Some seven Upper Bayang communities within the Tofala-Mone Rainforest Corridor including the Bakumba, Ayukaba, Chinda, Egbemo, Kendem, Bokwa, and Etoko communities have been trained on how to use the Global Forest Watch Application (Forest watcher), installed in smart phones in monitoring deforestation activities around the Tofala-Mone East Corridor.
They were trained during a six day capacity development workshop organised recently in the Upper Bayang Subdivision by the African Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).
Aimed at providing local communities with tools to maximize the efficiency, effectiveness and equity of enforcement and forest policy intervention in the conservation corridor, the Upper Bayang communities were schooled on how to establish effective community forest monitoring by integrating Forest Watcher and Participatory 3-Dimensional Modeling (P3DM) in conducting locally informed and watcher-guided forest surveys to collect and validate deforestation and forest degradation activities in communities and state forests within the Cameroon highlands eco-region.
Forest Watcher according to ACF Director, Mr. Arend de Haas, is an application which is installed in smart phones for the detection of deforestation sites with the aid of satellite images.
During the workshop, these community members were engaged in practical exercises to deepen their understanding of the forest watcher and P3DM applications. Data were collected on deforestation alerts and validated by the community members using both the forest watcher and P3DM applications.
At the end of the training, the smart phones were handed to the community members, who expressed gratitude to ERuDeF and ACF while promising to use the skills acquired and the smart phones in fighting against continuous illegal forest activities in the Tofala-Mone East Corridor.
“The skills I have acquired on using the forest watcher App will help to easily track deforestation activities within this forest area and report for appropriate actions to be taken. With this App, I can have the direction and the distance of the deforestation zone from my position” Mr. Ashu Simon Taku, one of the workshop participants stated.
Mr. Simon Ashu, like his friends from other communities at the workshop, said with such training and monitoring device, the independent monitoring of proposed community forest blocks in the area will be easier and illegal logging activities will easily be detected.
The workshop was attended by MINFOF officials, traditional rulers and representatives from the Bakumba, Ayukaba, Chinda, Egbemo, Kendem, Bokwa, and Etoko communities.
By Floribert Assongacap