, most international conservation organisations.

In an interview with the COO, Mm Ursula Nkeng, she said women have successfully driven the goal of ERuDeF to a new level. She affirmed that going by the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations, gender equality at the place of work is near realisation at ERuDeF. She used the opportunity to send a clarion call to the women at ERuDeF in particular and the womenfolk in general, to be assiduous, committed and determined in every activity they indulge in. That according to her, will skyrocket them to higher heights, placing them at the pinnacle of success.

The 2017 edition of the International Women’s Day, celebrated on Wednesday March 8 across the world, was another opportunity giving the womenfolk to pause and take a look at their achievements while advocating for more from the society. This year’s celebrations took place under the theme “Women in the Changing Place of Work, Planet 50-50 by 2030.”

By Yanick Fonki

07 April 2017

Editorial: Saving Species And Wild Places, Creating Impact

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Editorial: Saving Species And Wild Places, Creating Impact

The world is witnessing an unprecedented decline in species numbers, habitat degradation and destruction caused by the unprecedented human pressure being manifested by wars civil strife, famine and poverty.

The increasing composite nature of the human pressure is accelerating the destruction of the last globally threatened species and their last ranges and habitats.

This is characterised by the increasing isolation of protected areas and biodiversity hotspots across all the continents of the world.

In Cameroon, the national non-profit conservation organisation, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), has been leading since 2003, the battle to save the last threatened biodiversity species and their habitats throughout Cameroon.

This battle by ERuDeF is manifested through the saving of the last wild places for the cross river gorillas in SW Cameroon, for the Western lowland gorillas in East Cameroon, for the world’s largest frogs in littoral (Mt Nlonako) and SW (Mt Muanenguba), the endangered birds of Mt Bamboutos in Western Cameroon as well as the ecologically fragile ecosystems of Mt Bamboutos and the Adamawa plateau ( ecosystems that supply over 90% of Cameroon’s water and energy), restoration of the endangered Microberlina bisulcata in the Mt Cameroon National Park.

While the role of international Non-Governmental Organisation cannot be over emphasized in providing the overall lead in saving the last threatened species and wild places, their numerical strength has not been able to cause or reverse this the decline of these species nor withstand or stop this rapid continuous decline often leading to the local extinction like the case of the Rhinos recently declared in 2011 in Cameroon to be extinct.

It is at this point that the role of the national conservation organization as well as the impact cannot be neglected.

As the leading national conservation organization in Cameroon, ERuDeF has been pushing the government to realize the need to gazette more protected areas and provide more protection or restriction that will lead to the conservation of the last ranging species of the Fauna and Flora.

ERuDeF is also at the fore front of a new initiative called the Cameroon Corridor Initiative. This initiative seeks to link the increasingly isolated protected areas and biological populations. Such initiatives include; the Tofala Mone Corridor, the Deng Deng National Park Dja Reserve Corridor and the NW Chimpanzee Conservation Corridor.

While protected areas and conservation corridors seek to provide direct benefits to the species and their habitats, the human population living adjacent to these areas, derive substantial benefits from the development of livelihoods and other community development initiatives being introduced in local communities by local conservation organizations.

These benefits are evident in the change of livelihoods and improved incomes of these communities. Statistics gathered from these communities show that, the over 400 beehives installed has in 2016 improved farmers livelihoods by 65% as compared to 35% in 2015, in the palm oil sector, the farmers have had 7,626,000 million increase in their incomes in the last 2 years. Also, out of over 40 women trained in local soap making, close to 30 now depend on it for the upkeep of their families.

07 April 2017

ERuDeF Gifts New Toilet To Abebue Community, Lebialem Division

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ERuDeF Gifts New Toilet To Abebue Community, Lebialem Division

Pupils of Government Primary School, GPS, Abebue, in the Essoh-Attah Fondom, can now comfortably ease themselves, thanks to the construction of a state of the art modern toilet. The six room rest room saw the light of day in December 2016, barely a month after the project was launched in the community.

