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29 June 2017

ERuDeF En-Route Towards Restoration Of Degraded Landscape, Biodiversity Of Mt Bamboutos Ecosystem

Posted in News, Views 262

 ERuDeF En-Route Towards Restoration Of Degraded Landscape, Biodiversity Of Mt Bamboutos Ecosystem

An estimated one-tenth of the human population derives their life-support directly from mountains. Mountains are important not only for their inhabitants, but for millions of people living in lowlands. At the global scale, mountains' greatest value may be as sources of all the world's major rivers, and many smaller ones. Mountains play a critical role in the water cycle by capturing moisture from air masses; when this precipitation falls as snow, it is stored until it melts in the spring and summer, providing essential water for settlements, agriculture and industries downstream - often during the period of lowest rainfall. In semi-arid and arid regions, over 90 percent of river flow comes from the mountains. Mountain water is also a source of hydroelectric power, most of which is used on the plains below. Unfortunately, most mountains are often neglected in terms of their protection.

This is the case with mount Bamboutos which is the 3rd highest mountain in West and Central Africa with important ecological functions. It is an important watershed and one of the rich biodiversity hotspots in Cameroon. In less than 40 years, the mountain ecosystem has unfortunately been severely degraded and its rich biodiversity and ecosystems functions are under severe threats of complete extinction. This is due to massive deforestation, intensive and uncontrolled farming in low and high altitude areas. Consequently, the natural vegetation cover has declined, the springs located on the mountainside have dried up, and soil erosion is worsening. The forest reserve created here in 1900 by the Germans has been completely wiped out.

However, the root causes of the environmental threats facing the mountain stem from more specific problems which include: lack of a legal protection status and management plan for Mt Bamboutos leading to unregulated use of natural resources; lack of capacity for effective protection and management of Mt Bamboutos by the regional and Municipal institutions; lack of know-how and incentives for the local communities to sustainably manage natural resources; absence of cross-regional collaboration and coordination among sectorial government Ministries in charge of the Environment, Forestry and wildlife, Agriculture, Regional planning and Livestock. This often leads to a disparity in government action, the design and implementation of sometimes contradictory and antagonistic approaches on the ground, confusion in roles, resistance, ineffective decentralization and inadequate human, material and financial resources.

It is against this backdrop that the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), through the Mt Bamboutos Initiative (MBI), seeks to restore the degraded Mt Bamboutos ecosystem and its biodiversity while improving on the quality of lives of the local and indigenous communities.

The MBI is a joint initiative of ERuDeF and the International Tree Foundation (ITF), UK in collaboration with the government of Cameroon to support the urgent restoration of the ecosystem and biodiversity of Mt. Bamboutos in western Cameroon. The initiative will cost the sum of 4.5 million US Dollars (27 000 000 000 FCFA).

The project is well-aligned with the Cameroon government’s national priorities and strategies. The restoration of degraded lands is part of the specific objective No. 4 of Cameroon's forest policy. Cameroon committed to restore over 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge Initiative.

The project which is expected to begin in January 2018 shall run for 15 years with 3 phases of five years each distributed across three regional administrative areas (South West, West and North West) that constitutes the mountain.

Specifically, the project seeks to train and build the capacity of over 30,000 local community members to manage the Mt Bamboutos fragile ecosystems; introduce and establish land use and effective governance systems; ensure food security and economic resilience for over 30000 households while integrating women & gender considerations up stream; securely restore over 25,000 ha of the degraded landscape through the planting of over 15 million trees; secure key biodiversity targets that include the Mt Bamboutos integral ecological reserve (19,000 ha), community forests (10,000 ha) and riparian forests (5000 ha); and to establish a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for Mt Bamboutos both at the community level (through the establishment of the community foundation) and the larger level through the establishment of the Mt Bamboutos conservation trust fund

The following outcomes are expected at project completion:

- The project will enable over 30 000 people in 20 villages in the project zone to become committed to the management of the mountain ecosystem by creating awareness on the environmental threats on the mountain;

