Period: 2010 -2011
Estimated cost: 15,000 Euros
To enhance livelihood activities through the sustainable management of non timber forest products in villages bordering the Bakossi National Park.
(Established by Decree No. 2007/1459/PM of 28 November 2007)
- Income generation from Non Timber Forest Products
- Improved subsistence agriculture
- Focus on biodiversity
Domains of Focus and Targeted Operational Programes Of Wef
Operational programmes: sustainable utilization and conservation of biological diversity important for agriculture (PO13), Forest Ecosystems (PO3), operational programme for sustainable soil management (PO12)
In the Bakossi National Park, the main economic activity is agriculture. More than 200 of BNP plants are at risk of extinction, according to the red list of threatened species maintained by UKs Royal Botanic Gardens, and human activities on the regions’ fringes could constrain its future. About 95% of the total population is made up of farmers with the following characteristics; low standards of living, forest dependent, subsistence farming, inadequate agricultural knowledge among others. The drop in prices of main cash crops (coffee and cocoa) has caused them to exert enormous pressure on the forest, thus abandoning their farm for forest products to complement their family incomes.
A major threat to the primary forests in the reserve is the over harvesting of nontimber forest products (NTFPs). This comes about from a general lack of knowledge, and the need to cover health and education needs. A general lack of cash results from lack of access to markets and credit and from the general state of poverty that is found in the communities around the reserve. It is assumed, therefore, that by providing direct market access for NTFPs, project participants will be able to earn more money for less NTFP volumes.
Whilst national parks focus on conserving natural resources, neighboring communities focus on making use of the natural environment to generate income and provide food. This often results in struggle and resistance, with neighboring communities using whatever power they have to challenge and resist park rules. A participatory management strategy (environmental education, agreeing conditions for resources access agreements) which includes members of neighboring communities in the management of the national park, so that the needs of both the park and communities can be met whilst protecting the natural environment.
A lack of knowledge of appropriate agriculture strategies results from lack of opportunity to get an education because of the absence of economic resources to go to school and from the fact that most farmers are unaware of proper farming techniques, all combine to adversely affect the way the natural resources in the Bakossi National Park are used. It is assumed that by teaching farmers new sustainable agricultural techniques, productivity per unit area will increase, and there will be less need to increase the amount of area planted, therefore slowing the acceleration of deforestation for new family plots.