According to the Head teacher of the primary school, Mr Ndiambu Wenceslaus Mbuoh, the modern toilet will create a conducive learning environment for the pupils, whom according to him, trekked for a few miles to ease themselves, during school hours.

“We are so grateful for the construction of this modern toilet. It has always been in our agenda that a befitting toilet is needed for our school. Many pupils during class lessons, take permission to go ease themselves. Because the move far away to the bush to do so, they come back either when the lesson is over, or they missed a lot. Some of them have even been a victim of reptile bites, or grass cut,” Mr Mbuoh said.

Another teacher, Mr Mbuh Richard, was indifferent in appreciation. He went further to state that the creation of the toilet will equally serve the community adjacent to the school a great purpose. He indicated that often times, villagers who come around the school after school hours, deposit in large lumps, faeces on benches and classrooms.

“I wish to highly express my gratitude to ERuDeF for this wonderful project carried out in our community. This toilet will serve pupils, teachers, examination officials from Menji and Buea and ELECAM officials during elections. This is a major step to improve on environmental protection, hygiene and sanitation in the area,’’ Mr Mbuh stated.

For his part, the chief of Abebue, HRH Fualasueh Peter Tendong, indicated that the toilet will not only improve on the health of the children but even that of the community of Abebue. Parent will equally save the money they use to spend on heath and invest for the future of their offspring as well as their wellbeing.

“We Abebue population are very proud of the quality of toilet infrastructure. The work done has greatly improved on Abebue community image who always offer their best by investing in the development of the village. We will remain grateful to ERuDeF and will invest all our energy to make sure the Abebue population understands the concept of biodiversity conservation and community development,’’ Chief Fualasueh Peter Tendong said.

The project carried out with the full participation of Abebue Community members saw villagers supplying ground blocks, sand, gravel, wood for toilet flooring, roofing and doors. Worth mentioning is the fact that Abebue village is found in Essoh-Attah Fondom. The Fondom is among the principal communities located adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. Construction of toilets is part of activities carried out by the Educational and Sustainable Development (ESD) activities carried out by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) aimed at providing social amenities to adjacent communities so they would not pressure the protected area.

Speaking after the construction of the toilet, the project head, and coordinator of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme, Mr Samuel Ngueping, said the transportation of materials to construct the toilet was a challenging one. He however indicated that the collaboration and excitement of the Abebue people facilitated the entire process. He alluded to the fact that ever since the toilet was constructed, many people in the community are paying much attention to the teaching of conservation information.

The construction of toilets in schools create conducive learning environments in communities adjacent to protected areas and give more appetite to the younger generation to aspire for quality education rather than carry out activities that would contribute to biodiversity depletion.

The project was carried out in collaboration with the TUSK TRUST Fund.

07 April 2017

Gazetting Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary: Nkongho-Mbo villages Identify Priority Projects

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Gazetting Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary: Nkongho-Mbo villages Identify Priority Projects

Mass scale Cassava production, Piggery farming, Palm oil production, Poultry and apiculture farming, are five agriculture priority projects selected by some ten villages adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. The projects which they indicated will improve on their household income, also serve as alternatives to mounting pressure on the proposed protected area. The socioeconomic survey conducted recently across the ten villages of Upper and Lower Mbo, witnessed an excited population, willing to embrace conservation of their flora and fauna. The ten villages, 7 in Upper-Mbo, and 3 in Lower Mbo, included Njungo, Ngientu, Fonki, Lebe, Lebock, Nzeleted and Mbemfe villages, Fonven, Mbetta and Dinte villages.

According to the villagers, being closer to the forest, coupled with their low financial power, most of them choose farming and hunting, as the best means for survival. They embraced government’s intention to gazette the forest to a protected area.

“I have been in this area for the past 48 years. My entire generation lived here and all we have been doing is hunting. I think I would have been doing something different if I had the money. Thanks to this initiative, I would be having my piggery and poultery farm,” Epah Jonathan, a hunter in Ngientu village said.