- Also, by building the mountain ecosystem management capacities of about 30 000 local peoples and other actors in the project zone, they will be apt and able to manage the mountain ecosystem;

- At project completion, there will be sustainable land use in the project zone thanks to land use zoning and functional land use governance structures put in place by the project;

- It is expected that the degradation phenomena of the Mt. Bamboutos landscape will be stopped by the end of the project through the planting over 15 million trees in degraded areas and farmers’ plots. Soil fertility will increase and the vegetation cover of the mountain ecosystem will increase by 70 % compared to the present situation;

- The project will lead to food security and economic resilience for over 30 000 people in the project zone, bringing about improve nutrition levels, increase employment, increase in household revenue, access to credit and loans, and reduction in real food cost;

- Key biodiversity targets that include an integral ecological reserve (19,000 ha), community forests (10000 ha) and riparian forests (5000 ha) as well as agricultural lands will be secured;

- The ecosystem services and functions of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem will be restored and key biodiversity regenerated;

Key beneficiaries of the project shall be the local population (farmers, indigenous Bororo populations and livestock breeders), traditional and municipal authorities, industries as well as the government of Cameroon. The long term sustainability of the project shall be ensured by establishing a financing mechanism at both the community and larger landscape level in the form of a conservation trust fund.

Field operations will be undertaken in collaboration with the project’s local partners being one local NGO selected from each administrative district. ITF and IUCN will be the strategic and technical partners of the project. They shall be responsible for the quality and smooth execution of the project. They shall be consulted on regular bases for technical advice and directives on the project.

With the complexity of the initiative and its financial challenges, ERuDeF and ITF are seeking for cooperation and financial support towards the restoration of this important watershed and biodiversity hot spot in Western Cameroon.

29 June 2017

ERuDeF Celebrates World Environment Day, Calls Population To Connect To Nature

Posted in News, Views 351

 ERuDeF Celebrates World Environment Day, Calls Population To Connect To Nature

The population of Southwest Cameroon, have been urged to plant more trees around their compound, so they can effectively connect to nature. The Manager of the Education for Sustainable Development Programme (ESD) at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, Samuel Ngueping, was speaking Monday June 5, while celebrating the 45th anniversary of World Environment Day in Menji.

Speaking during a community sensitisation meeting organised by the Lebialem Divisional Delegation of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED)in commemoration of World Environment Day, the ESD Manager beckoned on the population to quit wanton felling of trees, slash and burn farming, and improper disposition of waste materials.

“Our planet is heating, our earth is warming. We should avoid cutting down trees. Trees help to moderate the carbon level on earth and also provide oxygen that we breathe. We should also avoid slash and burn farming as we destroy many microbes that help in stabilising our soil. In addition, let’s dispose our waste properly so we don’t get infected by the very things we throw away,” Samuel Ngueping cautioned the population.

On his part, the Lebialem Divisional Delegate of MINEPDED, Kanyimi Ihimbru said; “we can only connect to nature if we consider the flora around us as part of our living.” He urged the population to continue planting trees.

The occasion was marked by planting of some 500 agroforestry trees in GBHS Fontem, Lebialem Community Radio, and along the Menji road. At the Standard Nursery and Primary School premises in Menji, some weeding was carried out on a tree nursery created by the school’s environmental club under the auspices of ERuDeF Education for Sustainable Development Programme.

Lebialem Division is amongst the key localities in the South West Region of Cameroon having very rich biodiversity. This area contains threatened species of plants, animals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and others.

