Analogue Forestry and Montane Forest Conservation - Page 2

Field activities started in February 2008 and a year later (January 2009) the following achievements were made:

  1. Awareness Creation: Awareness raising and information campaigns were conducted in all the seven communities where analogue forestry project is being promoted. Meetings on awareness raising and information dissemination were held with already existing forest/water management institutions, civil/traditional authorities, local NGO’s, councils, schools, churches, cultural/developmental associations in all the communities concerned. To complement the awareness raising and information dissemination meetings, posters were displayed in public places such as road junctions and public buildings. Collaborating local NGOs like GREEN, CARE and CEPROCA, also complemented the awareness raising and information dissemination. In 2008, there was an estimated public awareness outreach of about 9750 of the targeted 37000 people in the communities concerned.
  2. Tree Nursery Establishment: Tree species of both environmental and socio-economic importance were raised in 7 community nurseries.
    Mbiame Community Tree Nursery
    The nurseries provided seedlings for reforestation/afforestation activities in the various communities. 35 different species were sown in the various nurseries. These nurseries are being managed by the forest/water management institutions who are working in close collaboration with the field staff. Most of the seeds were provided by the project which in turn trained the community members on the propagation techniques of the various species.
    In 2008 the following achievements were made:
    • Creation of 7 tree nurseries to meet the seed needs of the communities;
    • Creation of 2 school garden nurseries for environmental education purposes;
    • Production of 5816 plants belonging to 19 different species.
  3. Training on Analogue Forestry: A total of 210 interested farmers were selected and trained to practice analogue forestry on communal lands earmarked for protection. The first stage in the analogue forest restoration process is agriculture.
    Over 40ha of degraded forest land was released to farmers for cultivation
    The project thus had the challenge of convincing forest management institutions to make a U-turn in their forest management approach. This entailed bringing farmers into areas where they had been forbidden from cultivating. Through past projects these areas had been allowed to regenerate naturally, a process which had been hampered by bush fires and grazing by cattle. Over 40ha of land were released to the trained farmers. In addition to the protection they offered to the planted trees, their presence in these areas has equally curbed the phenomenon of out migration in search of arable land. The farmers cultivated a variety of food crops that increased their food production. Excesses were sold to generate income. Farming in these areas was according to laid down guidelines. In Mbiame farmers signed agreements indicating that they were caretakers and not the owners of the trees planted.
    In 2008, efforts were made to discourage farmers from poor and unsustainable farming practices that have rendered their farmlands impoverished and less productive. Some of these practices include the famous bush burning commonly referred to in the region as “Ankara”, wrong usage of fertilizer and farming across the slope.
    Phaseoulus vulgaris cultivated under no till conditions to encourage build up of soil humus
    A lady cultivating in the Mbiame water shed area lamented that without bush burning and use of fertilizers her children would starve to death when she was informed of the new regulations guiding farming in the area (no bush burning and use of agrochemicals in water shed areas). In an attempt to remedy this situation, the project organized a two-day workshop where 25 farmers, drawn from 5 different farming groups received training on the long-term benefits of organic farming to people and the environment. Key emphasis was laid on compost making, planting and use of agro forestry tree species as green manure, mulching and erosion control using vetiver grass on contour slopes. Demonstrations were established in farmers’ fields.
  4. Training on Improved Pasture Production: Six cattle owners grazing around the communal forest received training on improved pasture production and 6kg of improved pasture seeds. The seeds were used to establish demonstration plots on their grazing land. By the end of the year their livestock was already grazing on the established pasture.
  5. Assisted Natural Regeneration: This was through fire tracing, eradication of invasive species and enrichment planting. Water retention pools were constructed in the forest to provide water for wildlife. Footprints and droppings were an indication that these pools were being used by wild life.
  6. Promotion of Income Generating Activities: With the objective of assisting farmers to generate income to improve upon their livelihoods two activities were supported as requested by the farmers
    Happy recipient of apple seedlings donated by the project
    during the first six-monthly review and planning workshop that took place in July 2008 namely:
    • Distribution of 50kg of snails to 10 interested farmers in the project area for trial rearing. At the end of the year some of the snails had started reproduction showing that the initiative could succeed and new farmers supported in 2009;
    • Distribution of 250 apple seedlings to 14 farmers in the project area.
    During the review and planning workshop that took place in February 2009, participants requested further support in bee keeping (material and technical know how), intensification of fruit tree planting to reach more farmers, improvement of local poultry (medication, technical know how)
  7. Tree Planting: Of the 5816 tree seedlings raised in the 7 community nurseries, 2213 seedlings representing 10 different species were out planted on approximately 12ha of degraded forest land.
  8. Seed Bank Establishment: A central nursery which also doubles as a seed bank with facilities for testing seeds (germination tests) prior to their distribution to the village nurseries was established.
  9. Environmental Education: Environmental Education activities undertaken
    Primary school children during an indoor EE session
    were linked to the new forestry management method and included amongst others, lessons on current key environmental issues such as the causes of global warming and the importance of tree planting, naming of the different tree species found in the community nursery, (their uses and means of propagation) and above all, the introduction of Analogue Forestry as a new forest management technique aimed at establishing tree dominated ecosystems analogous in architectural structure and ecological function to that which existed in the area. Tree nurseries were established in four schools that had regular water supply and where there was assurance of proper management and maintenance during holidays. Environmental Education Clubs were created with the following membership:

    School Membership
    Government Technical College, Mbiame 80
    Government Primary School, Rifem 50
    Catholic Primary School, Rifem 65
    Presbyterian Primary School, Rifem 90
    Catholic Primary School, Kitiwum 103
    Islamic Primary School, Bamkika-ai 72
    Total 460

  10. Staff Capacity Building: A staff of the organisation went on a learning visit to Rainforest Rescue International (RRI) Sri Lanka. The goal of the visit was to empower CENDEP to effectively implement analogue forestry in Cameroon. Read the visit report.
  11. Partnerships: Apart from her partnership with Bothends
    Packaging of donated/collected seeds for distribution to village community nurseries
    that has been lobbying for the organisation in the North, CENDEP made other partners. For example, the New Forests Project through her partnership with CENDEP donated five Kg of five different tree species for nursery work. At the local level CENDEP established win-win relations with GREEN CARE that led to joint seed collection expeditions and sharing of information on seed propagation techniques. In turn GREEN CARE embarked on promoting analogue forestry in her working area. Through the IAFN, CENDEP indicated interest in carbon trading using analogue forestry (REDD activities). Discussions are underway for First Climate www.firstclimate.com to provide technical assistance to integrate CENDEP and others into the Carbon trading system. This is to enable CENDEP and others to tap from the potential in developing analogue forests into a REDD project. The relevant government services have been supportive of the initiative, attending evaluation meetings and advising.
  12. Cattle grazing on the Mbiame communal forest
  13. Challenges: The main difficulties that the project encountered included:
    • Low participation in community work (principally nursery activities) as it was the same community members participating in carrying nursery and out planned activities;
    • Discouragement by detractors;
    • Continued grazing by some graziers in and around protected areas.
  14. Project Monitoring and Evaluation: To ensure participatory monitoring and evaluation,
    Workshop participants
    six-monthly review and planning workshops were programmed with the following objectives:
    • to evaluate progress;
    • to plan for the next six months, and
    • to make recommendations for amendment of agreed activities so that corrective measures can be taken to ensure maximum achievement of project results.
    So far two workshops have been held (see report 1 and report 2). Participants at the workshops came from the project communities, local NGOs, relevant government services and the private press.
  15. A Baseline Study was conducted to produce data to monitor project impact (read the report).
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