“We are so happy government is intending to make this our forest a protected area. More to that, we shall also be served with a series of livelihood projects to improve on our income and deter us from the forest. It’s a good initiative, we all embraced,” Frida Ekung, a farmer in Dinte village stating.

The priority projects identification phase facilitated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), saw its Livelihood and Economic Development (LED) staff go across the various villages, sensitising them on alternative sources of livelihood other than hunting and destruction of threatened species. With great aim of integrating each community adjacent to the proposed protected area, in the recently launched conservation finance model duped Community Conservation and Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) Initiative, the LED staff explained is an initiative aimed at providing funding opportunities to local communities as a way of improving their livelihoods, scaling up development and diverting communities’ attention from the forest. All of that according to the economic experts, will be done without hunting or farming that destroy threatened species.

According to the conservation finance officer of ERuDeF, Kuddus Njang, the identification phase will eventually lead to comprehensive selection of three harmonised priority projects, common to the ten villages.

“These five identified projects will later be put in a table for a tally to select three most common projects in the ten villages so as to carryout capacity building training in the production, transformation and marketing of the products chosen. Also, in each of the projects chosen, value chain will be established so as to determine the value added at each stage of production in the chain,” Kuddus Njang said.

He added that the identification phase will lead to the development of the earmarked projects and eventual handing over to the communities.

“After the prioritization of these projects and capacity building conducted, the chosen projects will then be supported and setup in the respective villages by ERuDeF to improve on the livelihoods of the inhabitants especially those adjacent to the protected areas,” Kuddus said.

The identification of village-based livelihood projects is among a series of activities carried out by ERuDeF in its effort to facilitate the gazetting of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. The proposed protected area covers over 7000 hectares forest area. It is host to some 300 Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzees, 100 forest elephant, Drills, Cross River gorilla, bush baby, Blue duiker, Red River hog, red eared monkey and Mona monkey amongst others. The area is also home to some unknown plant species as well as globally threatened birds species like the Cameroon montane greenbul, crossley’s ground thrush, Bangwa forest warbler, Green breasted bush shrike and Red headed picathartes. Contiguous to the Bayang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, this biodiversity hotspot is surrounded is surrounded by close to seven fondoms, with three located in the Lebialem Division, and the rest in the Kupe Muanenguba Division

By Njang Quddus

07 April 2017

ERuDeF Officially Launches New Branch In UK

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ERuDeF Officially Launches New Branch In UK

The President and Chief Executive of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi, wishes to inform all his partners, friends of ERuDeF, sympathisers, members and staff of the Organisation of the official launching of ERuDeF-UK. The grandeur occasion took place on March 18, 2017 in Newcastle, United Kingdom at the University of Newcastle.

The ceremony was attended by over 200 people from across the UK and abroad. Featuring in the launching, were speeches from the ERuDeF-UK chairperson, Dr John Michael Daniels, President and Chief Executive officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, Representative of Women and Trustee, Lucia Nkembi. West African folklore dances, Cameroon dances and songs, a ballroom dance, and auction sales, also spiced the occasion. On March 19, 2017, students of the Department of Biological Sciences received lectures from the ERuDeF team, before the pioneer ERuDeF-UK Board of Trustees meeting was held.

The first major projects that launched immediately are; the construction of the Research and Ecotourism Centre in Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Besali, the women and education project, and the management of Cross River Gorilla in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. A five year strategy plan will be completed in the months ahead.

Louis Nkembi is very excited with this new milestone achieved and heartily congratulates all those who have made this possible, especially the UK team led by John Daniels and Kellie Daniels and the Cameroon team led by Louis Nkembi and the Chief Operating Officer at ERuDeF, Ms Ursula Nkeng.

Additional information could be obtained from www.crossrivergorillaproject.co.uk .

How It All Started

On February 1, 2013, one John Michael Daniels arrived Cameroon to visit ERuDeF. John Daniels, a retired teacher turned conservationist decided to embark on a one month long trip in Africa to study the Cross River gorillas in then proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands.

