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03 August 2017

ERuDeF Sets 2035 Budget At FCFA 10 Billion

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ERuDeF Sets 2035 Budget At FCFA 10 Billion

Board of Trustees (BoT) at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), have set FCFA 10 billion ($20 million) as the budget to run the organisation by 2035. They made this revelation, Saturday July 8, 2017, in an ordinary board meeting at the conference room of the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit studies.

By: Joyce Mbong

The meeting was also aimed at adopting and approving the 2016/2017 report and budget. The President and CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, indicated that FCFA 100 Billion would be used for the construction of an ultra-modern complex for ERuDeF hosting offices. It will also be used to erect a university with two faculties (Business and Biodiversity), 500 sitter capacity amphitheatre, departmental conference halls, virtual libraries, a research centre in Besali and a host of others.

This budget, according to the ERuDeF boss, will also be used for the construction the Organisation’s Western Regional office in Menji (to coordination activities in West, Northwest and part of Southwest Regions) and the Centre Regional office in Yaounde (to coordinate activities in the Centre and Adamawa Regions). He said the budget would equally see the recruitment of some 500 Cameroonians

The President and CEO disclosed that such a target is in line with the Organisation’s drive to consolidate its position as the leading conservation NGO in Central Africa as well as maintain its supremacy among NGOs in Africa.

The President indicated ERuDeF would accomplish the budget at the stipulated time if all staff, management and Board of Trustees harness their efforts for the betterment of the organisation.

“The time for wait and see has passed. We need to redouble our efforts to meet up with all standards. If we have the right team and resources put together, we can go far beyond this vision,” Louis Nkembi said.

Schooling board members on the organisation’s progress and other key sites of interest, he cited the launching of ERuDeF UK and USA branches, the advancement of activities/work at the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, proposed Mak Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, and the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve and others as key achievements.

Mr. Nkembi frowned at limited commitment and dedication exhibited by board members calling on them to become more committed so the Organisation’s aspirations can be met.

This reaction harvested varied feedbacks form Board Members at the meeting.

“I want to commend the numerous efforts of ERuDeF staff for the realisation of all these works. I think we as Board of Trustees have to be more committed to reach our expected goal; we need to be more committed and dedicated. We will leave no stone unturned at realizing our vision,” Dr. Zikeng Martina said.

The meeting ended with the admission of ERuDeF’s Chief Operations Officer, Ursula Nkeng, into the Organisation’s membership. Mrs. Nkeng promised to be more committed to the activities of the organisation and revive old member to be more active and interactive.

Meanwhile, Board Members agreed to elect other members to fill vacant positions including that of the Vice President who passed away early this year.

03 August 2017

Farmers In Magha-Bamumbu Improve Livelihoods Via Echinops Roots Exportation.

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Farmers In Magha-Bamumbu Improve Livelihoods Via Echinops Roots Exportation.

The President of Mt Bamboutos Enterprise Cooperative Society (MoBECoS), Landus Thandus, has testified that the commercialisation of Echinops root has improved on household incomes of many in the community.

By E.Fuh

He was speaking on the heels of the successful exportation of over 894Kg dried roots Echinops giganteus, mid-June 2017, by farmers, to V. Mane Fils Company in France under the auspices of Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

Mr. Landus posits that since the inception of this project, the lives of community members have not been the same again.

“This project has greatly improved the livelihood of our members and the Magha Bamumbu community. We have members who have built houses and extended their businesses, thanks to money generated from this project,” Landus Thandus attested.

The Project Coordinator of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative at ERuDeF, Akumbu Ebenezer, said the urgent demand for the roots (genetic resources) in the fragrance and pharmaceutical industries in France and the United States of America, warrant supplies at high quantities.

Akumbu added that according to the ABS principles, the V. ManeFils Company, that is currently using the genetic material to produce useful products in France, would plough back the profit that will be generated after the sales of the products, to the Magha-Bamumbu community.

“The profit generated from the commercialisation of the end-product, will be shared equitably with the local community (provider), and V. Mane Fils (potential user). This will go a long way to sustained and improve the livelihoods of the community concerned,” commented the ABS Project Coordinator.

Meanwhile, the Magha-Bamumbu community, have in order to boost supply, underscored the need for a vehicle that will aid in roots transportation.

