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21 December 2017

Cameroon Gov’t Announces Creation of Wildlife Sanctuary in Mak-Betchou, Lebialem Division.

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The Cameroon Government through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), in January 2017 announced through the signing of a Public Notice, her aim to create a wildlife sanctuary in parts of the Mak-Betchou forest area in Fontem Subdivision, Southwest Cameroon. The Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary as it will be called, will take parts of the customary forest areas belonging to Lebang, Essoh Attah and Njoagwi fondoms in Fontem Subdivision and parts of other 10 villages in the Mbo area of Nguti subdivision.

The proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is a 5900 hectares forest area located between the longitudes 586000m and 596000 m and 598000m and 606000m. It is host to over 300 Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzees (one of the biggest chimpanzees density in Western Cameroon), over 100 forest elephant (the most northern range of African forest elephants within the Southwest Region of Cameroon), Drills, Cross River gorilla, bush baby, Blue duiker, Red River hog, red eared monkey and Mona monkey amongst others. The area is also home to some unknown plant species as well as globally threatened birds and amphibian species.

With the issuing of the Public Notice, Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit organisation, Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) last April, 2017, embarked on a village-to-village sensitisation to Njoagwi, Essoh-Attah, and Lebang Fondoms. The excitement was the same as inhabitants of the Fondoms massively mobilised themselves behind government for the classification of their forest into a protected area. This effervescence culminated in total support of the project manifested through the various resolutions. The chiefs accepted that the classification of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife sanctuary into a fully protected area proceeds, with the exception of the Fon of Fontem

ERuDeF has noted with great surprise, several malicious misrepresentation regarding the creation of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. Less than a third of Mbin-Mak has been ear-marked to be included into the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. This is contrary to the notion that this proposed sanctuary has engulfed all of “Mbin Mak”. The farms said to have been taken over are completely false as a thorough survey was conducted to ensure that farmers’ farms were essentially not affected.

This site, like all other protected areas in Cameroon, once created will be owned by the state. Its creation is totally led and managed by MINFOF with technical and logistical support from the ERuDeF. No private individual or organisation has the right to own any reserve in Cameroon except planted forests. ERuDeF’s role in supporting the Government to create and manage some protected areas in Cameroon is not in any way aimed at “taking away the forest” from the forest adjacent communities or depriving them of their God-given source of living. ERuDeF’s role is to assist communities to ensure the sustainable management of biodiversity over the next generations.

ERuDeF’s sole goal in Mak-Betchou is to support the conservation of endangered biodiversity species and the vital ecological functions that this area embodies. Given that the proposed protected area is found at the mountain slope, its conservation will preserve the mountain slope, which is paramount given continuous landslides in the area.

The creation of the Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary does not mean forbidding surrounding villages from harvesting resources from this site for local consumption, except endangered biodiversity species and ecosystem destruction. It means resources will be harvested wisely/sustainably. It is for this reason that the area is being proposed as a wildlife sanctuary, and not a national park where the harvesting of forest resources is not allowed.

Apart from opening doors to international and government investments, the gazetting of this site will be a bold step towards transforming Mak-Betchou into a veritable touristic destination in Cameroon. Besides conserving biodiversity species, the future Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctaury and the nearby Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary are currently being ear-marked as the future economic hubs of the Lebialem Division. This will be of great interest to the entire communities and Cameroon as whole and not a few self-seeking individuals who want to grab the remaining land in the Mak-Betchou forest area for selfish ends. The two conservation units will occupy just 4.47% of the land surface of Lebialem Division contrary to the theory that they two will take all the land being ear-marked for social and economic development.

Recently, there have been a good number of petitions against the creation of this site particularly coming the elites, the chiefs and some farmers in the Lebang fondom. A review of these petitions show that the writers were completely misinformed and wrong rumours had been propagated by a few misguided individuals.

Louis Nkembi

President/CEO, ERuDeF

13 June 2016

ERuDeF Unveils First 3D Model for Conservation and Development in Cameroon

Posted in Press Releases, Views 697

Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit organization, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with her UK based partner, the African Conservation Foundation (ACF), are launching the first Participatory 3Dimensional Mapping (P3DM) project in Cameroon.

