Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project
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28 January 2014

ERuDeF Launches Phase II of the Project: Conservation of threatened treesat Mt Cameroon

Posted in Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project, Views 1797

Stakeholders pose after launching

Supported by UK Charity Fauna & Flora International/Global Tree Campaign Program, the Environment & Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has officially launched the second phase of the project to conserve and restore threatened trees in the Mt. Cameroon area.The launching took place on October 28, at the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, MINFOF, Buea.

This second phase will run from October 2013 to August 2016.

The five-year project, which started in August 2011 and is being carried out by ERuDeF in collaboration with MINFOF South West, entered phase two with over 10,000 new seedlings envisaged in secured areas in the Mt. Cameroon area.

The project covers the Mt. Cameroon area including the adjacent lowland forest of Mokoko Forest Reserve, proposed forest reserves of Onge and Mabeta Moliwe, where most of these threatened trees are found.

Project Coordinator, Asa'a Lemawah, said they aim at inducing a 50% reduction in illegal logging and building the capacity of at least four collaborative communities within the Mt. Cameroon area on sylvi-cultural techniques by 2016.

Asa'a enumerated successes of the first phase including the raising of awareness on project activities and its relevance to members of over 21 communities and other stakeholders, the identification of 17 threatened tree species out of 26 of the IUCN list and establishment of community nurseries at Bomana, Bakingili, Bafia, Bova I and Bonjare with each nursery having a total of about 1.200 seedlings of the threatened trees.

The Coordinator said the project has facilitated the understanding of threatened trees within the Mt. Cameroon National Park.

"Equally, communities which were hitherto ignorant have been sensitized and they now understand that some trees are threatened and need to be conserved. These people have gotten involved in the process and now take care of their community nurseries," Asa'a said.

She said after raising trees and planting them in the wild, the forest adjacent community becomes the owner of the trees.

"The trees will be planted in the farms along the buffer zones of the park and some at the borders of the park to support the need of fuel wood for local people. Farmers will exploit wood from their farms and will not have to invade the national park for wood," said Asa'a. She said the project will equally help farmers increase their income through sustainable exploitation of non-forest timber products (NTFPs), adding that seeds of trees like the afrostyrax commonly referred to as "country onions", a valued condiment in the Cameroon cuisine, would be harvested and sold, thus boosting income of local people.

According to Asa'a, they also raised a 20,000 capacity central tree nursery and community nurseries where a total of over 25.000 of seven threatened tree species have been nursed and will be planted out in natural habitats within buffer zones of the Mt. Cameroon National Park and its borders.

The South West Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Eben Samuel Ebai, commended these achievements and suggested that many more communities be included in the second phase of the project.

Speaking to The Green Vision, ERuDeF CEO, Louis Nkembi, said the project: "Conservation of Threatened Trees at Mt. Cameroon" was developed with the support of major partners like Fauna & Flora International and Global Trees Campaign with a vision to increase the capacity of local stakeholders in the Mt. Cameroon forest area to conserve and restore threatened trees.

Nkembi said the project target was to raise 30.000 seedlings resulting from the fact that Mt. Cameroon was recently identified as a priority for threatened trees with 15 of the country's critically endangered trees like Microberlinia bisulcata (zebrawood), Entandrophragma (mahogany), Prunus Africana (Pygeum) found in the mountain area, which are highly threatened by farmland acquisition, logging and hunting.

"It is in this light that ERuDeF is working with MINFOF regional collaborators to promote the conservation of threatened trees within the Mt. Cameroon area," the ERuDeF boss said.

Meanwhile, the MINFOF Regional Delegate noted that the depletion of biodiversity in the country via indiscriminate harvesting started in 1972 with focus on Prunus Africana. Then just two years ago, the Chinese developed interest in Bobinga.

"1.5 cubic metres of Bobinga was selling at a whooping 1.5 million FCFA cash in Douala. The trend is now moving to the critically endangered zebrawood and there has been massive exploitation in the Mt. Cameroon area," Eben Ebai said.

The Delegate, therefore, called on all stakeholders to intensify efforts and save this wood.

He equally advised that illegal loggers be brought on board so that they can seek ways to reforest Mt. Cameroon's deforested areas.

By Bertrand N. Shancho