By Ngueping Samuel

29 June 2017

Tofala Women Approve Creation Of Tofala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society

Posted in News, Views 261

Tofala Women Approve Creation Of Tofala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society

Women from villages around the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) have unanimously accepted to create a single cooperative society dubbed the Tofala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society. They took the decision, Friday May 26, 2017 in Bechati, Lebialem Division of Southwest Cameroon. Coming from seven villages around THWS, the women acclaimed the move, indicating the various women groups who all have a common interest, will work in synergy to develop the cooperative. “I am very excited with this idea the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has brought to us. On behalf of the women present here and those yet to come, I want to promise ERuDeF that we will do our best to make sure that we take this cooperative to greater heights. We also promise to collaborate with other stake holders to facilitate the growth of this cooperative,” Voluntary Akwanga, the cooperative President said. The conservation enterprise component of this cooperative is focused on soap production and commercialisation. The women are already producing soap and making money from its sales thanks to the technical expertise that was given to the women by ERuDeF. Furthermore, each share was moderated at Xaf5000 ($10) while registration fee of Xaf1000 ($2) per member was instituted for the sustainable management of the enterprise. As at now 35 women have paid their registration while 30 members have subscribed and bought their shares. According to the Conservation Finance officer at ERuDeF, Quddus Njang, the idea of this cooperative is to enable the Tofala women develop and implement projects that will better their living conditions. “ERuDeF will effectively assist the women of this area through project development, technical assistant and livelihood support that will enhance their living standards. More so, through this cooperative, they will be able to effectively participate in the management of their biodiversity through the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) Initiative,” Quddus added. The creation of a cooperative to cater for the production of soap, is one of ERuDeF’s efforts in providing alternative livelihoods to communities adjacent to the THWS. This is to reduce pressure on protected areas. It is also a means of indulging community members especially women to play active and participatory roles in conservation efforts while also improving their livelihoods. By Njang Quddus

29 June 2017

Mane Foundation Urges Echinops, Mondia Farmers to Produce More

Posted in News, Views 419

 Mane Foundation Urges Echinops, Mondia Farmers to Produce More

The Director of Mane Foundation, Michel Mane, has called on producers of Mondia whitei and Echinops gigantus plants to increase production to meet up growing market demands. He was speaking recently while paying contact visits to Magha and Lewoh, Lebialem Division of Southwest Cameroon. His aim was geared towards reinforcing collaboration with the local communities in the various project sites and to assess the status of the ongoing projects in Magha and Lewoh.

Visibly impressed with the work on the ground, the visiting Director told the people to be more engaged in the cultivation of Mondia and Echinops roots, and collection of fresh roots

“I urge you to plant as much Echinops and Mondia roots as you can. We have a ready market for them,” Michel Mane disclosed.

At the agronomic site in Lewoh, the Field Technician, Tolefac Elvis, emphasised that, weeding of Echinops giganteus is done as from October to November after planting and May to June of the following year, for the plants to grow well.

The Mane Director promised to work with the facilitating NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, to provide necessary facilities that will assist the farmers overcome the adverse effects.

By Akumbo Ebnezer

29 June 2017

Mondia whitei Farmers Receive Farm Inputs, Financial Motivation

Posted in News, Views 376

Mondia whitei Farmers Receive Farm Inputs, Financial Motivation

Some Farm tools have been donated to producers of the Mondia Whitei plant in Lewoh, Lebialem Highlands of Southwest Cameroon.

The equipment comprising farm hoes, cutlasses, conservation plastic materials, among others, were distributed to over 30 farmers, Saturday June 10, 2017, by the Coordinator of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Ebenezer Akumbo, in collaboration with the Mane Foundation. The occasion took place at Chief Fuafeleka residence at Atetem, Lewoh.

According to the ABS Coordinator, the gesture is aimed at equipping Mondia farmers with the right farm tools so they step-up they production of the plant, hence, meeting up with the 2017 target.

He added, the move came to meet the demands of the farmers who before now, had made requests in that direction.

“During the launch of the 2017 Mondia farming season, some farmers forwarded as their demands, the need for good farm tools to facilitate cultivation. That is why we returned with these equipment to complement their production process. The equipment will cover a greater dimension for more sustainable cultivation of Mondia plants for the future. I believe with the farm tools and some motivations that we have injected into the farmers, we shall meet our 2017 objective by the end of the year,” Ebenezer Akumbu said.

The farmers were elated to receive the farm tools and motivation from ERuDeF and partners.

