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17 October 2016

Community Engagement for the Conservation of Cross Rivers Gorillas and Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees in the Newly Created Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

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 Community Engagement for the Conservation of Cross Rivers Gorillas and Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees in the Newly Created Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

The survival of endangered species and ecosystems depends on long-term participation and understanding of local populations (Oates, 1999). Due to the close relationship between cultural diversity and biodiversity, traditional knowledge systems should play an important role when developing species conservation and management strategies (Caldecott et al., 2005 and Hens 2006). As part of its enormous efforts to conserve the rich biodiversity of Cameroon, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) initiated and facilitated the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS). Prime Ministerial decree number 20145212 of September 29, 2014 finally created it in 2014. This biodiversity hotspot hosts a number of endemic IUCN critically endangered species including but not limited to the Cross River Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla deilhi), the Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes ellioti), Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus); forest Buffalo ( Caffer nanus); important populations of threatened amphibians and plant species. The existence of Government measures on Great Ape Conservation has not guaranteed effective management of this Sanctuary. These wildlife species may even become extinct with increase human activities of the over 30 indigenous communities adjacent to the Sanctuary. The villagers (farmers, poachers, and hunters) are still engaged in logging, mining, agriculture, bush-meat hunting, and the construction of major infrastructure in and around protected areas. Many rural communities still depend on bush-meat hunting for food and for selling in local and urban markets. In addition, the majority of farmers on the periphery or inside the forest practise slash-and-burn agriculture, and the unsustainable exploitation of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). Overgrazing too has exacerbated habitat loss. Therefore, there is a conflict of interest between the conservation of great apes and the livelihood needs of forest-dependent communities. Things are even more compounded because of greed and outright neglect of the local communities and the failure to put them on a dialogue. Thus, to ensure effective management and conservation of the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, the engagement of local communities is paramount.

It is based on these that ERuDeF with its long years of expertise in protected area creation, management and conservation, intends to create a platform that will engaged all communities living around the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary for the conservation of the critically endangered Cross Rivers Gorillas and Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees.

Increase in community engagement through sensitization and alternative livelihood supports will lead to reduced logging, poaching, hunting, and farming in and around the Sanctuary. Consequently, the survival of the rich biodiversity would be guaranteed.

To implement this project, US$ 20,000 will be required for 1 year. US$ 4,000 will be used to organize sensitization workshop with 30 traditional authorities and 50 local community groups around the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. This is to guide a positive conservation outlook for the management of the forest. US$ 3,000 will be used to support conservation-friendly decisions taken by 30 traditional authorities. US$ 5,000 will be used to create, legalise, train, and equip six anti-poaching vigilante groups in villages around the Sanctuary, to track all illegal activities in their villages and surroundings. Finally, US$ 8,000 will be used to support the development of economic opportunities and the introduction of cottage industries. For more information, please go to www.erudef.org

Your timely intervention will not only increase local community engagement, it would save the lives of many species of this rich biodiversity hotspot, which risk extinction because of human activities.

27 September 2016

Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development Initiative Launched

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Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development Initiative Launched

Cooperative Members from some communities adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary have been introduced to a new funding mechanism that enables them efficiently generate income to support local community initiatives and livelihoods.

The funding mechanism dubbed the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) was introduced during a one day workshop on Conservation Finance, which took place, Wednesday September 9th, 2016 at the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife in Buea.

Organized under the theme: “Financing Local Community Integrated Conservation and Development Projects through Community Based Value Chain Development, the President and Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, said the Conservation Finance programme seeks to provide funding opportunities to the local communities as a means to meet up with their different needs, hence, scaling up development in the area.

“This initiative comes to help local communities generate funding through community based financial mechanisms that will support community projects such as water, electricity and other livelihood activities without necessarily waiting on government’s intervention,” Louis Nkembi added

He opined that the mechanism will restructure the local communities to generate revenue around conservation areas. This, to him, will make community members more active and participative in conservation efforts while also improving their livelihoods.

“Local Communities have a number of issues to handle but they are cut short of funding. So, the Conservation finance programme which we are launching will fill this gap. It will provide the necessary funding opportunities that will be managed and controlled by the communities themselves, to enable them improve their wellbeing,” Mr Nkembi said.