03 August 2017

New Delegate Affirms Collaboration With ERuDeF In Lebialem Highlands Biodiversity Management

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 New Delegate Affirms Collaboration With ERuDeF In Lebialem Highlands Biodiversity Management

The new Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife for Lebialem, Ikome Delphine, has expressed her desire to unflinchingly collaborate with the Environment and Rural Development (ERuDeF) in saving species and biodiversity hotspots within the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex.

She was speaking, Monday July 10, 2017, to the ERuDeF team during a familiarity visit at ERuDeF’s Western Cameroon head office in Menji, Lebialem Division.

By Gwendoline Angwa

The Divisional Delegate said ERuDeF has already invested so much in her conservation strive within the Lebialem Highlands. She promised to follow the footprints of her predecessor, to facilitate ERuDeF’s conservation efforts.

“If I have any vibrant thing to do in Lebialem Division, it’s thanks to the many works ERuDeF has put in here in the Lebialem Highlands. I would work with the NGO to facilitate the conservation of wildlife species in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, and also facilitate the creation of the proposed Mak-Betchou wildlife sanctuary, among other things,” Delphine Ikome said.

The Delegate and her team reviewed ERuDeF’s activities in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex, posing questions and recommendations on how things can be smoothly run in line with conservation.

With respect to the misunderstanding in the Lebang Fondom, in the creation of the proposed Mak-Betchou wildlife sanctuary, the delegate promised to contact the competent authority in Lebang, so issues are sorted out.

The Delegate recommended that ERuDeF hasten up processes of boundary demarcation for the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. This to her, will avoid encroachment by villagers. She also recommended that eco guards and rangers be presented with state of the art equipment to facilitate surveillance around the Tofala wildlife sanctuary.

The meeting wrapped up with the delegate requesting that all ERuDeF report on activities conducted in Lebialem be submitted to MINFOF. This, according to her, will assist in enhancing follow-up and collaboration between her delegation and the organisation.

03 August 2017

Lebialem Community Schooled On Benefits of Agroforestry Systems

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Lebialem Community Schooled On Benefits of Agroforestry Systems

The Lebialem Agroforestry Programme Coordinator, Ntungwa Elong, has enlightened people of Lebialem on the importance of the agroforestry systems in the improvement of farm yields.

By: Smith Elong

In an over 20 minute sensitisation talk on this system of farming at the Lebialem Community Radio (107.5FM), Friday July 14, 2017, the Agroforestry Programme Coordinator said Agroforestry system is the combination of agriculture, forestry technologies and livestock to create more integrated, diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use system.

He expounded that the system has scientifically been proven as one of the best farming techniques. This, according to him, is because it improves the soils’ fertility and increases farm yield via the planting of agroforestry tree species like Acacia, Lucaena, Calliandra.

“If you plant these trees in your farms using alley cropping technique, it will provide numerous benefits such as soil conservation, organic fertilizers and water conservation to the agricultural system,” Mr. Elong added.

The Agroforestry Programme Coordinator told the listeners that, the aforementioned trees in addition to fertilising the soils, would also serve as feed for livestock and fuel wood.

“When you plant these trees in your farms, your soil will be greatly improved. However, you can also use the leaves of the trees to feed your pigs, goats, and even cows. It is even advisable that you use these plants for your livestock because the plants contain huge nutrients,” Elong said.

Most of the listeners who reached the radio station for inquiry, sought to know how they get hold of the trees so they can experiment in their farms. Elong promised to make available the tree species to all interested persons.

In collaboration with Trees for the Future, ERuDeF through its Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development, builds the capacity and empower farmers across Cameroon on modern techniques of practicing agriculture, using agroforestry systems.

03 August 2017

Over 60500 agroforestry species transplanted In West, Littoral Regions

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Over 60500 agroforestry species transplanted In West, Littoral Regions

Over 60500 agroforestry trees have been transplanted in four divisions of the West and Littoral Regions, Cameroon. A team of agroforestry technicians arrived at this statistics recently, after an evaluation tour to the two Regions.

According to the Agroforestry Coordinator for the West and Littoral, Junie Chamjui, farmers took interest in planting more agroforestry trees after a series of transplanting workshops held at Haut-kam, Bamboutos, Menoua, and Moungo Divisions. The farmers were trained on value chain, grafting techniques, farm optimization model, composting, and practically on the transplanting of agroforestry seedlings.

“After the series of trainings we gave our farmers, many of them took interest in planting more trees. We transplanted 60500 acacia seedlings from their nursery sites to the new planting sites. Of the 60500 seedlings, 11500 were planted in Moungo,18500 in Bamboutos, 21000 in Menoua and 9500 in Haut-kam divisions,” Junie said

She expatiated on the importance of the tree planting exercise to the farmers.