John Daniels joined the ERuDeF conservation team as an international volunteer with the full support of his wife Anne. Staying at the foot of Tofala Hill, John Daniels studie1d the socio-ecology of the Cross River gorillas. This study led him to develop very strong ties with the critically endangered African Primates. Besides that, he also studied the biodiversity and abundance of butterflies of Tofala.

This led to the publication of the first book on butterflies of Tofala Hill by John Daniels in 2015. John Daniels is one of the 72 key persons who wrote to the prime minister in 2013 urging the Cameroon government to quicken the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014.

In 2015, with my visit to UK, John Daniels and I formally resolved to create the ERuDeF UK branch with base in Newcastle. Since 2015 till date, both the President and Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF and John Daniels have been working on the UK project, which culminated in the election of the ERuDeF UK committee in October 2016 and its official launching in March 2017.

The launching of the ERuDeF UK with John Daniels as its pioneer chairperson marks the first major milestone in the international development of ERuDeF.

John Daniels joined the international volunteering Programme that is part of the joint partnership between the African conservation Foundation and ERuDeF.

ERuDeF’s team of scientists first discovered a sub population of cross river gorillas in 2004 and since then Tofala has been the centre of conservation science, research and advocacy. This resulted in the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014.

07 April 2017

ERuDeF Pays Last Respect To Vice President

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ERuDeF Pays Last Respect To Vice President

It was a lamentation Saturday March 4, 2017, when the Environment and Rural Development (ERuDeF) family, flanged by a cross section of mourners and well-wishers thronged Babong-Bamumbu Village, Wabane, Lebialem Division of the Southwest Region, to pay last homage to the Organisation’s Vice President, Leku Francis Azenaku.

The massively attended funeral ceremony brought Babong-Bamumbu to a literal halt with all routes leading to the deceased compound. Also in attendance, was a high level delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, headed by Minister Henri Eyebe Ayissi.

The ERuDeF delegation headed by the Senior Director of Administration and Human Resources, Charles Tangie, and Director of Programmes and Planning, George Nkemka, paid their last respect to the deceased with condolence messages to the mourning family.

Speaking on behalf of ERuDeF to the family of late Francis Leku, delegation head, Charles Tangie said the deceased was an active and lucrative member of ERuDeF until his death. According to him, serving an organisation for over seventeen years since its creation as Vice President, late Francis Leku, contributed enormously to the growth of ERuDeF.

He apologised for the unavoidable absence of ERuDeF President and Chief Executive Officer, Louis Nkembi, and Chairperson of Board of Directors, Akemka Eric. Some gift donations in cash and kind, were handed the family of Menkemakeu on behalf of ERuDeF by the delegation.

Besides ERuDeF, Late Francis Leku served as Director of Regulations and Quality Control (DRCQ) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), a position he held until death.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry, the Secretary General, Mr Mvondo Na’a Patrick, said the death of Francis Leku came as a shock to the MINADER family, as he was very active even to the point of death. He described the deceased as being an exceptional staff and collaborator. Competent, productive, and result oriented. Another collaborator, Doh Bertha Bakata, Special Adviser at the Prime Minister’s Office, said the late Francis Leku was an asset to the Southwest Region. She said the deceased played a pivotal role in the socioeconomic development of the Bakassi Peninsula, especially in the field of Agriculture.

Late Francis Leku who died at the age of 48, held a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering, and Masters in Water Resources Management. Besides his professional career, the deceased held a top most recognised title in his village. He was popularly known to his people as His Royal Highness, Chief Fossung. He leaves behind a wife, Irene Leku Akem, and five children.

By Yanick Fonki Ndeley

01 March 2017

Communities Use Forest Watcher To Detect Deforestation In Upper Bayang

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 Communities Use Forest Watcher To Detect Deforestation In Upper Bayang

Forest Watcher is the Global Forest Watch (GFW)’s application, which helps in the determination of the cause(s) and intensity of deforestation and degradation. The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), with the support of GFW, recently installed this app in smart phones of community members in the Upper Bayang Subdivision. With the application installed, community members were able to determine the exact cause and intensity of deforestation and forest degradation in and around their community forests.