Meanwhile participants, who came from different cooperatives in the Nweh and Mbo clans of the Lebialem and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions, were schooled on Value Added Chain Development, Creation and Management of Cooperative and Micro-Finance institutions, among others. The participants were urged to constitute themselves into groups to legalise Cooperatives that will pilot the activities at the initial phase. The Cooperatives will further unite and form a microfinance institution that will generate further revenue, to scale up developmental projects in the communities.

The participants, who were generally impressed by the initiative, promised to put into practice what they have learnt during the Conservation Finance Workshop.

“I am over joyed being part of this workshop. I will go back and inform all my fellow people to unite and form a strong cooperative so we can begin benefiting from ERuDeF’s largesse,” Chief Fondu Ajong of Andu village promised.

Mrs. Susan Enjei of Nkongho-Mbo on her part said ERuDeF has always been a veritable partner to her community.

“This new initiative has just come to add to the many good things the NGO has been doing for our community. We thank God for the Organisation” she added.

The workshop is in line with ERuDeF’s objective to provide alternative sources of livelihood to communities adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary as a way of reducing human pressure on the forest. It was organised with support from Rainforest Trust, USA.

By Yanick Fonki Ndaley

27 September 2016

Hunters Drop Guns For Wildlife Conservation In Mak-Betchou

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Hunters Drop Guns For Wildlife Conservation In Mak-Betchou

Some 13 hunters from villages around the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary have promised to drop their guns and collaborate with the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in conserving wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot.

They made the promise at the end of a two day capacity building training workshop, which took place at the ERuDeF’s Western Cameroon Regional Office in Menji, 15th to 16th of September 2016.

Aimed at building the capacity of hunters to become local rangers, these wildlife predators were trained on wildlife data collection, writing of field reports and the use of forest surveillance equipments such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and compasses.

At the end of the workshop, participants expressed satisfaction with the skills acquired while committing themselves to conserve the biodiversity of the area.

“I am satisfied with the training and the lessons I have learnt. There are some animals in our forest that we need to protect and the reason that I am here is to acquire the skills to enable me contribute to the conservation of these wildlife species,” said Mr. Marcelust Lepasha, a hunter from Fonki Village.

Mr. Marcelus, just like the other hunters, promised to report all illegal activities in their area to the Lebialem Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for appropriate actions.

All 13 hunters at the workshop, promised to stop hunting, pledging to sensitise other hunting colleagues on the need to protect wildlife species in the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

Six of the participants were selected, after a post-workshop evaluation test, to serve as biomonitors in the proposed Wildlife Sanctuary.

The workshop was organised by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) with support from Rainforest Trust-USA as a step towards limiting human pressure on the Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, which is host to over 300 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees (Pantroglodytes ellioti), still unknown population of Cross River Gorillas and Drills and over 100 endangered African Forest Elephants (Loxondata cyclotis).

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

27 September 2016

Nkongho-Mbo People See ‘Light’ In Mak-Betchou Rainforest Community Conservation Programme

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Nkongho-Mbo People See ‘Light’ In Mak-Betchou Rainforest Community Conservation Programme

The people of Nkongho-Mbo in Southwest Cameroon have greeted the newly established Mak-Betchou Rainforest Community Conservation Programme with lots of joy giving the developmental prospects, which the project has for their communities.

They overly expressed their joy during the ERuDeF Inception Workshop on the Nkongho-Mbo Integrated Conservation and Development Programme organised recently at the Southwest Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) in Buea

After getting a panoramic description of the project from ERuDeF President/CEO, the Nkongho-Mbo people expressed total interest, promising to collaborate with ERuDeF in the execution of the Project.

The traditional ruler of Dinte Village, Chief Fotabong, said that the new project is only coming to corroborate other livelihood supports which ERuDeF has been providing to his community over the years.

“ERuDeF has offered us livelihood supports via pig donations, bee hives and lot more. So we are certain that this new project will bring more developmental activities in this area”.

Just like Chief Fotabong, Mr. Julius Fonje, opined that the Rainforest Project is a wonderful opportunity with the propensity to bring about development, education and job creation for the people of this area.

In her address, the Vice President of the Upper Nkongho Development Association (UNDA), Mrs Martina Fomelack Forsac, explained that the new project will ensure the sustainable exploitation and management of their rich natural resources.

