Ex-Situ Cultivation of Non Timber Forest Products (Case of Gnetum spp)

Summary
Gnetum spp (Eru) is a highly priced and harvested non-timber forest product in the Mount Cameroon Region. It is already commercially extinct in this region. Harvesting is unsustainable and involves tree felling and off rooting of vines. This contributes to the region’s forest degradation.

The defunct Mount Cameroon Project (MCP) concentrated on the management of key resources like fuel wood, bush meat and Prunus africana. It organized resource users (farmers, charcoal burners, fuel wood exploiters and hunters) and monitored their activities. The introduction and implementation of exploitation quotas regulated resource use. MCP closure, inadequate follow-up and financing led to increased irrational exploitation.

This project contributed to forest conservation by reducing pressure on wild eru stock through:

  • Training of farmers, charcoal burners, fuel wood exploiters and hunters on ex-situ cultivation and sustainable management of wild eru
  • Promotion of enrichment planting, (encouraging natural regeneration)

Eru Farm Established by Trainees

Summary of Results of the Project
This project sensitized 211 resource users (107 men & 104 women) on the rational exploitation and cultivation of ntfps and the link to biodiversity conservation. It then built the capacity of 179 (92 women & 86 men) on ex-situ cultivation of Gnetum spp through the organisation of 7 training workshops, 63 technical support visits, 4 exchange visits and an open field day. As a result 7 eru demonstration farms were established, and 13350 eru seedlings raised and distributed. Implementation of forest legislation was fostered even though some community members remained above the law. Forest management institutions had local administration’s support. At the close of the project change in livelihood was yet to occur. Except for one farmer engaged in food service industry with eru from her farm, and who had been involved in eru farming since 1999, all the other participants were still to start reaping financial gains from their investment in eru.

Results
The project left behind nursery facilities for the production and distribution of eru seedlings to community members and some remain operational till date. This project acted as a boaster as it contributed to the acquisition of a grant for CENDEP to construct her own eru nursery for multiplication and distribution of eru seedlings to sustain itself.

As an observation start up grants like this one can empower CBOs to champion conservation work in their communities. A larger funding for a second phase of this project with broader-based participation and planning should be considered. Read the full report.


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Domestication

Nursery Construction
Korup National Park
Organic Farming
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