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Research Report

In Search of Common Ground: Adaptive Collaborative Management in Cameroon

Mariteuw Chimère Diaw
Tony Aseh
Ravi Prabhu
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2009
Pages: 500
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-40)
    Mariteuw Chimère Diaw

    This book explores the relationship between adaptation and cooperation in society as it relates to action, decision and learning. Forests, with the mythologies, conflicts and convoluted passions that characterise them, offer a privileged site for observing this relationship and drawing lessons from it. The authors in this book strive to do that in the context of Cameroon’s forests, as an integral part of research on adaptive collaborative management (ACM) across three continents. As both a research programme and a strategy for management, ACM seeks to understand the conditions under which forest stakeholders can learn and collaborate ‘to adapt management in...

  2. (pp. 41-66)
    George Akwah Neba

    For many years, natural resources management focused on the fate of ecosystems. Today, it is widely recognised that one cannot ignore the social dimension when addressing forest-related issues because the fate of forest people is as important as that of the biological resources on which these people depend. One forest management issue is how to create links between human well-being and ecological sustainability (Colfer and Byron 2001). This concern involves livelihoods, governance, local participation and cultural protection of forest-dwelling people. Many policies across the world attempt to make forest management an engine for rural development. Some African states, amongst them...

  3. (pp. 67-94)
    Cyprain Jum, Martin Abega and François Bengono

    During the first decade of the twenty-first century, the need for greater community participation in forest management has increasingly been recognised, both in Cameroon and elsewhere. The paths to community involvement in natural resources management, particularly forest management in Cameroon, have been fraught with difficulties (Vabi 1999; Asanga 2001). There has been very little community consultation and negotiation in a decision-making process that is intended to guarantee people’s full cooperation, support and participation.

    It was against this background that a research project on adaptive collaborative management (ACM) of forests¹ sought to understand how best to empower local stakeholders as a...

  4. (pp. 95-116)
    Samuel Assembe Mvondo and Francis Sangkwa

    The Cameroonian model of council forests introduced by the 1994 Law is undoubtedly one of the major innovations in the country’s forest resource management policy (Nguinguiri 1997; Oost 1999; Oyono 2004). The creation of council forests is one of the specifications for the transfer of forest resources management powers from the state to local authorities—that is, councils (Karsenty 2000; Bigombé 2006). To some analysts, this new political strategy constitutes a departure from the centralised management of natural resources found in the countries of the subregion as a whole and in Cameroon in particular (Bigombé 1996; Assembe 2005). However, council...

  5. (pp. 117-138)
    Mireille Zoa

    Since decentralisation was introduced into Cameroon forestry policy in 1994, local participation has become a primary strategy for achieving the sustainable management of tropical forest ecosystems and improving rural livelihoods (MINEF 1995; Crook and Manor 1998). In fact, rural communities are crucial actors in sustainable forest and natural resources management in Cameroon. The creation of community forests, defined as forest space given to and managed by local communities, is a major innovation (Fomete 2001), aimed at increasing the role of local institutions in the fight against poverty and the protection of biodiversity. This ‘socialisation of forest policy’ was based on...

  6. (pp. 139-156)
    George Akwah Neba, Joachim Nguiebouri, Anne Marie Tiani and Mariteuw Chimère Diaw

    Adaptive management is increasingly considered the solution to the management of complex systems (Lee 1999; Ruitenbeek and Cartier 2001). As Ruitenbeek and Cartier (2001) point out, complex systems are unpredictable and generate surprises. Unlike simple systems, which are characterised by a limited set of elements with understood—or easy to understand—behaviour, complex systems comprise a diversity of variables that influence each other in a dynamic process of interaction and change, all of which is unpredictable. There is no straightforward approach to managing complexity, and a ‘learning by experimenting’ approach is recommended for such situations. The conservation and management of...

  7. (pp. 157-190)
    Peter Mbile

    Originally published by Elsevier’s Journal of Environmental Management under the title ‘Linking Management & Livelihoods in Environmental Conservation: Case of the Korup National Park Cameroon’ (Mbile et al. 2005), this chapter addresses changing national and global contexts. This new version of the paper includes lessons learned and recommendations for future directions. In keeping with current shifts from a ‘park’ to a ‘landscape’ model in environmental management, the recommendations have been developed to help guide projects like Korup.

    The countries of the humid tropics of West and Central Africa show an average population growth rate of 3 percent (World Bank 1997). Agriculture...

  8. (pp. 191-214)
    Ruben De Koning

    Since the beginning of the 1990s, the environment has become a major concern in conflict and security studies. Although natural resources have been contested throughout history, their scarcity has recently been said to lead to or contribute to conflict (Fukayama 1992; Homer-Dixon 1994; Kaplan 1994). The increasing pressure on natural resources creates problems of degradation, depletion and pollution that are likely to affect the most vulnerable groups in society, deepening inequality and increasing resentment. An abundance of high-value but non-renewable resources like oil, diamonds and gold is also said to increase the risk of conflict by financing armed factions (Berdal...

  9. (pp. 215-236)
    Anne Marie Tiani and Elise Noubissie

    Natural tropical forests are managed by a variety of actors and stakeholders, with a tangle of sometimes divergent interests and motivations that create tension (Wollenberg et al. 2001; FAO 2003). In pluralistic forest management contexts¹, it is becoming more and more difficult to define sustainable forest management. Whatever the definition accepted, it should reflect the goals and outcomes negotiated between actors with legitimate interests in forests (Raison et al. 2001). Since the 1990s, criteria and indicators (C&I) have been developed as a tool to help better define sustainable forest management and assess changes in the condition and output of forest...