“The seedlings, which occupy 0.7 ha of land, will increase crop production from 0.5 tonnes per hectare to 2tonnes, in three years. Besides soil improvement, the agroforestry trees will also serve as fuel wood to farmers, enhance honey production, serve as wind breaks, limit effect of erosion and provide additional income,” Junie added.Cameroon, West, Bamboutos, Bangang, First restitution result of territorial play workshop

On her part, a farmer at Banka I, Haut-Nkam division in the West Region Kameni Philomène, said she is impressed learning, understanding, and practicing the various agroforestry techniques.

“I am new in the project, but very engaged because of the problem of poor soil fertility. I strongly believe with the introduction of these agroforestry trees, my soil will improve and my production will increase. In addition, the compost training was very good. My entire household garbage, except plastic, will be put inside the hole,” Kameni said.

Poor soil fertility, low yield, low level of knowledge on new agricultural practice and low income are outcomes of bad agricultural practices.

In order to boost agricultural productivity, farmers have often resorted to buying fertiliser sometimes without really knowing the long term effect of the fertiliser on the soil. The truth about fettiliser application is that the quantity of agricultural produce is always great during the first few years and then starts decreasing with the time because of destruction of nutrient in the arable soil and the change of substrate of the soil.

To solve this problem, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) with the support of Trees for the Future-USA has since 2007 been engaging farmers in the agroforestry system of farming. Here, they are engaged in the nursing and planting of nitrogen fixing trees like acacia; luceana and calliandra.

03 August 2017

Sale of Forested Lands Drives Wanton Deforestation In Upper Bayang

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Sale of Forested Lands Drives Wanton Deforestation In Upper Bayang

The population of Bokwa, Kendem and Fumbe villages in the Upper Bayang Subdivision Southwest Cameroon have cautioned their chiefs to desist from excessive sale of community and forested lands inducing wanton deforestation in the area.

Floribert Assonga

They were speaking recently, during sensitisation meetings organised by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) for the creation of community forests that will serve as a corridor linking Mone Forest Reserve in Upper Bayang and Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Lebialem passing through Forest Management Unit (FMU) 11-002.

According to villagers, the community/forested lands are mostly sold to wealthy individuals from the West, Northwest and other parts of Southwest, who have destroyed the forests for cash crop cultivation.

“Our chiefs have resorted to recklessly selling large hectares of our community lands to these non-natives. An individual buys upto 10, 50, 100, 500 and even 800 hectares of forestland from our chiefs just at an instance. The lands are used to setup palm, cocoa and rubber plantations. Besides inducing deforestation, this act is detrimental to us the indigenes and if care is to taken, we shall soon be buying lands from these people,”Ako Jonathan, an indigene of Bokwa village cried out.

Corroborating this, the Coordinator of the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community project, Assongacap Asonga, after a feasibility study carried out recently to ascertain the possibility of creating a Community Forest (CF) block between the proposed BEET CF and Forest Management Unit 11-002 in Upper Bayang, observed that non-natives legally owned most of the large palm, cocoa and plantain plantations. A situation, which according to Mr. Asong, has compounded the rate of deforestation in the area as supposed buyers open new farmlands.

“In the process of opening farmlands, those who buy these lands cut down trees, hence, destroying the habitats of some animals. Most of the crops planted in the plantationare still young, ranging from one to five years.We call on the competent authorities to take concrete measures to remedy these problems for it could create serious issues in the nearest future,” Floribert Asonga cautioned.

The scramble for land in this area has been largely attributed to ongoing projects to complete the ring road.

“One of the causes of this problem is the Bamenda-Ekok road which has rendered the area very accessible. I call on our chiefs especially those of Etoko, Kendem, Numba, Egbemo, and Nchemba villages who are along the Bamenda-Mamfe road to reduce the rate at which they sell our community land to strangers as it represents a threat to our future generations to come,” says Tabe Valentine of Etoko village.

Upper Bayang is lodged in the heart of a dense tropical rainforest rich in biodiversity. It has attracted forest exploitation interests, ecotourism and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs)harvesters in the past years.The biophysical environment today comprises of forest cover, which is highly facing timber exploitation, agricultural areas and human habitation.Upper Bayang is blessed with a long raining season and a short dry season. This makes the area rich of water resources in the form of streams, rivers and springs.

