A BASELINE ASSESSMENT OF LAND USE AND LIVELIHOOD PRACTICES OF IN-PARK VILLAGES IN THE KORUP NATIONAL PARK (KNP), SOUTH WEST REGION, CAMEROON
BY: ROSALINE MUJONGE TAMBE | DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES | ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Since the creation of KNP in 1986, stakeholders have faced serious difficulties in designing and implementing successive management plans. One major hurdle has been how to handle human settlements, especially considering the mounting national and international awareness in favor of participatory park management strategies. This work used a situational analysis in three in-park villages (Erat, Esukutan and Bera) to propose areas for permanent use zones (PUZ), as an appropriate alternative to resettlement, for the implementation of the current management plan for the Korup National Park. Socioeconomic data was obtained through the use of questionnaires, focus group discussions, interviews and observations, while land use information was obtained through the use of participatory geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS). Relevant lessons of community based natural resource management were also obtained through desktop review of similar initiatives in Africa. Data was analyzed to determine current land use, social development indicators and livelihood activities within the Park. The results show that the current land uses include: settlement, agriculture, and collection of NTFPs over a total area of 1049ha. 32 ha are utilized for settlement while 443.4 ha are used for the cultivation of both food and cash crops. The communities have an average household size of 5 persons and the three villages have resident populations of 452, 195 and 27 individuals for Erat, Esukutan and Bera respectively. Technical services were mostly absent and social amenities were grossly lacking. The main livelihood activities were hunting, farming and collection of forest products. Income and agricultural productivity were revealed to be low and livelihood within the in-park village was therefore shown to be unsustainable resulting in high pressure on the natural environment. In order to enhance sustainability in this region, land use planning, environmental education, institutional strengthening and enabling environment for CBNRM should be effected.
Keywords: Permanent use zone, situational analysis, land use planning, enabling environment for CBNRM.