“We are grateful for the farm tools. It will go a long way to improve on our cultivation techniques, hence, improving on our production level,” Pa Sebastiean Nkemganyi, President of the Lewoh Mondia Management Committee said.

The farmers promised to invest time in Mondia cultivation given that it is proving to be more lucrative than cocoa.

“A kilogram of Mondia roots cost CFA1,250 ($2) in the market. That price is far more than a kilogram of cocoa that many of us in the past, used to plant. Therefore, we shall be investing most of our time on planting this money spinning plant,” Nkemganyi Prisca a veteran Mondia farmer said.

The ABS team used the occasion to train the farmers on news methods of planting the Mondia plant. In addition, farmers who had successfully planted the Mondia plants, which are doing well, were motivated financially by the ABS team.

By Ebenezer Akumbu



29 June 2017

3000 Trees Planted to Revitalise Ekambeng Water Catchment

Posted in News, Views 335

Over 3000 tree species of Acacia and Leucaena have successfully been planted around the Koubi Water Development Project Site in Ekambeng village, Kupe Muanenguba Division of Southwest Cameroon. Villagers of the Ekambeng community braved the rains, Tuesday June 2017 to plant the trees.

According to the villagers, the threat of their water source drying up due to human activities around the catchments and the fallouts of climate change, greatly motivated their action towards planting as many trees as possible around their catchment.

“The volume of water in our catchment has been considerably reducing and we could not ascertain the cause. After attending a transplanting workshop at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), we developed interest in the tree species. After haven transplanted the trees, we are quite sure that in 2 to 3 years’ time, the volume of our water will increase from 500m3 to 1500m3. In addition, we hope the quality will be improved. Thus, we have decided to restrict all human activities within 50 meters from the water source,” Njume Peter, the President of the water committee said.

The Southwest Agroforestry Coordinator at ERuDeF, Emmanuel Ebang, explained that the villagers showed more interest at the beginning of 2017, when they nursed 10,000 seeds of acacia and Lucaena trees. They have transplanted 3000 already at their catchment site, while hoping to plant the others soon.

He urged the population of Ekambeng village, and by extension, the entire Kupe Muanenguba Division, to ensure that all the trees they had nursed in March are planted. Mr. Ebang advised the people against the cutting down of trees around the catchment and the planting of eucalyptus tree given that such species could drain all available water around the catchment.

In collaboration with Trees for the Future, ERuDeF through its Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development, builds capacity and empowers farmers across Cameroon on modern techniques of practicing agriculture, using agroforestry. The second quarter tour shall be dedicated to nursery monitoring and evaluation, including bare stem transplanting.

By Ngome Emmanuel

29 June 2017

Neem; Healing Communities, Improving Livelihoods In Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 379

 Neem; Healing Communities, Improving Livelihoods In Cameroon

One of the Agroforestry trees species, Neem (Azadirachtaindica), is increasingly being embraced by farmers in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. Due to its high medicinal value, farmers have invested in planting huge quantities of the plants. The farmers attest to the fact that the agroforestry tree species is healing their communities while also improving on their livelihood income.

Johnson Chongwain is an Agroforestry farmer in Fundong, Boyo Division of Northwest Cameroon. Among the many crops he has invested in his over three hectares farmland, he has over 230 Neem trees. The farmer indicated that ever since he diverted his attention to planting Neem trees, he has been reaping great from it.

“My interest for Neem started some five years ago.The benefits are immeasurable. I make money from the sale of the leaves, to the stems, and even the fruits. I make over fcfa 50,000 ($100) from the sale of Neem leaves a year and over fcfa 200,000 ($400) from the sale of Neem seeds and seedlings every year. This additional income has greatly helped me to save some money and erect a beautiful home for my family. My kids are now in the university because I could also save some money for their education.We also consume Neem for medicine,” Johnson stated.

In Ekiliwindi, Meme Division of Southwest Cameroon, Paul Nkwain, a veteran herbalist says he has supplied huge quantities of the Neem plants to his clients all over Cameroon. He attested to the fact that the Neem plant inhabits some strong healing components, which have helped him to cure his patience.