The official launching ceremony has been scheduled for Monday May 30, 2016 at the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) at 10 am.

The launching ceremony is a culmination of the pilot implementation of the P3DM in the Upper Bayang Subdivision of Manyu Division, Southwest Cameroon.

P3DM is a powerful tool to collect data and information, often with a spatial component, with the help of a 3 dimensional model of a landscape. This 3D model is produced combining satellite data and innovative 3D printing technology.

3D printing refers to a new and high-tech process to create a three-dimensional solid object, in this case a landscape in South West Cameroon, by building them up in layers using a special 3D printer.

The model is used for a P3DM project, a community-based mapping method which integrates elevation data with information provided by local stakeholders.

“In our Tofala-Mone Rainforest Conservation Project, P3DM facilitates the gathering of qualitative and quantitative information about local communities in the area, their livelihoods and land use patterns, including the specific locations where the people conduct various activities”, says Louis Nkembi, President of the ERuDeF. “Reality explained in language results in abstract information. The 3D model makes this tangible and concrete again”.

P3DM functions as an important communication and engagement tool, facilitating information exchange between various stakeholders. At the same time it is a very useful instrument for project planning and management. The 3D model will also be used for land use planning for the establishment of community forests and sustainable forest management.


“We are working together with Global Forest Watch (GWF) for the development of an effective, community-based forest monitoring system” says Arend de Haas, Director of the African Conservation Foundation. “To this end we are integrating P3DM with monthly deforestation alerts provided by GWF”.

The surveys and monitoring is carried out with the active involvement of the local communities, in order to understand the local perspectives, issues, concerns and priorities. Information gathered related to traditional boundaries, land and resource use and other geographic information, are represented on the 3D model for improved spatial understanding.

With the launch of the 3D model, conducting P3DM projects and giving this tool a central role in the sustainable management of forest resources, ERuDeF and the African Conservation Foundation are looking forward to extending this novelty to other forest areas and communities in Cameroon.


06 March 2014

ORBITUARY :Trees for the Future Cameroon Program’s Local Technical Partner Dies

Posted in Press Releases, Views 1870

The Cameroon Program of US Charity Trees for the Future regrets to announce the passing away of one of their local Technical Partners, Akama Ngoh Robson Ngoh. He was Trees for the Future Cameroon Program local Technical Partner since 2011 for Meme Division, SW Cameroon. An Agronomist by profession, Akama with support from the Cameroon Program led the people in Meme in the implementation of agroforestry technology in their farms which led to a boost in agricultural productivity. The 60-year-old who passed away mid February 2014, leaves behind sons, daughters and friends to mourn him

07 February 2014

Time to Stop Harassment of Cameroon's NGOs

Posted in Press Releases, Views 1772

Many civil society groups in Africa have to work under a threat of intimidation on an almost daily basis. Far from the headlines, grassroots organizations across the continent are harassed, often violently by both the official and corporate world for simply standing up for the rights of their communities and their environment.

In Cameroon, Time to Stop Harassment of Cameroon's NGOs - Greenpeace is working closely with two such groups to try and inform about the threats posed by a reckless palm oil project destroying natural forests and livelihoods in the country's Southwest region. Operated by the US agribusiness company Herakles Farms, the project was carried out illegally for more than three years until a land lease (as required by national law) was finally awarded last year - albeit for a far reduced area than the 73,000 hectares they were originally after.

The Struggle to Economize the Future environment (SEFE) and Nature Cameroon are two organisations based in the area Herakles is targeting and comprised of local community members concerned over the fate of their land. SEFE has been campaigning peacefully against the plantation from the moment it was announced back in 2009 and have been repeatedly harassed ever since by both company and local government officials.

Nasako Besingi, who heads SEFE, found out first hand at the end of 2012 the consequences of daring to oppose the project. Arrested before planning a peaceful demonstration in the town of Mundemba, South West province, Nasako and two of his colleagues spent several days languishing, without charge, in a dank, dark prison cell.

