[one_third][/one_third]About 90 percent of (Tiger wood) Microberlinia bisulcata, and (Mahogany) Entandrophragma angolenses, transplanted into the wild at Woteva and Bakingili Community Forests have survived.
By Tengem Adeline
Tiger wood and mahogany are some of the threatened trees in the Mt. Cameroon area which ERuDeF is trying to restore in collaboration with the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife.
ERuDeF donated the threatened trees which include (Azobe) Lophira alata, (Pygeum) Prunus africana and (Country onion) Afrostyrax lepidophyllus to communities of Woteva and Bakingili in June 2015 to plant into their respective Community Forests.
The evaluation team comprising ERuDeF Project staff, a university intern and the Community Forest Focal Point of the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, Chiefs and Village Forest Management Committee teams visited the concerned communities November 3 to 7, 2015.
The community heads explained how the community members manage the transplanted trees.
“These trees were planted in two plots; one made up of country onion and the other a combination of Microberlinia and Mahogany. We decided to separate this because country onion serves both as timber and non-timber forest product and we thought it wise to separate it from the timber species,” said Shifuh Genesis, Bakingili community forest assistant.
According to Shifuh, while benefitting from the non-timber country onion, in the longer term, other timber species like Microberlinia and Mahogany will not be destroyed since the plots are separated.
“We have divided ourselves into two groups and monitor the forest even in the evening because we have realized that children hunting for “Congo meat” (snails) in the evening destroy these newly planted trees. So we equally sensitize the children who follow opened transects and destroy the young trees,” Shifuh said.
He said they have weeded around the trees four times since they were planted in June and they hope to continue in that same order till they reach sapling stage.
At Woteva on the eastern flanks of the mountain, the chief, Leti Woloko, said his community is doing its best to make sure the trees survive.
“We have designed a management procedure involving each and every male farmer in the community in such a way that attendance is noted. Anyone who fails to comply with management activities will only have themselves to blame in the long run, because any benefits derived from NTFPS will not consider that household,” Chief Woloko said.
He added, “If you can provide seedlings and still follow us up to the level that you desire to build our capacities for better management of these trees and the forest, then you rely mean to do something in this community because our goal is to carry out regeneration with at least 30,000 trees including timber and non-timber forest products in the next five years.”
Chief Woloko said to let this happen, they need to improve their skills in transects opening so that even the trees that ERuDeF donates can be planted following specific transects to facilitate effective management.
Mbua Peter, a community member devoted to tree planting activities expressed lots of gratitude to ERuDeF for its determination to enrich their forest.
“We who plant the trees do not even know how to collect GPS points and so during monitoring, we suffer a lot when it comes to storing data. Those who did not take part in planting cannot be sent to weed because there is no line of direction since no points were noted,” Mbua said.
Mola Ndumbe Ekema, technical focal point of the Woteva Community Forest, said before their forest can be managed properly, external boundaries have to be traced.
“We have to trace and mark all external boundaries of the forest so as to stop encroachment, which is one of our failures to maintain this forest. So it will be our pleasure if ERuDeF and partners and its local government stakeholders support us with a map of these boundaries,” Ekema said.
Shifuf in Bakingili also expressed the need to use GPS to collect points. He said part of their forest is occupied by Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) but the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife is doing its best to make sure the community recovers most of the forest.
“So there is a need to carve out external boundaries for the production of a map clearly indicating our forest,” Shifuf said.
The Community Forest Officer of Bakingili, who is also the Mayor of Edenau Council, said their forest management team needs training on report writing.
“The Village Forest Management Committees here plant these trees but lack reporting skills. So, there is really the need to train them on report writing and data keeping,” said the Mayor.
The Community Forest Technical Operating Unit of the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife equally appreciated ERuDeF’s effort in supporting the Ministry in implementing most of their activities.
It advised the two communities to collaborate with ERuDeF and contribute enormously towards the realization of their objectives.