[one_third][/one_third]A total of 42 Village Forest Management Committee (VFMC) members adjacent to the proposed Mt Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve have been drilled on collaborative forest management.
Facilitating NGOs, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and the Cameroon Herpetological Biological Conservation Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF),trained the VFMCs in a workshop that took place recently in the Mbororo Camp, Mbourokou, Muanenguba I & II, Ekangte and Nsong, Moungo Division, Littoral Cameroon.
Facilitating the training, Wildlife Biologist from CAMHERP-CBF, Ngoe Fai, drilled the participants on biodiversity conservation, explaining how VFMCs are implicated. He also made the participants to understand their role in sustainable forest management.
Another Wildlife Biologist, from ERuDeF, Stanley Acham, briefed the participants on the background of the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve project. According to him, VFMCs have an irreplaceable position in the conservation of biodiversity.
“The roles of Village Forest Management Committees are enormous. VFMCs play lead role in animation and sensitisation, and information gathering and dissemination. They actively participate in the elaboration of the forest management plan as well as in the execution of works in the forest. They are simply our vigilante in the project. They also carryout surveillance and control of the project area,” Stanley said.
The Chief of Wildlife and Protected Areas for Kupe Muanenguba Division, Mekole Gustav Sorele, briefed the participants on forestry laws, classes of species found in the project site stipulating offences and penalties.
On their part, the VFMC members who followed with great attention the various lectures, said the trainings were impactful.
[one_half][/one_half]“This training has made me to understand animals and amphibians. I have understood those species of class A, B and C. I now know that hunting certain species or in commercial quantities one needs a permit. I also know now what the functions of this committee. I want to thank ERuDeF and CAMHERP-CBF for giving me this opportunity and making me to understand what forest management is all about and the development it brings,” said,BebeyEyaman a representative of the youths in Mbourokou
The VFMC members indicated, they will welcome more trainings that will enlighten them on conservation around the proposed protected site.
“I can say the training will help the committee membersto act as agents to sensitise the communities to protect the forest and the threatened and endemic species found in this area,” saidNpoudiNgole Evelyne barea,an external elite of Manegouba II.
The VFMCs promised to respect the wildlife laws and also work with competent authorities so as to conserve the proposed protected area.
“I am glad to be present here today because I have learnt a lot. I pray God should guide us. I have worked in this area for seven years with Dr. Nono on Frogs, Chameleons and lizards. It pleases me because I enjoy doing it. I have learnt we need to work with the chief of post of forestry and not to take the laws in our hand,” indicated Amadou Caromou, a member of the Mbororo Camp VFMC.
Mount Muanenguba, which cuts across the Southwest and Littoral Regions of Cameroon is said to have a heterogeneous Ecosystem, harbouring 100 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles and 270 bird species amongst which 60% of them are endemic. The Mountain with height of 2411 meters above sea level, suffers chronic threats from communities living adjacent to the mountain. Habitat degradation, which involves conversion of natural land for agricultural land through shifting cultivation, destruction of trees for commercial purposes, overgrazing and trespassing of cattle in streams and water ponds, collection of amphibian and reptile species, amongst others, are the main threats rocking the mountain.
Faced with all of these challenges, Cameroon’s leading conservation NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), has joined forces with the Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF) with support from Rain Forest trust to conserve the rich biodiversity and Ecosystem of Mount Muanenguba with focus on Amphibians and Reptiles.
BY STANLEY KHEN