[one_third][/one_third]Some community forests in 4 Divisions of the Southwest Region have been selected for the DRYAD Project. DRYAD is a funding mechanism that channels public investment into Community Forestry Enterprises (CFEs) in developing countries.
Launching the project recently at the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), Buea, the Delegate, Mr Dipanda Issolla François, said the sustainable management of community forests by the communities themselves is a very important strategy.
According to him, a community that fully masters her forests can better manage them with the proceeds ploughed back for the development of the community.
The Delegate lauded Implementing Organisation, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), for her timely efforts in conserving biodiversity through sustainable management programmes. He said these efforts have gone a long way to solve many environmental problems in the Southwest Region.
The launching ceremony grouped MINFOF officials from Fako, Kupe-Muanengumba, Manyu and Ndian Divisons; forestry experts and staff of ERuDeF.
The Director of Forestry at ERuDeF, Blessing Limbi Tata, revealed that community forestry is a vital tool for decentralisation. She added that, it is an efficient strategy to achieving sustainable resource management and poverty alleviation.
The ERuDeF Forestry boss said the project will meet the needs of the communities while conserving the biodiversity of the area.
“ERuDeF will protect over 25000ha of forests, ensure long term conservation of wildlife/habitats, create employment for at least 1000 youths, build the capacities of at least 5000 community members, and build a near-real-time system to monitor deforestation and illegal logging” Madam Limbi expounded.
The selected community forest for the first phase of the Dryad Project include: Bakingili, Woteva, and the Bimbia –Bonadikombo in Fako Division; NlORMAC, REPA CIG, MBACOF, Ndissi-Ekep, and the NKONTEH in Kupe Muanenguba; Christain Philantropic/ Itali, and the Mosongisele in Ndian Division, Tinto and Akwen in Manyu Division.
According to the DRYAD Project Coordinator, Sheron Endah, these communities were selected based on the fact that they have signed management conventions.
Community forest management is a concept in forestry where the local community plays a significant role in forest management and land use decision. The sustainable management of forests found in a community is a major tool used by environment stakeholders in conserving the forest hence, preventing illegal and unstainable forest activities.
A financial, economic and environmental cost-benefit analysis of two active community forests carried out in Cameroon by (Beauchamp & Ingram in 2011) revealed that community forests are economically and environmentally profitable.
The project expected to run for five years, is sponsored by the UK Department for International Development with the TMP Systems and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) as partners.