A Follow-Up to Last Month’s Feature on SETAC Trees for Africa Initiative
Wirsiy Eric Fondzenyuy, CENDEP Cameroon
Last month’s issue of the Globe featured an article on a project that SETAC Europe has helped support, as part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Billion Tree Campaign during the International Year of Forests.
The project aims to expand and conserve the Mbiame communal forest, with a goal of enhancing its water supply potential. That article mentioned the project’s use of the analog forestry technique. This technique is not widely known and so people had questions about it.
The International Analog Forestry Network describes analog forestry as "a system which seeks to establish analog ecosystems with architectural structures and ecological functions similar to the original climax or sub climax vegetation. It also seeks to strengthen rural communities, socially as much as economically, through the use of species that provide commercial products." The Centre for Nursery Development and Eru Propagation (CENDEP) initiated analog forestry as a technique for the restoration of the degraded areas of the Mbiame forest in 2008 with support from the Netherlands Committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN NL).
Analog forestry was a new concept to government and local administrative authorities, so the project started by involving authorities in project activities like tree planting, and monitoring and evaluation meetings. Both administrations gave a go ahead for agriculture in water catchment areas, permitting the agricultural phase of analog forestry.
A view of one of the community tree nurseries established to support the Mbiame communal forest project.
Local people were organized and trained in tree nursery establishment and this resulted in the establishment of seven community nurseries. 11000 tree seedlings were produced and part planted in 31 hectares of degraded forest land. Farmers acquired knowledge and material support in income generating opportunities. Income worth $800 was generated from honey as revenue for forest conservation activities. Over 500 bee farmers were linked to a buyer resulting in the marketing of 5 tons of honey.
An evaluation conducted at the end of the project noted amongst other things that the successful perpetuation of initiated activities would largely depend on the ability of the forest management committees to mobilize not only the necessary resources but also the rest of the community members for participation. While resources are necessary to cover the recurrent costs associated with the continuous implementation of initiated activities and the maintenance of project outcomes, community mobilization is important in ensuring community commitment to the course and consequently the active participation of community members.
CENDEP continues working with the FMC assisting them to identify sources of income for their work. Thank you SETAC Europe for helping to sustain this Mbiame communal forest project!
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