Course:FRST270/Wiki Projects/Sustainable forest management of the Model Forests in Cameroon
Sustainable forest management of the Model Forests in Cameroon
Cameroon holds a great proportion of Congo basin, the second largest forest ecosystem in the world. Congo basin has remarkably high biodiversity and species richness compared to the other parts of Africa. The Cameroon government enacted a new forestry law in 1994 that emphasizes the sustainable use of forests and the involvement of local communities. However, the implementation of this law did not go well since there was only one ministry taking responsible for its implementation. In 2005, two Model Forests, Campo Ma’an Model Forest and Dja et Mpomo Model Forest were established in Cameroon, and the Cameroon government recognized them as Model Forest. The primary objective of the establishment was to set up “a multi-partner governance platform for poverty alleviation, conservation, and sustainable management of forest resources”( p894). In this Model Forest project, stakeholders include local communities, the government of Cameroon, local NGOs, international NGOs and private sectors. The system that every stakeholder can have a say in deciding the usage of the area is adopted in the management of the Model Forest. This Model Forest project reached a certain point of success, however, there are some concerns to be solved. Further and deep research is needed to assess the project’s effects on local and national effects.
Campo Ma'an Model Forest
Campo Ma’an Model Forest is located in South-West Cameroon, Africa. It covers 769,445 hectares. The area has an easy access to the coastal city of Kribi, which locates next to the area.
The land distribution is:"
- National park 34%
- Agro-forestry zone 25.5%
- Forest management units 31.4%
- Rubber and palm oil plantations 7.5%
- Protected forest 1.6%" 
It is known as an area with rich biodiversity; there are about 80 species of large and medium-sized animals including “elephants (Loxodonta african cyclotis), buffalo (syncerus caffer-nanus), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), giant pangolin (Manis gigantean), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and panthers (Panthera pardus)”. More than half of the primate species in Cameroon are living in this area. Also, there are a great number of species of birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
There are 60,338 inhabitants and about 160 villages in the area. There are seven indigenous groups: “Iyassa, Batanga, Bulu, Mvae and Ntumu, Mabea, and the Bagyeli-i pygmies” (from  p628). Slush-and-burn subsistence agriculture is their main/secondary activity. They also earn additional income by “fishing, hunting and gathering, logging and agro-industry”. However, local people lack basic infrastructure and are facing extreme poverty.
Dja et Mpomo Model Forest
Dja et Mpomo Model Forest is the second Model Forest located in the Eastern Cameroon. It covers 700,000 hectares.  The area is remote, however, "the road and telephone connections to the capital are improving".( p895)
The land distribution is:"
- Agriculture lands 10%
- Forest management units 40%
- Community forests 15%
- Protected areas 23%
- Mining 10%
- Municipal forest 2%"
There are about 1600 tree species, 165 mammal species, 120 fish species and 320 bird species in the area and the area is known by "its striking biological diversity" (from ). Many local mammal species are listed as threatened or endangered including "the white collard Mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus), the forest elephant (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis), leopards (Panthera pardus), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)".
There are about 25,000 inhabitants in the area and the five main indigenous groups are: "the pygmy-Baka, the Badjoué, the Ndjemé, the Menzimé, the Nzimé and the Njiyèm". There are about 150 villages. Local communities mainly depend on agriculture, hunting and fishing but they are increasingly using wood and non-wood forest products.
History & Concept
The term “Model Forest” was first used by the Government of Canada, as part of the Green Plan.(p157) The Government of Canada announced the establishment of Canadian Model Forest Program (CMFP) and International Model Forest initiative at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In the same year, the first ten sites were created as Model Forests in Canada. The intention of the establishment of Model Forest was “to address and develop forest management best practices, placing equal emphasis on environmental, social and economic components of forested landscapes”. Over 20 years from the establishment, the concept of Model Forest became widely accepted around the world and there are more than 60 Model Forests in 30 countries.