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) is piloting the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Community Conservation Project that began in January 2016. The project seeks to create a wildlife corridor, which will serve as a genetic pool linking the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) and the Mone Forest Reserve. In particular, it will connect the Cross River gorillas of TofalaHill Wildlife Sanctuary to those of the Takamanda National Park through the Mone Forest Reserve.

03 August 2017

ERuDeF, Empowering Women In Green Economy

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“When more women work, economies grow,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a UN Women Executive. Off late, there has been an urgent call for greater gender equality, which has also implied a greater use of human capital as well as human development. However, human development has laid on women around the world who still face massive gender gap in employment and wages.

To support economic growth and development, the Environment and Rural Development (ERuDeF),is empowering communities with the necessary skills and tools to be self-reliant through alternative sources of livelihood. In carrying this initiative, women are giving leading roles in the economy transformed. What better moment to achieve this than now, when the world is pursuing another economic transformation, towards a green economy.

In fact, transforming women’s role in the economy could even bemore urgent in the context of protected area management. Traditional partition of responsibility means that men and women perform different activities within forest areas, particularly in developing countries like Cameroon. Because men are more likely to perform wage labour or farm cash crops like cocoa and coffee, women are more often responsible for growing of subsistence crops like NTFPs and taking care of their families.

For the fact that these women are directly involved in the welfare of their families, there is need to divert their attention from the forest and protected areas. ERuDeF has therefore, sought out alternative means of securing food locally. In doing this, more income will be generated to support their families in particular and the community in general. The challenges women face are intensified in areas where women already spend hours each day gathering NTFPs, travelling long distances, using head load as means of transportation and unstable market prices kills the little ambitions they have generated or nursed.

Against this background, it is therefore crucial to empower women through the women in Green Economy Initiative to be launched by ERuDeF which will valorise NTFPs through a value chain development process, in and around protected areas and in biodiversity hot spots in Cameroon.

Community action for biodiversity preservation with women as focus, intends to empower women on the domestication of NTFPs and other forest products, promote its commercialisation, develop a value chain process, setting up a processing unit and at the end, initiate a marketing process for these NTFPs.

‘Women in Green Economy’ therefore suggest that there should exist an environmentally-friendly economy, sensitive to the need of restoring and conserving natural resources through the full participation of women and young girls. The initiative Women in Green Economy is a concept, which simply offers hope to the women in relations to the environment.

29 June 2017

Elephant Carcass Found In Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, Urgent Need For Gazettement

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 Elephant Carcass Found In Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, Urgent Need For Gazettement

The remains of a visibly matured elephant, has yet again been found in the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. The elephant’s carcass was discovered, Monday May 15 2017, by local rangers during a monthly forest surveillance and patrol mission, conducted around the proposed protected area. The remains were found around the southern eastern part between Essoh-Attah and Njoagwi. The dead elephant was discovered without its tusks.

The carcass of another elephant was discovered in the north of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary sometime in 2014. Though incident was reported to the Lebialem Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, nobody was napped for the act.

The rangers who discovered this new dead case, indicated that their attention was driven by a pungent odour emanating from a corner of the forest.

“We were walking in the forest recording signs of chimpanzee, other mammals and human activities when suddenly we got a rotten smell. When we got to where this overbearing smell was coming from, we found a large mammal on the ground, it was an elephant without its tusk. We can’t ascertain with certainty who must have committed that act. However, we highly suspect poachers who come from Nguti, and the West Region,” Mr. Forbang Timothy, the lead ranger narrated.

The proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is not formally protected, which makes it vulnerable to illegal activities like poaching and forest encroachment.

Thanks to the financial support from the Rainforest Forest Trust, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has recruited six local rangers who are involved in forest surveillance and patrol in the proposed Wildlife Sanctuary. This activity facilitates information gathering on the health of the wildlife species and their habitat. The information gathered are used by managers to assess the changes in wildlife population and their habitat within time and space.

The proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the south of Lebialem Division and forms part of the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex. It is situated between longitudes 586000 – 596000 m east and latitudes 598000 – 606000m north. It is the safest area for many African elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) in the Southwest forest-savannah transitional zone towards the West Region.