The application accurately directed the local community members to deforestation and forest degradation sites by indicating the exact distances and directions of the sites.

Meticulously, following the direction indicated by the Application in the smart phones, community members during the forest monitoring process were able to locate different deforestation and degradation sites in their community forest area and identify the cause of the deforestation or forest degradation.

Agriculture for instance was reported as the principal cause of deforestation and forest degradation in some seven communities in Upper Bayang sub-division after a community-led forest monitoring process carried out by some community members in Etoko, Chinda, Kendem, Egbemo, Bakumba and Ayukaba.

During the monitoring process, 51 deforestation/forest degradation sites were recorded. Out of the 51 deforestation sites validated, 41 (80.39%) were reported to be caused by agricultural activities that is farms and plantations. It was also noted that, most of the farms are dominated by palms and cocoa. In addition, 4 (7.84%) deforestation sites were reported to be caused by bush fire, 3 (5.88 %) due to logging and 3 (5.88 %) others as a result of human settlement.

These data is not only important to community members, but to the forestry administration, environment/conservation NGOs and GFW. It will help community members, the forestry administration and environment/conservation NGOs to take informed decisions as concerns the sustainable management of the forest land.

Transferred on the participative 3 dimensional model (P3DM) map, it will serve as a platform to all stakeholders, for communication and management of the community forest land.

Given that remote sensed data does not actually give information about what is happening on the ground (the cause of deforestation), the data collected and validated by the local community members have helped upgrade GFW data by ground truthing.

While GFW uses satellite images as their eyes on the sky, the community members are thus serving as the eyes on the ground.

The Forest Watcher Application came within the framework of a project co-supported by GFW aimed at providing long term conservation to the unique biodiversity of the tropical forest of Upper Bayang through a community and municipal collaborative management approach, involving the local communities, the municipal government and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in the long-term management of this forest corridor.

By Deh Nji & Adeline Tengem

01 March 2017

Workplan for Development Of Tofala Management Plan Established

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 Workplan for Development Of Tofala Management Plan Established

A Workplan outlining activities that will speed-up the elaboration and validation of a Management Plan for the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) has been instituted. It was established, Saturday February 18, 2017 during a meeting grouping stakeholders charged with the setting up of ground works that will eventually see the institution of the plan. The stakeholders constituted socioeconomic and forest technocrats from the Southwest Delegation of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF-SW) and the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

According to the Workplan, the technical team will carry out production of detailed mapping, micro-zoning, socioeconomic, cultural and scientific studies, as well as come out with the situational analysis of the sanctuary. All the studies will be submitted to MINFOF-SW, and ERuDeF. The studies will all be assembled and a draft management plan established. Thereafter, a letter of preparedness will be sent to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF). The months of March and April 2017, were set as deadlines for all the activities in the Workplan to be carried out.

During the meeting, participants were served with four presentations x-raying the socioeconomic, cultural and scientific potentials the sanctuary possesses. The presentations included a write-up on the administrative process and procedures for the development and elaboration of management plan in Cameroon, wildlife studies, sensitisation, and conservation education around local communities, in the Wildlife Sanctuary, socioeconomic studies in the Lebialem Hills complex, amongst others.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, the Southwest Chief of Wildlife and Protected areas, Mr Nono Joseph, called on the stakeholders charged with different functions in the Workplan to be assiduous, steadfast, and committed to the assignments. He expressed his readiness and that of his ministry to be at the forefront of every tasks that will eventually lead to the realisation of the Workplan. For her part, the Chief Operating Officer of ERuDeF, Mm Ursula Nkeng, stressed on all to respect the deadlines assigned so everything will go as planned. She indicated that the administration of ERuDeF will put all necessary resources together so the Workplan could be realised.

The meeting ended with all participants promising to work in their different field so by the end of March 2017, all technical activities must have been carried out.