“I am aware of developmental activities, which ERuDeF has carried out in other parts of the country via wildlife conservation and environmental protection. So I am in full support of this project” she pledged.

On his part, the representative of the National President of the Nkongho-mbeng Cultural and Development Association, Atabong Joseph, called on the Nkongho-Mbo people to unite behind ERuDeF for the realization of this project.

“Unity is strength and this project would have a double impact; progress and development if we all are supportive of it” he insisted.

Reacting to these, the ERuDeF boss reiterated the commitment of his organization to the project, promising to give mobilise resources and to improve on the livelihood of the people.

The ERuDeF Inception Workshop on the Nkongho-Mbo Integrated Conservation and Development is part of the Mak-Betchou Rainforest Community Programme aimed at providing alternative livelihood supports to communities adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, which harbours over 300 chimpanzees, unknown population of gorillas, over 100 elephants as well as other endangered wildlife and plants. It is sponsored by Rainforest Trust USA.

By Queen Achingale

27 September 2016

Community Forest Institutions To Manage Community Forests In Upper Bayang

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Community Forest Institutions To Manage Community Forests In Upper Bayang

Communities in Upper Bayang of Manyu Division, Southwest Cameroon have agreed that Community Forest Institution be created to oversee the management of community forests in this part of country.

This is one of the outcomes of the information and awareness meeting organised recently by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in Kendem, bringing together some MINFOF officials in Manyu, the Divisional Delegate of Agriculture and Rural Development for Manyu, ERuDeF staff, traditional rulers and community representatives.

Organised under the auspices of the village traditional councils, communities present, unanimously voted that CIGs be created to serve as legal entities that will manage their community forests when they are eventually created.

Community members raised concerns on the ownership and allocation of benefits that will accrue from the creation of these community forests.

Reacting to these concerns, Regional Chief of Service for Forestry, Mr. Bidima Antoine Georges, said benefits will be equitably distributed amongst the villages. As to ownership, he explained that any village that has up to 5000ha of forest land can own its community forest.

Concerning security, the Regional Chief stated that 100% security can never be achieved but community surveillance in groups is encouraged. He advised the communities to set up surveillance teams to track down illegal activities in the forests.

Representing the Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife for Manyu, Mr. Tabi Tabe, thanked all community members present at the occasion and called for maximum collaboration and understanding for the project to be successful. He equally thanked ERuDeF for her commitment in the area.

It should be noted that this awareness meeting is in line with the Tofala-Mone Rainforest Conservation Corridor Project aimed at providing technical and financial support for the creation of 03 community forests within some 08 villages of Upper Bayang. This is part of ERuDeF’s efforts in the conservation of Cross River gorillas, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, and other endangered and threatened wildlife species in the Tofala-Mone East Corridor. This project is supported by African Conservation Foundation, Waterloo Foundation, Global Forest Watch and Tusk Trust

By Floribert Asongacap

27 September 2016

Agroforestry Trees Improve Water Quality In Boyo Division

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Agroforestry Trees Improve Water Quality In Boyo Division

Villagers of Fundong, Boyo Division of the Northwest Region of Cameroon now enjoy potable water. This is thanks to some7000 Acacia, Leucaena and Prunus tree species planted to serve as life fencing around some water sources in this area.

In March 2016, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) received complaint from some local communities that their water sources were being depleted by human activities like farming and deforestation.

With support from Trees for the Future USA, the Organisation provided over 16000 seeds of Acacia, Leucaena and Prunus to the local community for nursing. After monitoring of the nurseries, over 8000 seeds germinated and 7000 established trees were planted around the water sources as life fencing.

According to the President of the Water Catchment Committee, Mr. Ngoh Ezecheal, the community now has access to portable water. He said the trees planted around the catchment have improved on water quality, reducing the rate of water born diseases in the area.

According to the ERuDeF Field Technician to the area, Mr. Nsembii Anthony, this has helped reduce the stress which community members use to go through; trekking long distances to access portable water.

Mr. Nsembii Anthony said measures have been put in place to ensure the sustainable management of this water catchment.

“Each household will pay to the Water Management Committee 2000 to 5000frs annually for its maintenance” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the Water Management Committee appealed that 180000 tree seeds be donated so that they can complete the life fencing around more watersheds in this Division by the end of 2017.