  10. (pp. 237-252)
    Joachim Nguiebouri

    What is pluralism? The Macmillan English dictionary defines pluralism as the idea that people can and should live together amicably despite differences in race, religion, culture and politics. With regard to the management of common goods, pluralism is a theory about the nature of the values whose realisation makes lives good (Kekes 1993). The concept relates, in our case, to the inevitable existence of often conflicting and different opinions about policies for the management of ecosystems (Rescher 1993; Blackburn et al. 1998).

    The roots of pluralism originated with religious¹ and political thinkers like Aristotle² (in 350 bc), David Hume (1741)...

  11. (pp. 253-274)
    Anne Marie Tiani, Joachim Nguiebouri, George Akwah Neba and Mariteuw Chimère Diaw

    In 1995, CIFOR initiated a series of tests of criteria and indicators (C&I) to evaluate the sustainability of community-managed forests in Indonesia, Brazil and Cameroon (Burford de Oliveira et al. 1998; Ritchie et al. 2000). The aim of the research was to explore the significance of C&I as a tool for making community management of resources viable and sustainable and to balance the distribution of the costs and benefits of forest management. The process of developing C&I at the community level should be of interest to organisations concerned with rural development and certification bodies promoting the economic, ecological and social...

  12. (pp. 275-300)
    Jean Martial Bonis-Charancle, Anne-Marie Tiani, Michael Brown, George Akwah Neba, Zephirin Mogba, Guillaume Lescuyer, Rees Warne and Brian Greenberg

    Little applied research has been done to determine (1) what is technically required to enable communities to assess sustainable development options; and (2) how far communities can act within the bounds of incentive (or disincentive) structures that limited control over natural resources have traditionally provided. This chapter makes a contribution to this area of applied research and presents results from two field sites in Cameroon over a six-year period (1998-2003). It touches on issues of empowerment, stewardship, and community and conservation with regard to natural resources management¹. It provides evidence that communities are willing to invest in capacity-building activities when...

  13. (pp. 301-326)
    Valentina Robiglio, William Armand Mala and Mariteuw Chimère Diaw

    Participatory approaches have become essential to collaborative forest management and the definition of strategies based on local communities and stakeholders’ perspectives. One of the basic tools for participatory community appraisals is participatory mapping (PMap), which adopts cartography as a visual technique to collect and document local experience, knowledge and perspectives on land, natural resources and management. Through PMap, local knowledge about the resource becomes a foundation for analysis and planning of interventions in participatory decision making. It is increasingly necessary for researchers, project managers and local communities to be able to systematically capture, store and manage the information gathered through...

  14. (pp. 327-352)
    Martine Ngobo

    Agricultural expansion through smallholder shifting cultivation—also referred to as swidden agriculture—has a major impact on forest structure and age in the southern part of the Cameroonian rainforest; some authors view it as the major contributor to deforestation (Essama-Nssah and Gockowski 2000). Some of this deforestation is temporary. Nevertheless, rising population densities increase the demand for agricultural land, resulting in diminished fallow time, which in turn leads to more deforestation, forest degradation and soil erosion. Thus, the tropical forest, so crucial for the swidden or fallow agroecosystem, diminishes under increasing pressure from smallholder agriculture, landless settlers, logging concerns and...

  15. (pp. 353-378)
    Ousseynou Ndoye and Tieguhong Julius Chupezi

    The Central African rainforest spans Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Rwanda and Burundi. This tropical forest, which until recently has been managed for timber production, is a cornucopia of plant and animal species. The forest is also a source of important cultural and socioeconomic products, termed non-wood or non-timber forest products (NTFPs). As defined by Okojie (1995), NTFPs are biological materials extracted from forest ecosystems that are utilised within households, marketed or have social, cultural and religious significance. NTFPs include foods, medicines, oils,...

  16. (pp. 379-410)
    Randall E. Brummett and Jonas Kemajou Syapze

    Since September 2000, the WorldFish Centre has been studying the biogeography and ecology of Lower Guinea Rainforest rivers in southern Cameroon. A comprehensive review of the literature was published by Brummett and Teugels in 2004, and upon that base a series of field research projects have endeavoured to further characterise rainforest streams in terms of biotope and species diversity and abundance.

    In partnership with the Organization for the Environment and Sustainable Development (OPED), a local non-governmental organisation, four rainforest communities are being engaged in an effort to improve the efficiency and sustainability of river exploitation and management. The ultimate goal...

  17. (pp. 411-442)
    Tieguhong Julius Chupezi

    The forests of Cameroon constitute a significant portion of the Congo basin, with four major forest types: evergreen rainforest (56 percent), semideciduous moist forest (11 percent), montane forest (1 percent) and mangrove forest (1 percent) (MINEF 2002). The forest resources of Cameroon are grouped into three classes for purposes of management: forests for research and teaching, production forests and protection forests (MINEF 1995).

    Forests play an important role in the economy of Cameroon. Wood products are estimated to constitute about 7 percent of the gross national product, 20 percent of the total export revenues (the second-largest category) and 33 000...

  18. (pp. 443-477)
    Mariteuw Chimère Diaw, Ravi Prabhu and Tony Aseh

    If there is one inescapable truth emerging from the empirical evidence presented in this book, it is that we live in a messy world, where bumps in the road frequently throw us off a chosen path, and the process of finding the path is akin to navigating a maze of trees in a rainforest on a moonless night without a torch. The search for sustainable and equitable livelihoods in southern Cameroon’s forested landscape is a process challenged by differences in power, gaps in knowledge, competing claims and repeated failure—in short, ‘messiness’. And yet, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, people do...