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Strengthening the capacity of local Biological Monitors in the effective management of Protected Areas in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex, Cameroon

Strengthening the capacity of local Biological Monitors in the effective management of Protected Areas in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex, Cameroon

[one_third][/one_third]The Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex is rich with endemic biodiversity under threats that include but not limited to poaching, farming and illegal timber exploitation. This complex harbors a protected area (Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary) and two proposed protected areas (Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mount Bamboutos Integral Ecological Reserve).

The major problems in managing the complex and its biodiversity include inadequate law enforcement (few eco guards per unit area), lack of capacity for biodiversity monitoring, lack of equipment for efficient monitoring, lack of infrastructure and lack of sustainable funding. These problems are not in any way insurmountable, and only require moderate amounts of well-targeted investments based on a careful assessment of needs.

Based on needs assessment for the conservation complex it is necessary to involve local biological monitors from the different local communities to protect the already threatened biodiversity. Local communities see the conservation complex as a government owned entity hence, shy away from its management. This has resulted in dwindling natural resources in the protected areas within the complex since harvesting is done unsustainably.

This project seeks to increase local community participation in the conservation of the dwindling biodiversity within the conservation complex for the next 3 years. This will be done through community-oriented biological monitoring both in the Protected and proposed protected areas. This is an innovation in the protected area management in Cameroon.

Existing eco-guards in the conservation complex will be included in the project to build their capacities on present monitoring lapses. This will instill commitment by the local communities to conserve its biodiversity.

If this project is not carried out now, the proposed protected areas might not have any biodiversity to conserve after endorsement.

The specific objectives of the project are to build the capacity of identified local biological monitors on modern biological data collection methods using modern tools like GPS and Cyber tracking, to train the identified local biological monitors on participatory biological data collection in the protected areas, to train the identified local biological monitors of different patrol strategies by government and finally to support the local biological monitors with logistical and financial support to carry out annual biological monitoring in the protected areas.

The project has been estimated to cost US$60000. This amount will be able to involve local biological monitors in the protection of biodiversity in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex in Cameroon for 3 years.

A fundamental priority of global biodiversity conservation efforts is the establishment and management of protected areas; areas with intact natural habitats set aside primarily for protecting species and safeguarding ecosystems. These are the last bastions of nature, and represent mankind’s hope of preserving biodiversity on Earth in the midst of rapid global changes spurred by human action. They are also the only hope for local communities to harness long-term benefits without being marginalized by forces of development

Be part of this innovation in the conservation of biodiversity in Cameroon.

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