The long-term protection of the African Forest elephant can only be assured by the gazettement and development of the management implementation plan of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

29 June 2017

Bangem Villages Approve Creation of Village Forest Management Committees

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 Bangem Villages Approve Creation of Village Forest Management Committees

Some eight villages adjacent to the proposed Mt. Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve have thrown weight behind the creation of a Village Forest Management Community (VFMC). They gave the approval, June 2017, during sensitisation meetings organized by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). The villages found in Bangem, Kupe Muanenguba of Southwest Cameroon, include; Mbororo Camp 1 and 2, Mbat, Poala, Muelong, Muabi, Nkack, Muebah and Ebonemin.

According to the villagers, creating VFMCs is very important in the protection of the wildlife species in the mountain. The villagers urged the government to hasten up so the committees could eventually go operational.

“We are very ready to collaborate with the government to conserve this protected area. What we need the government to stop us from going to the forest for bush meat and provide us with an alternative livelihood source. I am prepared to rear goats as such alternative to promote the conservation of this area,” Chief Njume Manfred of Ebonemin said.

The villagers also indicated that in creating the VFMC, the government is giving the villages the mandate to take control of the conservation of Mt. Muanenguba.

“It is a great step for the Government to involve us in the sustainable use and management of our own resources. This shows that theproject is for our own benefit,”Mr. Njikang Donatus, a notable from Muabi said

Some villagers, especially from the Mbororo tribe, hip a sigh of relief with imminent creation of VFMC as they had been wondering about the management of the mountain.

“I thought we will have no say in the creation and management of the Mt. Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve, but now, I am excited to see that we will all be involved. We are very happy to participate in this project and give our total support,”Mr. Issa Yaya, external elite from Mbororo Camp 1 & 2 professed.

Speaking during the sensitisation meetings, the Coordinator of the proposed Mt. Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve, Stanley Acham, said creating a VFMC is in line with government’s move to put the population at the forefront of conservation activities.

“The full and complete involvement of the population is considered in the new law as an essential condition for the success of the new forestry policy. This participation aims at making the population veritable partners of the state in the protection of environment in general and the forest in particular. Forest conservation will be carried out to an extent that the rural areas will feel fully involved. It is important to organise themselves so they can be able to solve their problems and defend their rights,” Stanley explained.

The Project Coordinator underscored the roles the Committees will play when it will be created

“They have an essential role to play in putting in place a system for the rational and sustainable use of the surrounding forest. They will act as intermediaries between the forestry administration and the local populations,” he stated

The creation of VFMCs is a veritable way of ensuring the involvement of local communities in participatory management planning aimed at achieving a management plan for the Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve when it eventually comes into effect.

29 June 2017

Biomonitoring Surveys Show Increased Human Pressure On Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary

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 Biomonitoring Surveys Show Increased Human Pressure On Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary

The urgent need for the protection of Chimpanzees and other wildlife species through classification of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary has become very crucial. Biologists of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), resounded the exigency, Monday June 12, 2017 after evaluating some 18 biomonitoring surveys carried out between the months of March to May, 2017 in the proposed Sanctuary.

According to one of the biologist, Angwa Gwendoline, the increasing human pressure mounted on the proposed protected area, leaves wanton effects on the wildlife species found in the area.

“During our biomonitoring surveys, we discovered more signs of human pressure on this proposed protected area. We discovered 36 huts, 32 gunshots were heard and 197 expended cartridges picked on the soil,” Gwendoline said.

She recommended that more education and sensitization be carried out to change the mind-set of villagers living adjacent the proposed protected area.

“After visiting some villages in the Njoagwi, Essoh-Attah, and Lebang Fondoms we discovered that many villagers have encroached into the proposed protected area, creating farmlands and setting hunting traps for rodents. Our previous research and camera traps footage have shown that these traps cut off the limbs of Chimps and other wildlife species in the area. So we are suggesting more education be given to the villagers living around the protected area,” Gwendoline said.

The survey report however indicated that some 18 Chimpanzees were sighted on three different occasions; 791 chimpanzees nest sites and 600 chimpanzee feeding signs encountered. Other large mammal observed include forest Elephant, bush pigs, duikers and different species of monkeys.

The proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is an over 6000 hectares forest area located between longitudes 586,000m and 596,000m and latitudes 598,000m and 606,000m. It is host to over 300 Nigeria- Cameroon chimpanzees, over 100 forest elephants and Drills amongst others. The area is also home to some unknown plant species as well as globally threatened bird species. Contiguous to the Bayang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, this biodiversity hotspot is surrounded by three main Fondoms, all located in the Lebialem Division.

The classification process of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is being facilitated by a Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit organisation, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with Rainforest Trust.

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