According to the International Model Forest Network (IMFN), the formal definition of a Model Forest is “a partnership-based process through which individuals and groups, representing a diversity of values, work together toward a common vision of sustainable development for a landscape in which forests are an important feature”. Compared to the concept of community forestry, the concept of the Model Forest project is generally more comprehensive and includes a broader range of stakeholders in order to manage the forests and related communities sustainably and collaboratively. Therefore, all Model Forests involve different stakeholders, adopt different management processes and have different tenure arrangements. However, Model Forests have six core principles:
Model Forest is a geographic area including key natural resource and represents its economic, environmental, cultural and social values. It must be large enough to cover the whole usages of landscapes and its values, and at the same time, it must be a suitable size for the region or country.
Model Forests have various partners who are interested in the management of the area and they work together and collaborate to set the sustainable goals and to achieve them. There are different types of partners including individuals, groups, and institutions depending on what kind of interests they have. Partners can be described in other words, such as stakeholders. Examples of stakeholders are:"
- Community groups
- Indigenous peoples
- Government agencies
- Non-governmental organizations
- Academic and research institutions
- National parks
- Private landowners"( p7)
3. Commitment to sustainability
Model Forest partnerships are aiming to achieve sustainable goals and stakeholders must work together in order to make this happen. “The terms “sustainable forest management”, “ecosystem management” and “sustainable management of forested landscapes” all refer to similar concepts. Each encompasses a broad range of social, economic and ecological values.” ( p8)
The governance of Model Forest should support equal and effective stakeholders’ participation by:"
- Elaborating a vision for the Model Forest
- Discussing obstacles and opportunities for realizing that vision
- Developing a program of activities that support progress toward the shared vision" ( p8)
5. Program of activities
Model Forests’ program of activities is based on local communities’ needs, management challenges, values of natural resources and other various perspectives. General programs and activities are:"
- Partnership development and maintenance (including conflict mitigation)
- Applied research
- Community sustainability and livelihood development
- Communications, public awareness and knowledge transfer
- Capacity building
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Management and administration" ( p10)
6. Knowledge sharing, capacity building and networking
Sharing knowledge is very important especially for local people to earn additional income. It also provides benefits not only for local communities, but also every stakeholder involved. Capacity building is also important; Model Forests have to implement activities that will expand the capacity of local people, who normally have no access or limited access to the area or natural resources. Networking makes stronger relationship between stakeholders and “makes it more effective in introducing positive landscape-level changes”. ( p10)
Cameroon Model Forest Project
Forestry in Cameroon
Cameroon was colonized by Germany, England, and France from 1884 to 1960. Until the mid-1990s including the entire colonial period, the forests in Cameroon were managed by the government through a centrally directed structure. Local communities lost their resources and control over them. Moreover, they were excluded from access to the forest resources and their potential economic benefits. In 1994, a new Forest Law was enacted. This law emphasized the importance of sustainable use of the forests and recognized local people’s access to the forests. This change resulted in the establishment of land use and management plans for various sectors such as logging concessions, protected areas, and community forests.  However, the implementation didn’t go well; there was “a lack of collaboration among stakeholders”, “understanding of the forestry law”, “capacity building at the local level”, and “information sharing and participation of local communities”.()
Cameroon Model Forest Project
In 2003, Cameroon’s Model Forest Project was started as part of the IMFN led by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and its partners. Before the two Model Forests were established, several workshops and meetings were held participated by the Cameroon Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MINEF) and United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to seek for the possibility of developing Model Forest project in Congo Basin. Having more workshops and discussions with various organizations such as “the Central Africa commission on forest (COMIFAC), the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)”(building p630), participants agreed on establishing Model Forest in Cameroon as a first case in Africa. The site selection was done through a competition. First, the site selection technical committee was formed and the committee proposed the site criteria. The main points of the criteria were:” i) strong commitment of site actors and partners in the process; ii) nature and relevance of site management problems; and iii) ability of the site to generate financial resources”( p630). After that, the representatives of ten candidate sites who had been invited to the presentation were given chance to make comments and ask questions about the contents of the presentation. Responding to the presentation, the representatives were required to submit a report of their sites to the committee. After this process, the technical evaluation committee visited and ranked the three sites which had submitted the most impressive reports. As a result, Campo Ma’an and Dja et Mpomo were ranked first and second best. In 2005, the government decided to select these two sites as Model Forest sites in Cameroon, and Campo Ma’an Model Forest and Dja et Mpomo Model Forest were established.( p630-631)
This two Model Forests are State-owned forests, even though they are not managed exclusively by the State government but collaboratively managed by various stakeholders. This is because the government of Cameroon claimed all forest resources as State property in 1994 law by classifying them into communal forests.