“Neem plant has healing reagents. When I invoke the supernatural powers of the plant, I can be able to cure many illnesses, ranging from chickenpox, skin dryness, menstrual pains, to sexual weaknesses, gonorrhea, and many other STDs. I have planted Neem all over my compound and in my farms. I also sell the seedlings to interested persons,” Paul Nkwain said.

Neem (Azadirachtaindica), also known as ‘dogoyaro,’ is a fast growing and long living tree.It is tall, evergreen with the small bright green leaves. Neem is easily grown in the dry, stony, shallow and clayey soils. It needs very little water and plenty of sunlight. It grows slowly during the first year of planting. The young tree cannot tolerate excessive cold.

Its importance has gone beyond imagination; Neem produces pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and fever reducing compounds that can aid in the healing of cuts, burns, as well as malaria fevers.Neem oil, Neem leaves and Neem extracts are used to manufacture health and beauty care products like soaps, bathing powders, shampoos, lotions, creams and toothpastes. In addition, Neem is used as a compost ingredient or as a soil amendment.

Growing Neem trees improves the water holding capacity and nutrient level of soils. It can bring acid soils back to natural state; the deep tap root can break through hard layers, mine the subsoil for nutrients and bring them to the surface. Finally, Neem has anti-bacterial properties in them.Neem oil in the western world is known and valued as an effective insecticide.

It is within this great importance that the Neem plant was introduced as an agroforestry tree species to farmers in the Northwest, and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. In collaboration with Trees for the Future, the Environment and Rural Foundation (ERuDeF) has invested in planting over seven million Neem and other agroforestry trees in four regions of Cameroon, the Northwest, West, Littoral, and Southwest Regions.

By Payong Prudence

29 June 2017

Farmers Trained On Agroforestry Technologies In Lebialem Highlands

Posted in News, Views 339

 Farmers Trained On Agroforestry Technologies In Lebialem Highlands

Farmers in some villages in Lebialem Division, Southwest Cameroon, have been trained to introduce Alley Cropping Technology into their farms for better yields. The training was organised June, 2017 by the Lebialem Agroforestry Coordinator at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Ntungwa Elong, during a sensitisation tour organised in the villages. The villages included Ndungated, and Nwametaw.

According to the agroforestry expert, alley cropping has universally been chosen as the best form of agroforestry practice. He reiterated that the major design is such that, the rows run from east to west, following the path of the sun. He added that farmers should ensure that there is not too much shading among the rows.

“We use mostly Accacia and Leucaena agroforestry tree species in Alley cropping. The trees are planted in a double row in a triangular form, 30cm apart and the spacing between rows ranges from 4 – 6 m. That will enable an intensive system which will produce large quantities of wood and quickly revitalise warm soils with the massive amount of biomass,” NtungweElong said.

Besides alley cropping, the farmers were also trained on live fencing techniques. Farmers were advised to always introduce the technique at the boundaries of their farms.

“Live fencing is an animal-proof barrier composed of trees and shrubs planted at close spacing around the perimeter of a farm or field,” Ntungwe Elong added.

After the classroom sessions, the farmers were taken to demonstration farms where the planting techniques of alley cropping and live fencing were established.

Agroforestry is a land use system that integrates trees, crops, people and animals on the same piece of land in order to get higher production, greater economic returns and more social benefits. In line with using agroforestry technologies to restore degraded landscape while ensuring environmental protection and improving the income of resourced-poor farmers in Cameroon, the Department of Agroforestry and Agricultural Development at ERuDeF in collaboration with Trees for the Future, went out to some 15 divisions in the Northwest, West, Southwest and Littoral Regions of Cameroon to carryout workshops on seedlings transplanting

By Ntungwa Elong

12 June 2017

ERuDeF Institute Launches the Cameroon Amphibians Conservation Initiative

Posted in News, Amphibian Conservation Project, Views 652

The ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and None-Profit Studies, ERuDeF Institute, has launched a new initiative that will provide essential scientific information as well as support the conservation of amphibians in Cameroon dubbed the Cameroon Amphibians Conservation Initiative.

