Assessing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of community forestry as a conservation tool in Cameroon; the case of the Bimbia Bonadikombo community forest in Limbe sub division

Project Details

Department
GEOGRAPHY
Project ID
GEO06
Price
5000XAF
International: $20
No of pages
50
Instruments/method
Quantitative
Reference
YES
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
Format
 MS Word & PDF
Chapters
1-5

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Abstract

Community forestry has been widely paraded in academia and development circles in Cameroon as a suitable model for pro-poor and pro-forest development. This study, therefore, seeks to assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of community forestry as a conservation tool in Cameroon; the case of the Bimbia-Bonadikombo community forest in Limbe subdivision. Primary data was obtained from a structured questionnaire administered to 60 respondents.

The data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Hypothesis for the study was tested using chi-square statistical technique. The forests were mostly used for fuelwood collection, subsistence farming and NTFPs harvesting among others. The study found out there that environmental and socio-economic by objective does not have an impact on community forestry as a conservation tool has significant impacts on the environment and socio-economic community.

However, it was observed that community forestry has contributed positively to forest stands, wildlife, environmental awareness, adoption of sustainable forest exploitation practices and forest regeneration and has increased community participation in forest decision-making and equity in the sharing of forest resource benefits with significant variations. The study concluded that the Bimbia-Bonadikombo Community Forest has contributed positively to forest socio-economic and environmental livelihood of the people. The study recommended that both the community and the government should engage in the planting of more trees as a means of improving forest resources.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Forests cover about 45.6% of Cameroon’s national territory, approximately 21,245,000 hectares (FAO, 2005). According to CARPE (2006), most of Cameroon forests form part of the Congo basin forest which is the second largest area of dense tropical forest in the world following the Amazon basin. Cameroon is ranked second in terms of forest cover in Africa after Democratic Republic of Congo (Djeumo, 2001; Djeumo, 2011). In terms of land cover, Cameroon forest contains 55% dense forests and 33% mixed forests, the remaining 12% being land where forests are not the dominant vegetation (WRI, 2011).

Following the 1994 Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries law, the Cameroon national forest estate was subdivided and gazetted into different use categories namely the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) and non Permanent Forests Estates (nPFE) (MINEF, 1994).The Permanent Forests Estates (PFE) otherwise known as protected areas are considered to be areas belonging to the state and so closed from all unauthorized human activities. These protected areas are divided into protected areas and forest reserves proper (MINEF, 1994). In 2011, the PFE stood at 16.3 million ha representing 35% of the total national land area (WRI, 2011). Within the PFE, 66% of land cover is represented by dense forests, 11% by mixed forests, and 23% by land where forests are not the dominant vegetation (WRI, 2011).

The non-Permanent Forest Estate (nPFE)—including community forests, private forest and unclassified state forest. In 2011, the classified land area within the nPFE, although small relative to the size of the PFE, stood at 1.1million ha, representing 32% of the national land area (WRI, 2011). In terms of distribution, 90% of the classified lands in the nPFE were allocated to community forests and 10% to sales of standing volume (SSVs). Of this value, about 41% of the land is covered by dense forests, 59% by mixed forests, and less than 1% by land where forests are not the dominant vegetation.

1.2 Statement of the problem

In Fako Division, montane, sub-montane, lowland and mangrove forest cover about 47.5% (96,764 hectares) of the total surface area (Carodenuto et al. 2015). In addition to providing immense socio-economic and cultural benefits to forest fringe communities, forest in Fako Division particularly in the Bimbia Bonadikombo and Mt Cameroon region support one of the richest flora and fauna in continental tropical Africa with high levels of uniqueness, making it one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots (MINFOF, 2005). But unfortunately, high rates of deforestation, estimated at 0.51% annually (Carodenuto et al. 2015), has contributed in undermining the socio-economic, cultural and ecological functions of forest in the division.

Therefore, when community forestry was introduced in this area in the wake of the rights reform of the 1990s in Cameroon, it was received with excitement and popular optimism (Oyono et al.,2012). It was used as a mechanism for achieving the goals of livelihood improvement, increase in forest protection and improved community participation in and benefit from forest resource management (Yufanyi and Schusser, 2012).

Controversies about the effectiveness of this forest and questions related to its impact on the locality and the degree to which people depend on forest resources for household consumption and income have remain largely unanswered. Gaps still exist in current literature on the contribution of community forestry to the livelihood parameters of income, employment and infrastructures development in the study area. Furthermore, very few answers exist in current literature on the conservation outcomes of community forestry, particularly its impact on forest stands, wildlife, forest regeneration, forest exploitation practices and environmental awareness. Hence the essence of this study; to assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of community forestry as a conservation tool in Cameroon: the case of the Bimbia Bonadikombo community forest in Limbe sub-division.

1.3 Research Questions

The research questions are questions that help the researcher get a clear understanding of the research. We have the main research question and the specific research questions.

1.3.1 Main research question

The main research question for this study is;

What are the environmental and socio-economic impacts of community forestry as a conservation tool in Cameroon; the case of the Bimbia Bonadikombo community forest in Limbe sub division?

1.3.2 Specific research questions

Specific research questions include;

  1. Has the creation of the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest (BBCF) increased forest protection through reducing forest loss and endemism?
  2. Has the creation of the BBCF improved local community livelihoods through benefits from the sustainable use of forest resources?
  3. What is the level of satisfaction among the local population in the communities on the benefits obtained with the creation of the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest and before its creation?
  4. What is the level of satisfaction among the local population on the progress in forest protection with the creation of the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest and before its creation?
  5. What measures can be put into place or strengthen to increase forest protection and local livelihoods in and around Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest?

1.4 Research Objectives

The research objectives give what the research seeks to find out. There is the main research objective and the specific research objectives.

1.4.1 Main research objective 

The main research objective of the study what the research seeks to find out in general; the research seeks to;

To assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of community forestry as a conservation tool in Cameroon; the case of the Bimbia Bonadikombo community forest in Limbe sub division

1.4.2 Specific research objectives

The specific research objective of the study is what the study seeks to find out in specific. They include;

  1. To examine if the creation of the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest (BBCF) has increased forest protection through reducing forest loss and endemism
  2. To examine if the creation of the BBCF has improved local community livelihoods through benefits from the sustainable use of forest resources
  3. To determine the level of satisfaction among the local population in the communities on the benefits obtained with the creation of the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest and before its creation
  4. To determine the level of satisfaction among the local population on the progress in forest protection with the creation of the Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest and before its creation
  5. To assess the measures that can be put into place or strengthen to increase forest protection and local livelihoods in and around Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Research hypothesis are assumptions made to help us in the course of our research. These assumptions are later tested and the correct on chosen. There exist the null (H0) and the Alternate (H1) hypotheses.

H0:Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest as a conservation tool has no significant impact on the local population and on forest protection.

H1: Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest as a conservation tool has significant impact on the local population and on forest protection.

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