“[T]he 1994 law included a zoning plan that divides forests into a permanent zone, exclusively owned and managed by the state, and a non-permanent zone, owned by the state but used and managed by a variety of other actors including municipalities, private individuals, and local communities.” ( p893)
The land of the two Model Forest will be continually owned by the government unless the forestry law is changed. However, most objectives which various stakeholders have are irrelevant to the land ownership; therefore, there are no issues related to tenure arrangement.
The management structure of the Model Forests is based on representative stakeholder platforms including women, baka-bagyeli pygmies, logging companies, municipalities, etc. A Board of 17 Directors (BOD) represents each platform and the Board was elected in January 2006, when the first annual constitutive assembly was held. The Board has an executive committee to facilitate actual practice and this committee is supported by technical and scientific committees; they assist the Board in analyzing and monitoring the projects and activities of the stakeholders’ relationship. The Model Forests adopted this management system
“to ensure that every actor has a say in the use of the forested landscape and to facilitate the circulation of ideas and information. Strategic planning meetings, training workshops, learning-by-doing exercises, discussions, media and education activities have been used so far to support that organization”( p627).
The definition of affected stakeholder: any person, group of persons, or entity that is or is likely to be directly impacted by activities that take place in the area(s) where he/she/they live or depend on for subsistence. Affected stakeholders in this case are local communities that consist of several indigenous groups and women organizations comprised of female members of these groups. There are seven indigenous groups in Campo Ma’an and five main indigenous groups in Dja et Mpomo, and one women organization in each site. Most indigenous groups make livelihoods by practicing agriculture, hunting, and fishing, depending on the land resources. Also, they mostly live in poverty; improving their livelihoods is the most important thing for them. Therefore, poverty alleviation and sustainable development, additional income is their main relevant objectives. Women organizations are formed to improve women’s social status because female members of society have often been downplayed for a long time. Since the concept of Model Forests is sustainable forest management while incorporating various stakeholders’ opinions, women organizations are seeking to build the capacity of female members in the society through participating in the management of Model Forests. However, the relative power of these two stakeholders groups are low and they are “underrepresented in much of the decision-making processes concerning the Model Forest”.(p19)
|Stakeholders||Main relevant objectives||Relative power|
(Campo Ma'an: Iyassa, Batanga, Bulu, Mvae and Ntumu, Mabea, and the Bagyeli-pygmies)
(Dja et Mpomo: the pygmy-Baka, the Ndjemé, the Menzimé, the Nzimé and the Njiyèm)
|poverty alleviation, sustainable development, additional income by from forest-related products,||Low|
(one in each Model Forest)
|socially-stable position of female members, building capacity of women||Low|
The definition of interested stakeholder: any person, group of persons, or entities that has shown an interest, or is known to have an interest in the activities of a specified place or area. Interested stakeholders in this case are the government such as the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) and the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP), private sectors such as logging companies and mining companies, local NGOs such as ROLD and ROCAME, and international NGOs such as CIFOR and IMFN. The main objectives of the government are to manage forests sustainably and reduce forest-related conflicts. The government failed to manage natural resources sustainably when they adopted the new law in 1994; therefore, they accepted the establishment of the Model Forest to achieve their primary objective by working together with various stakeholders. Also, before the new law came into effect, there were many conflicts between various stakeholders due to the exclusion of local communities from the forests, which they had been using for a long time; thus, conflict reduction is also a very important objective for the government. The relative power of the government is high. This is because the government is a high level institution and has control over the whole nation; also, the land of Model Forests is owned by the government. The private sectors are also an important stakeholder. There are two logging companies in Campo Ma’an and three in Dja et Mpomo, rubber oil palm agro-plantation in Campo Ma’an and GEOVIC mining company in both sites. Most of these private sectors have experienced some kinds of conflicts between local communities. They expected to reduce these conflicts by managing the forests together with local communities. Also, by having a partnership with various stakeholders, they thought that there would be potential opportunities to create new projects. Participating in decision making process can also benefit them by having access to new resources. The relative power of the private sectors is medium since they have much knowledge of adding values to forest products and have the relatively stable financial condition. The local NGOs are also important interested stakeholders. Their relevant objectives are building the capacity of local people’s participation in management and to reduce poverty. Also, sustainable use of local natural resources is important. Their relative power is medium. The international NGOs are critically important stakeholders. CIFOR is the leading institution for establishing the two Model Forests. IMFN is also an important key stakeholder that supports the operation of the two Model Forests. Other international NGOs are also important interested stakeholders, however, particularly CIFOR and IMFN are the key stakeholders in these two Model Forests; their relative power is high, and their main objective is conservation and collaborative and sustainable forest management.
