This is a joint project of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Groupement D’Appui pour le Development Durable (GADD) and the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST) that seeks to contribute towards the restoration and protection of the Ecosystem functions and biodiversity of Mount Bamboutos while improving on the living conditions of the local population in and around the mountain landscape.
This project was initiated after observation revealed that, Mt. Bamboutos which is an important watershed and a rich biodiversity hotspot in Cameroon for several decades, was undergoing severe degradation leading to water shortages, soil erosion, deadly landslides, low crops yields and poverty in many households around this mountain landscape. It was a two-year project which started in November 2017 and funded by the French Fund for Global Environment-Small Grants Program (FFEM-PPI 5) through the International Union for Conservation of Nature – French Committee.
The project was carried out in three Chiefdoms namely Bafou (Menoua division), Bangang (Bamboutos division) and Bamumbu (Lebialem division) and eight sub-villages which are Ndoh and Mezet (Bafou), Mekoup and Balekeu (Bangang) and Fonenge, Aghong, Atsualah and Magha (Bamumbu) in the Mount Bamboutos landscape. The local population living in the project target villages whose livelihood depends on agricultural activities, benefited from training activities on tree nursery establishment, agroforestry techniques, grafting techniques, tree planting techniques and seedlings transplanting.
About one hundred and twelve thousand (112,000) agroforestry trees were planted in ninety (90) farmers’ fields in the 8 sub-villages in Bafou, Bangang and Bamumbu. These will increase the vegetation cover of the Mount Bamboutos, leading to the restoration of at least 50 hectares of the degraded landscape. Also, three land use governance institutions were put in place and their capacities built on good land use governance. These include the Mount Bamboutos Fons’ Association and two regional platforms for dialogue and consultation -one for the West region and the other for the Southwest region. These have led to a significant increase in land use governance.
The project ended leaving great impacts on the lives of the people and the environment with over 90 farmers (41.7% women) changing their farming methods by engaging and being committed to building a productive ecosystem through tree planting. They have embraced agroforestry as a good ecological system of farming, especially in degraded landscapes. In addition to this, the locals now understand the need to protect riparian forests, community forest lands, sacred forests and water catchment areas.
As a result, they have in a participative manner classified these areas as protected zones in their participative land use zoning plan. More so, the vegetation cover of the project zone of intervention has significantly increased during this period, thanks to the planting of 112, 000 trees in degraded farms. This will further help to increase soil fertility, conserve water, prevent soil erosion/landslides and support wildlife.