It should be noted that this project is supported by Trees for the Future, USA

By Payong Marquise

27 September 2016

Trees Planted To Protect GBPS Fonjometow’s Water Catchment In Lebialem

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Trees Planted To Protect GBPS Fonjometow’s Water Catchment In Lebialem

Over 600 seedlings of Agroforestry species have been planted around the water catchment of Government Bilingual Primary School (GBPS) Fonjometow in Lebialem Division, Southwest Region to improve on the water quality and protect it from drying off.

The tree species, Acacia angustissima and Leucaena leucocephala were planted September 07, 2016, by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). This was in response to the continuous complaints from the school administration about lack of quality water in the school and the epileptic flow of water from the catchment.

“We have noticed a gradual reduction of water pressure in the water catchment near this school. This source is the major and lone water supply for our pupils and risks drying-off in the future if nothing is done to address the situation. This means that our pupils will have to trek several kilometres in search of clean water,” one of the School administrators lamented.

While planting the trees, ERuDeF Agroforestry Technician for Lebialem, Mr. Jean Fotso, underscored the importance of trees in water catchment protection.

“There are lots of environmental benefits from planting these trees. The trees will improve water quality and quantity, and also moderate atmospheric conditions” he explained.

Mr. Fotso used the tree planting occasion to educate the pupils on how to take care of a water source. He sensitised them on the disadvantages of farming around the catchment.

“To protect and ensure quality water supply by this catchment, you must avoid carrying out farming activities around the water catchment. This is because such activities will clear off vegetation and exposed the water to excess sunlight, which will cause it to dry-off” he told the pupils adding that “Fertilizers from the farms will infiltrate and pollute the water source”.

Mr. Jean Fotso called on the school administration and pupils to closely monitor the water catchment, plant more trees around it and also avoid disposing waste into the catchment.

This Project is under the Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development of ERuDeF with supports from Trees for the Future, USA

By Ntungwa Elong Bwang

 

27 September 2016

Revamping LeWoCoS: New Executives Elected

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Revamping LeWoCoS: New Executives Elected

Nine new executive members have been elected to revamp the Lewoh Women Cooperative Society (LeWoCoS), which has been dormant for the last five years.

The elections, organised by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in Lewoh, August 2016, came up on the heels of protracted problems that have been plaguing the Cooperative.

There was thus the need for fresh elections to revitalize LeWoCoS and use the Cooperative in implementing the Mondia whitei project as well as enhance the development of the Lewoh village through promotion of income generating activities.

As such, nine women were elected with Mrs. Helen Fotaw as President. The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Project Coordinator for ERuDeF, Mrs. Lea Kemnene called on the new executives to be committed in bringing together more women, revamping the Cooperative and in ensuring transparency and accountability for the growth of LeWoCoS in particular and Lewoh community in general.

The executives promised to make development their main priority and to work in solidarity for the common interest of the group.

LeWoCoS was created about two decades ago to improve on the living standards of its members. But for the last five years, it has not been active. After many consultation meetings, ERuDeF realised some irregularities with the management style. There were high level of unaccountability, lack of communication and transparency. The members unanimously accepted that elections be conducted.

With the new executives in place, it is hoped that things will change for the better.

It is worth mentioning that revamping LeWoCos is in line with the project supported by Rainforest Trust, USA

By Lea Kemnene

27 September 2016

Near-Matured Trees Stop Encroachment Into Bakingili Community Forest

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Near-Matured Trees Stop Encroachment Into Bakingili Community Forest

Inhabitants of the Mount Cameroon Borders and its peripheral communities say the agro-industrial company, Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) has stopped parading the areas planted with threatened trees in the Bakingili Community Forest. This is thanks to the sapling stages attained by trees planted by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in 2014/2015 to restore the critically threatened trees of the area.

This observation was made during an evaluation exercise carried out by the Community Forest Assistants of Woteva and Bakingili and a team of experts from ERuDeF in August 2016. The aim was to assess growth stages of seedlings which were planted in the 2 community forests between 2014 and 2015. The trees included African Zebrawood (Microberlinia bisulcata), Mahogany (Entandrophragma angolensis), Country onion (Afrostyraxlepidophyllus) Drypetes staudttii, (Iroko) (Milicea excels), Azobe (Lophira alata), Pygeum (Prunus africana) and Drummar stick (Cordia platithystera).