|Stakeholders||Main relevant objectives||Relative power|
|Government (MINFOF, MINEP, IRAD and the Territorial Administration of the South and East Provinces)||Sustainable use of forests, conservation of natural resources, reduction/mitigation of forest-related conflicts||High|
(logging companies:two in Campo Ma'an, three in Dja et Mpomo, forest industries: rubber and oil palm agro-plantations in Campo Ma'an, mining company:GEOVIC mining company in Campo Ma'an and Dja et Mpomo)
|Reduction of conflicts with local communities, opportunities of new collaborative work, access to new resources||Medium|
|Local NGOs (ROLD and ROCAME)||Build capacity for local people, reduce poverty||Medium|
|International NGOs (CIFOR, IMFN, FAO, WWF)||Biodiversity conservation, collaborative management||High|
The primary objective of the Model Forest project is to establish “a multi-partner governance platform for poverty alleviation, conservation, and sustainable management of forest resource” ( p627) and to achieve this, two sub-objectives were set. Details and assessments are provided below.
1. “Develop local capacities for transparent, robust, and equitable governance”(p627) Various efforts to achieve this sub-objective are being done; the management structure (explained in “Administrative arrangement section”) is the main contributor. By setting the Board comprised of each stakeholders’ representatives, local people’s capacity of participating in Model Forest management is being developed. However, women and indigenous groups still have less participation in decision making process. Therefore, this sub-objective haven’t met yet and more focus on the participation of women and indigenous people is needed.
2. “Reduce poverty by optimizing the value of a wide range of forest products and environmental services”( p627) There are many projects running to achieve this sub-objective such as collaborating with Model Forest in other countries, invite instructors to teach local communities how to make wooden pens from wood left in the forest and raise protein-rich snails to earn additional income. Local people’s situations are getting better slowly; but still, many of the local people and women are in poverty, and much can be done to improve their situations.
The concept of Model Forest project is to manage forests collaboratively by involving all stakeholders in the decision making process. Considered from this concept, the relative power of stakeholders should be ideally the same. However, some stakeholders have stronger power compared to the others.
The relative power of the government is strong because they have been managing country’s forest before the Model Forest project started. Also, as I mentioned in the “Tenure arrangement” section, the land of the Model Forests is legally owned by the government. The use of the power is mainly in implementing new forest-related laws or policies; the government also has great power in decision making process.
- Indigenous groups
The relative power is weak, possibly because they have been marginalized for a long time including the colonial period. Also, the lack of the financial support and the low social hierarchy can be part of the reason. The power is mainly used in the decision making process, which other stakeholders often have more power than indigenous groups have.
- Women organizations
The relative power is weak because they have been ignored for a long time in the society. Women had been downplayed especially in the higher level of discussion. The power is mainly used in the decision making process of the Model Forest.
- Private sectors
The relative power is medium because these private sectors such as logging companies and mining companies are often financially stable and money is considered important in many scenes. Also, these local companies have much knowledge about how to make forest products more valuable. The use of the power is mainly in decision making process of the management of the Model Forest, but they have less power compared to the other stakeholders with great powers such as the government.
- Local NGOs
The relative power is medium because they are financially supported by outside institutions and have enough knowledge about local communities and local forest resources. The power is used in decision making process of the management of the Model Forest; however, they do not have a great power in decision making.
- International NGOs
The relative power is high especially for CIFOR and IMFN because they worked for the establishment of this project and involved in this project from the first step. The use of the power is in decision making process and also supporting other stakeholders or projects financially.
