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Sustainable forest management at the local scale: A comparative analysis of community and domestic forests in Cameroon
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Sustainable forest management at the local scale: A comparative analysis of community and domestic forests in Cameroon



Guillaume Lescuyer...

Guillaume Lescuyer
POPULAR project

Presentation for the conference on
Taking stock of smallholders and community forestry
Montpellier France
March 24-26, 2010



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  • Chasse et pêche principalement régulées, surtout pour interdire les pratiques commerciales individuelles Agriculture régulée (« pas d’extension ») alors qu’elle est autorisée dans le DFNP Peu de contrôle du timber cutting: problème de cohérence avec la vocation centrale de la forêt
  • Forêt domestique est la plus proche du village et supporte l’essentiel de l’agriculture
  • une préférence pour la chasse dans la FC qui s’explique par une présence encore importante de la forêt avec pas mal de champs, qui permet de combiner différents types de chasse
  • 20 foyers (sur 38 foyers), suivi des revenus pendant 1 an
  • Natural capital: conservation and valorization of trees (and biodiversity) (but related to distance) Physical capital: very little impact on collective infrastructure Social and human capitals: internally (trainings, techniques,…) and externally (social network with NGOs,…)

Sustainable forest management at the local scale: A comparative analysis of community and domestic forests in Cameroon Sustainable forest management at the local scale: A comparative analysis of community and domestic forests in Cameroon Presentation Transcript

  • Sustainable forest management at the local scale: A comparative analysis of community and domestic forests in Cameroon Guillaume Lescuyer CIRAD-CIFOR Cameroon POPULAR project
  • Cameroonian Forest: a dichotomous space
    • State private estate, where
      • specialized uses (logging, conservation,…)
      • under the regular control of administration
      • significant restrictions to other (local) uses
    • Non Permanent Forest Estate, where
      • No strict regulation by the State and predominant customary informal regulations
      • Natural resources must be withdrawn for self-consumption only
      • except in Community Forests, claimed by communities and allocated by the State according to technical criteria
  • Divergences between community and domestic forests Community forest Domestic forest Max 5000ha granted by the State for 25 years No legal boundaries but legitimate “terroir” Complex and costly procedure to request a CF No cost Managed by an official community entity Regulated by families and lineages Legal tenure on resources (but not land) Customary (informal) ownership of land and resources Products extracted from forest can be sold Products only for self-consumption According to a Simple Management Plan, validated by the State According to customary rules, with no State control Restriction to local uses No restriction to local uses
  • Simple Management Plans review: Use rights restriction in CFs
  • The CF rules in practice
    • Sources of inappropriateness of CF rules:
      • Hard to convince stopping these basic (livelihoods and financial) activities, especially for the customary land owners
      • Refusal to set and run a village monitoring committee
  • Assessing the comparative advantages of community and domestic forests: the case of Nkolenyeng
  • At the forest cover level % of land without forest cover Domestic forest 21% Community forest 9% Protected area 12% Logging concesssion 11%
  • At the vegetal biodiversity level   Community forest Domestic Forest Logging concession Shanon index 7,12 6,92 6,6 Simpson index 56,01 43,86 45,58 Total number of inventoried timber species 321 334 299 Density (stem/ha) 2620 2794 1592 Number of local HCV species 68 70 58
  • Where local people extract forest resources   In the Community Forest Out the Community Forest Including domestic forest NTFP 30% 70% 20% Bushmeat 54% 46% 6%
  • At the household income level Shifting cultivation 1 393 65.6% Hunting 43 2.0% NTFP 54 2.6% Fishing 4 0.2% Local trade 73 3.4% Other commercial activities 293 13.8% Wage 94 4.4% from agricultural activities 38 (1.8%)  from timber exploitation 56   (2.7%) Savings, gifts 167 7.9% TOTAL 2 122  
  • Sustainable Livelihoods Impacts of the Community Forest
  • Conclusion
    • Main advantage of CF for local people: Openness and visibility for external actors
      • Irregular and distrustful relationships with timber traders
      • Leverage to touch civil society, administrations, funders
      • New economic opportunities (REDD, palm plantation) ?
    • A significant cost to get a CF, born by external actors
    • A very partial application of the SMP:
      • SMP must abide by some technical rules imposed by MINFOF (conservation of forest cover, detailed inventory,…) that differ from local practices, rules and capacities
      • SMP is often not written by the communities; lack of ex post appropriation by rural population
      • SMP may concern fundamental (economic and social) activities, that cannot easily be changed for some households
  • Conclusion
    • The Community Forest remains a domestic forest
      • Customary tenure and regulations are recognized and enforced. Legal entities created to enforce CF are much weaker than customary institutions that regulate access to land and resources
      • No concrete restriction to local use (except logging). The only role of the legal entity is to harvest timber, while giving compensation to customary right-holders (“private wood”)
      • Micro-zoning of specialized areas is not effective: management of a combination of resources (agriculture, timber, NTFP,…) by the family/lineage
    • Resilience of the local socio-ecological system
      • No significant benefit accruing from CF, while agriculture (mainly in domestic forest) provides 2/3 of total household revenues
      • No intentional conservative management of natural resources
      • Barrier to any exogenous development initiative ?
      • CF as a means to initiate a privatization of forest/land, but rather at the family/individual scale ?