During the evaluation exercise, it was realized that trees were already at sapling stages. The growth stage had stopped encroachment by CDC. Because of the situation, the Community Forest Assistant, Genesis Shifuh, appreciated ERuDeF’s efforts in making their dream come true.

“No doubt CDC does not longer invade this part of the Community Forest. Even when trees were just planted in the forest, the Company was still invading with their oil palms. Now the trees have attained sapling stages and trespassing into this particular part has completely stopped” he gladly expressed.

He explained that before the coming of ERuDeF to their community, the Community Forest Management team used to have futile battles with CDC for several years on land recovery.

“I now see that we couldn’t succeed because our forest was still empty. Before ERuDeF came in with her efforts in 2014, no tangible solution was observed. Now, they (CDC) have completely stopped encroachment to this area because most of the planted seedlings are already at sapling/visible stages”, the Community Forest Assistant said.

Mr. Genesis Shifuh however opined that more still have to be done to completely stop further encroachment. He called on ERuDeF to support their efforts by extending the tree planting exercise to the other parts of the forest.

“We are raising a nursery of threatened trees to complete tree planting in the other half of the forest. If this is not done in the nearest future, the community risks losing that part of the forest. This is because, out of the 907hac of the Bakingili Community Forest land, only about 20% has been planted with trees and the remaining 80% is gradually being taken by the Company to plant oil palm seedlings” he lamented.

Another member of the Bakingili Community Management team, Ngotto John, appealed to ERuDeF and her partner to renew the just ended project.

“We are doing a lot on our own to complete planting in this forest and continue with management efforts to the already planted trees but ERuDeF’s support is still very welcome” he said.

The Conservation of Threatened Trees of the Mt. Cameroon Area project was conceived in 2011 to ensure that threatened trees in the MCNP and the surrounding community forests are re-established through local institutions’ independent actions. In collaboration with MINFOF and the MCNP service, the project has succeeded in regenerating the MCNP and its peripheries with over 30000 of these trees.

The project is supported by the UK based partner Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund of the United Arab Emirates.

By Adeline Tengem

27 September 2016

Agroforestry Technologies Pay Off In Northwest Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 548

Agroforestry Technologies Pay Off In Northwest Cameroon

Some farmers who implemented Agroforestery systems in their farms, in Boyo Division of North West Region Cameroon, have begun reaping some benefits.

During a recent visit paid the Division by a team of experts from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), it was discovered that the farmers who adopted the agroforesrty techniques earlier demonstrated to them have witnessed significant improvement in their farm yields.

One of the farmers, Mr Jonhson of Fondong village, who planted the Neem seeds in his homeland experienced tremendous improvement in his apiary. This is because of the few Neem seeds given to the farmer, 5 years ago, 10 Neem trees survived and are now serving as a seed bank to both ERuDeF and local farmers in the Division.

The farmer testified that these Neem trees have helped him raise money to meet his daily demands. Based on this, he has planted 100 more Neem trees in this garden.

He attributed his success to the skills he gathered during a training workshop on agroforestry techniques organized last year by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)

“The idea of using agroforestry trees in my apiary came from the presentations of success stories in other Regions. I watched a video showing colonies of bee hives on Acacia trees in Batcham, Bamboutos Division in the West Region. I told myself I must follow suit” the farmer said.

Mr Johnson added that he has also planted over 7000 Calliandra and 28 Prunus, together with trees like mangoes, Eucalyptus, Cacia and food crops like cocoyam and plantain in his 0.8ha piece of land. He is also excelling in apiculture.

“I have 8 bee hives in my land and planning to increase them if given the available resources. This is the second time the hives have colonized. Each hive produces 3 to 6 litter of honey, which I sell and use the money to support my children’s education and sustain my family” he explained.

The Boyo based farmer recommended that ERuDeF alternates her annual review meetings with field based technicians in the different Regions so that each technician can see and experience the success stories of other farmers and emulate their examples.

The agroforestry technologies are introduced by the Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development of ERuDeF with supports from Trees for the Future, USA

By Payong Marquise

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