Launched last April, on the occasion of the World Amphibians Day, this innovative and multidisciplinary initiative comes to introduce a multi scale approach to research and monitoring of amphibians focusing on detailed investigations on few species in specific local sites throughout the nation, while monitoring a larger number of species over broader areas producing inventory documents on species occurrence and distribution.

According to the Director of the Institute, Madam Akeh Nug, the creation of this Initiative, is a response to the outcome of a baseline survey of the endangered frog species; Goliath conrua along the flanks of Mt Nlonako in the Littoral Region of Cameroon carried out by the Institute.

“The research we carried out revealed that amphibian population along the flanks of Mt Ntlonako are on a sharp decline, insinuated that these species may become extinct if drastic measures are not taking to conserve them. Reason why the ERuDeF Institute does not want to leave any stone unturned at ensuring that these wildlife species are conserved,” she said.

The ERuDeF Institute boss stated that the effective functioning of this Initiative will aid in reducing the rate of amphibians decline in Cameroon.

Joining counterpart institutions like Save the Frogs, the Helsinki Zoo, Amphibian Arc and the Scottish Royal zoological Society in amphibian conservation, this Initiative in collaboration with the Department of Conservation at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation will be at the forefront of studying amphibian populations and life history traits, measuring and monitoring environmental characteristics, and conducting research into potential causes of decline for these species amongst others.

By Aguh A. N.

01 June 2017

Mondia whitei Farming Season Launched In Lebialem Division

Posted in News, Views 583

Mondia whitei Farming Season Launched In Lebialem Division

The 2017 farming season of one of the plants within the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative in Cameroon, Mondia whitei, has been launched in Lewoh, Lebialem Division of Southwest Cameroon.

The launching was carried out, Wednesday April 12, 2017 by the Coordinator of (ABS) Initiative at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Akumbu Ebenezer.

During the launch, the ERuDeF ABS Initiative boss introduced a new planting configuration for the Mondia plant using the plant cuttings, which according to him is more efficient

“Root cuttings are more efficient than using seeds to plant Mondia. Cuttings have fast growth rate and the time for maturity is shorter, compared to seeds. In carrying out the cutting method, make sure you cut within buds. That will give room for germination, roots initiation and stem sprouting,” Akumbu said.

Speaking on behalf of the community, His Royal Highness Chief Fuafeleka expressed gratitude to ERuDeF for introducing this new method.

He indicated that with the coming of the new method of planting, more Mondia roots will be produced, improving on the livelihoods of the people, and boosting the economy of the community.

The traditional ruler advised farmers to respect the new planting configuration, while targeting planting in the secondary forest.

For his part, the President of the Mondia Management Committee, Pa Sebastian Nkemganyi, expressed with much delight, the fact that many people in the community who suffer from sexual weakness will have an instant solution thanks to the Mondia whitei project in Lewoh.

He appealed for constant follow up of farmers so everyone will imbibe the new method to finger tips.

One of the farmers, Mama Fuafeleka Cherita, and Vice President of the Mondia Management Committee, said the launching of the Mondia planting season through the use of cuttings will help to reduce the stress and difficulties they use to encounter just to have seeds for planting.

The entire community was enthusiastic to know this new configuration will subsequently be applied. The system will target in situ planting (planting in the forest).

Mondia whitei is a popular medicinal plant, which is endemic to Africa. Since antiquity, M. whitei has been used by African people to treat various ailments.

Throughout Africa, the roots are highly valued as an aphrodisiac and also use to treat sexual weakness. M. whitei also has horticultural, nutritional and other socio-cultural values as reported in other countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.

In an attempt to maintain the biodiversity and the sustainability of the plant, the Mane Foundation in France has embarked on getting the roots for it fragrance and food industry. The Foundation collects the roots in a sustainable manner.

Yanick Ndeley

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