1. More participation of local communities and female members in management structure
As I mentioned on this page for several times, local communities and female members are often underrepresented in the decision making process. The current management system of the Model Forests is adopted to ensure that every stakeholder has a say in the decision making process. In spite of this effort, indigenous groups and women are still less participated. Indigenous groups and women organizations might not be satisfied with the current situation. To improve the situation, identification of the causes of this problem is needed. Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the Model Forest project is also essential in order to find out the causes and solutions. The government and the international NGOs should work hard to solve the problem since they have relatively high power compared to the other stakeholders. However, it is very difficult to solve the problem because the stakeholders who have higher power might be satisfied with the current situation and consider it as a good situation enough.
2. Creation of new projects by collaborating with various stakeholders and outsiders
The primary objectives of the Model Forest project include poverty alleviation. However, as I mentioned in “Discussion” section, many local communities still live in poverty. Local communities are hoping to live in better economic condition. In order to solve this problem, it is essential to create new sources of incomes for local people. One effective solution is to start new projects by collaborating with various stakeholders, including outsiders. By working together with people or entities outside that have the diverse and cumulated knowledge, local communities can create another source of income. Also, the government, international and local NGOs can establish new connections with other countries, regions or institutions.
3. Monitoring and assessment of the project
More than 10 years have passed since the project launched as a first Model Forest project in Africa. However, there are very few reports and papers that provide good monitoring and assessment of how the project is performing so far. Since Campo Ma’an Model Forest and Dja et Mpomo Model Forest are the pilot cases in Africa, monitoring and evaluating the performance of the project is critical. In order to establish Model Forests in another place in Africa, the elaborate monitoring and assessment should be done. These monitoring and assessments of the project should be done either by the government or NGOs to check how well the project has been doing both at local and national levels.
Besseau, P., Alvarado, W., Calumbay, R., Daloos, P., Imperial, R., Jones, L., . . . Wagan, L. (n.d.). The Model Forest Experience in Using Broad-based Partnerships for Sustainable Forest Management. In Cross-sectoral policy developments in forestry. Wallingford, UK: CABI Pub.
Bullock, R., Jastremski, K. and Reed, M. G. (2017). Canada's Model Forests 20 Years On: Towards Forest and Community Sustainability?. Natural Resource Forum, 41: 156–166. doi:10.1111/1477-8947.12129
Canadian Model Forest Network. (n.d.). Bringing Science and Policy to the Forest. [PDF] Retrieved from https://sites.ualberta.ca/~pcomeau/IBFRA2013/posters/IBFRA%202013%20POSTER%20CMFN-Oct%202_FINAL.pdf
Cuso International. (2015, January 01). A Forest For The Trees. Retrieved October 23, 2017 from https://cusointernational.org/story/a-forest-for-the-trees/
Diaw, C. (2016, June 07). The Cameroon Pilot: Model Forests as a Vehicle of Sustainable Development in Africa. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://peoplefoodandnature.org/blog/the-cameroon-pilot-model-forests-as-a-vehicle-of-sustainable-development-in-africa/
International Model Forest Network. (2008). Model Forest Development Guide. [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.imfn.net/system/files/Model_Forest_Development_Guide_en.pdf
International Model Forest Network. (n.d.). Climate Change Adaptation in Cameroon’s Model Forests. Retrieved October 23, 2017 from http://www.rifm.net/climate-change-adaptation-cameroon%E2%80%99s-model-forests
Jum, C., Nguiebouri, J., & Zoa, M. (2007). Enhancing Sustainable Forest Management in Cameroon Through a Model Forest Based Approach. International Forestry Review, 9(4), 892-900.
Jum, C., Nguiebouri, J., Zoa, M., & Diaw, C. (2007). Building Broad‐based Partnership for Sustainable Forest Management: the Model Forest Experience in Cameroon. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 64(5), 625-641.
Pollett, F., (2012). Teenager No More … Whither the IMFN? Forestry Chronicle, 88(3): 223–226.
Roche, I.A., Alemagi, D. & Kozak, R. (2011). Promoting Sustainable Management of Cameroon’s Model Forests. [PDF] Branchlines, 22#1, 18-19. Retrieved from http://forestry.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2011/11/Branchlines_Feb2011.pdf#page=18
|This conservation resource was created by Course:FRST270.|
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