By Yanick Fonki

01 March 2017

Discover Mt Bamboutos:

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Cameroon’s Key Watershed with High Biodiversity Near Extinction

Discover Mt Bamboutos:

Mount Bamboutos, which is part of the Cameroon Highlands Forest, represents a key watershed, supplying at least one third of water feeding the major hydro-power system in Cameroon at Edea. It is the second most important water tower (hydrological basin) in Cameroon, after the Adamawa Plateaux. The Mountain, which is the third highest peak in West Africa (2,740 metres high), after Mount Cameroon (4,100 metres high) and Mount Oku (3,100 metres high) respectively, gives rise to several rivers and lakes across the country including the Mbam and Mifi rivers. River Noun, which is the main source of the Bamendjin Dam and Lake Bambalang; River Manyu that drains into the Cross River, and Menoua that drains into Nkam and Wouri rivers, all stem from this mountain. It is also the principal source of drinking water for West, Southwest, Northwest, and part of Littoral Cameroon.

Designated by the Cameroon Government in 2009 as a proposed Integral Ecological Reserve, Mt Bamboutos constitutes part of the Cameroon Mountains Endemic Bird Area having a high degree of endemism and biodiversity. Some very important biodiversity species restricted to piedmont of this ecosystem include but limited to the primate Preuss' Monkey(Allochrocebus preussi preussi), Coopers Mountain Squirrel(Paraxerus cooperi), the Banded wattle-eye,(Platysteira laticincta) and Bannerman’s Turaco, (Tauraco bannermani) as well as green monkeys. Other species include the endangered Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglotes ellioti).

This ecosystem also plays host to viable populations of species from many taxa, especially insects, plants, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and many bird species most of which have not received any scientific studies.

Besides its biodiversity uniqueness, this mountain remains the only ecosystem in the country cutting across three administrative Regions including West, South West and North West, involving over 20 villages with a population of 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Most of these people depend on the mountain and its biodiversity content for their livelihoods; they practice slash-and-burn agriculture and clear the forest to make way for farmland leading to high rates of deforestation, destruction of water catchments, disappearance of fuelwood and loss in soil fertility. The Mt Bamboutos landscape today constitute the largest market gardening location in Cameroon.

For instance, the Mt Bamboutos that used to host a substantial population of Prunus Africana, has in under 20 years lost the totality of this population due to a very high unsustainable exploitation of the plant by both industrial companies and individuals.

The aftermath of these myopic anthropogenic activities was a landslide in 2003, which killed 20 persons displacing over 3000 and destroying livestock, farmlands and other valuable possessions worth over US$420.

Since 2003, there has been a number of interventions by both the Cameroon Government via its Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, and national NGOs including the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and Africa Centre for Research in Renewable Energy (ARCREST), to save the biodiversity and ecosystem of this mountain.

For instance since 2007, MINFOF has in line with her National Reforestation Programme, supported the reforestation of the Bamboutos flank of the mountain through her Regional Delegation in Bafoussam, West Region.

Meanwhile, ERuDeF has since 2005 been carrying out various reforestation, conservation and natural resource management projects in this area. The organisation between 2009 and 2011 carried out a survey on the plants, birds and wildlife of Mount Bamboutos. In 2005, ERuDeF with support from the International Tree Foundation, reforested the Fomenji-Magha flank of the mountain with over 5,000 trees. This was followed by another tree planting programme in 2013 by the organisation with support from Lea Nature, which has seen the planting of over 25.000 trees still along the Fomenji-Magha flank of the mountain.

With support from the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Mane Foundation, Man & Nature and the French Embassy, ERuDeF has since 2012 been executing a pilot programme on the implementation of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative in Cameroon under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED).

On her part, ACREST with the support of IUCN is supporting a small scale reforestation scheme on a section of the mountain from the Bamboutos Division, since 2004.

Since 2003, no major conservation development programme has been ongoing but for the conservation of the Cross River gorillas and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees carried out by ERuDeF in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, created in 2014.

The efforts of the government and these NGOs are laudable but not aggressive enough to induce the rapid conservation and restoration needs of this emblematic mountain.

The restoration these 19,000 mountain ecosystem requires the planting of at least 15 million trees. This amounts to some CFA2.25 billion (US$3.750).

By Bertrand Shancho

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