That summer he had also been ambushed and assaulted while touring the area with a French television crew by men he recognized as employees of Herakles Farms. Now he and his organization are facing numerous charges including attempting to organize an illegal meeting.

Nature Cameroon are another small, but fiercely committed group, based in the village of Nguti. In September 2013 they received an official letter informing them they no longer had the right to organize any meetings. This decision was apparently necessary because Nature Cameroon had organized meetings "not authorized by the administration" - although the administration refrained from actually naming any of those alleged meetings.

This effective shutdown was in fact a direct response to Nature Cameroon's work with communities in the area. Throughout last summer the group were invited by village chiefs to come and discuss the implications - many potentially disastrous - of the Herakles farms projects for residents, something in reality the company should have done themselves. They were, in most cases, welcome and all passed peacefully.

Calls to reverse the suspension order have fallen on deaf ears and it is plainly evident that acts of repression and intimidation are all too commonplace against both groups and are mirrored elsewhere in the region and continent.

Attempting to silence and punish individuals and activists that are peacefully and tirelessly fighting for the protection of people's rights and the preservation of Cameroon's natural environment and forests goes against all that Greenpeace stands for on this continent.

Based on that ethos we are among the many international and local organisations who have co-signed a letter this week to the UN Special Reporters on the right to food, human rights and the environment and on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association to call an immediate investigation into these abuses.

If such repression continues to go unnoticed and unaccounted for then governments and corporations will continue to impose their will with impunity even when it is contrary to the will and well-being of resident.

"Depressed Herakles Farms had to scale-back its enormous bogus palm project after failing to win the permits for their full 74,300 hectares of rain forest originally targeted for their palm and logging projects in the South West of Cameroon".

08 May 2013

Trees for the Future Cameroon in partnership with ERuDeF launch the 2013 Best Agro-forestry Farms Awards

Posted in Press Releases, Views 1951

PRESS RELEASE, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Buea, SW Cameroon


TTrees for the Future logo

In order to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce substantial use of chemical fertilizers in peasant farms in Cameroon, Trees for the Future Cameroon (known as TREES Cameroon) in partnership with the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF) have launched the 2013 Best Agro-forestry Farms Awards. The award amounting to over FCFA 3.700.000 (US$ 7800) will be given to 13 best agro-forestry farms, each per Division distributed across the Northwest, West, Littoral and Southwest Regions in December 2013. The award information was made public by the Country Director of Trees for the Future Cameroon, Louis Nkembi, recently in a chat with the officials of the Communication Department of TREES Cameroon and the Cameroon Desk Manager at Trees for the Future, Maryland USA, Benjamin Addlestone, in February 2013 during a one-week tour of their projects in the Western Highlands region of Cameroon.

This prize, Nkembi explained, will only be given to farming groups and not to individuals whose members have individually planted at least 5000 leguminous trees in their farms in the course of 2013. The Trees for the Future Country Director, Louis Nkembi, who doubles as the President/CEO of ERuDeF further revealed that the seeds and seedlings will be supplied by the organisation. Such species would include Acacia, calliandra, Leucaena, Prunus, Grevillia ETC.

The importance of this award is to encourage farmers to incorporate modern agro-forestry technologies into their farming systems and abandon the use of expensive and unhealthy chemical fertilizers costing up to (FCFA 20.000-25.000 for a 50 kg bag).

The access to improved and increasing food production has become very difficult for rural resource poor farmers, thus increasing food insecurity in the rural areas of Cameroon. It is, therefore, the mission of Trees for the Future Cameroon to fill this gap and move the Cameroon rural world along the lines of the green and sustainable economy, Nkembi added.

The overall objective of this award is to increase food security in Cameroon especially among the rural resource poor peasants.

Trees for the Future is a USA-based charity working in the tropics to promote sustainable land husbandry and reduce poverty among resource poor farmers through the use of multi-purpose and fast growing agro-forestry species.

Trees for the Future began operations in Cameroon in 1990 and in 2007, it became a full Cameroon Program.