Conservation Projects – Forests
Securing a future for forests and community in Cameroon
The Mbiame Community has for generations used the Mbiame communal forests, guided by traditional practices. However in 2009, some of the forests were gazetted as part of the Mt Cameroon National Park, within the Guinean Forests of West Africa biodiversity hotspot. This left the Mbiame community trapped between their continued dependence on the forests to meet their livelihood needs, and the international pressure to conserve resources of high international value found in those forests. This is the dilemma that our Cameroon alumni have ventured to solve by first generating reliable data on the biodiversity of Mbiame Communal Forests. Second, by assisting the community establish conservation priorities and develop a management plan for the forests. Third, by training local forest scouts in basic research skills so that they can cost-effectively continue the important task of monitoring the forest’s resources, and help the community achieve its mandate of long term management.
“Through these initiatives, the local community, will protect and restore the Mbiame Community Watershed and realise sustainable development”
Eric Nana, project team member
Saving one of Nigeria’s remaining montane forests
Montane forests are often associated with rich and rare biodiversity. One such forest is the Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve. Located on the Mambilla Plateau, Nigeria, this reserve is high in biodiversity and holds significant numbers of highly endangered and endemic plants and animals. However, Nigerian TBA alumni, led by Dr. Folaranmi Babalola, have decried the fast rate at which this diversity – much of which is of great economic significance is being lost.
Their concern stems from findings of a project the group implemented that explored economic and ecological significance of the forest reserve and other fringing forests in Mambilla Plateau. The project aimed to save the reserve and its species diversity, from neglect and further degradation. Through their findings, published in the “International Journal of Environmental Sciences, Vol. 1 issue 2, the alumni recommend a need for decisive law enforcement to protect the forest and increased awareness on value of its conservation – for biodiversity and local communities. Beyond its immense conservation value, the reserve is an irreplaceable source of livelihood for both the Mambilla people who are predominantly farmers and the Fulani herders.
Despite the obvious incompatible livelihood practices by both the Mambilla and Fulani people, as well as growing poaching pressures, the project reported high numbers of mammals and birds in the reserve. The research also encountered at least one large troop of primates (with over thirty members), and a family of chimpanzees, as well as several chimpanzee nests. These, and that fact that Ngel Nyaki is recognized as Important Bird Area, only increases the alumni group’s resolve to ensure the reserves is effectively protected and conserved.