THE CONTRIBUTION OF COMMUNITY-BASED NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT TO LIVELIHOODS, CONSERVATION AND GOVERNANCE IN CAMEROON. A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF THREE COMMUNITY FORESTS IN FAKO DIVISION
By FRU DELVIS NGANG | Department of Development Studies | Development Management and Governance
Community forestry has been widely paraded in academia and development circles in Cameroon as the suitable model for pro poor and pro-forest development. More than two decades after the introduction of this forest management model in natural resource management policy in Cameroon, controversies about its effectiveness abound. Within this backdrop, this study assessed forest use and dependence and contribution of community forestry to livelihood, conservation and governance in three selected community forest localities in Fako Division, South West Cameroon. Primary data was obtained from a structured questionnaire administered to 295 respondents. This was complemented by key informant interviews and field observation. The data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study found that 60.7% of the population use the community forest for livelihood with statistically significant variation (p<0.05) across the selected community forests. The forests were mostly used for fuelwood collection, subsistence farming and NTFPs harvesting among others with no significant variations (p>0.05) observed across the selected communities. The study found out that community forestry has not made any considerable contribution to income, employment, infrastructure and fuel wood availability in the selected community forest localities, even though significant differences (p<0.05) where found across localities. However, it was observed that community forestry has contributed positively to forest stands, wildlife, environmental awareness, adoption of sustainable forest exploitation practices and forest regeneration and has increased community participation in forest decision-making and equity in the sharing of forest resource benefits with significant variations (p<0.05) observed. The study concluded that the community-based natural resources management model has contributed positively to forest conservation and governance, though its contribution to livelihood is still below expectation in the study locality. The study recommended among other policy and further research measures that community forest management committees should pursue value-added and other non-consumptive avenues for income generation so as to improve the livelihood of forest dependent households.
Keywords: Community-based Natural Resources Management, Community Forest, livelihoods, Conservation, Governance, Fako Division. Download