C1 Hall

Community-assessment on Participatory Conservation of Mount Cameroon National Park

(Oral and Poster)

Ayonghe Akonwi Nebasifu


Mount Cameroon National Park (MCNP) is located in the South West region of Cameroon. It's ecologically significant with >2000 flora species influenced climatically by average annual temperatures of 24 to 35 (c) degrees, volcanic soils, excess sun shine, and average annual precipitation >2500 mm.

By 21st century, MCNP became of political interest; identified as an IUCN biodiversity hot spot, and designated a protected area by Cameroon's government in 2009. In addition, legal agreements such as Cameroon's 1994 Forestry Law ensures rights and benefits of indigenous people living close to protected areas.

In terms of local communities, Bakweri people have arguably been the most known early hunter-gatherers and settlers in the area of whose livelihood depend greatly on subsistence agriculture as documented far beyond 16th century. Forest not only serves for ancestral worship, but for harvesting medicinal plants, sheltering during hunting, transportation, harvesting of wood and spices, and cultural events. Such activities have eventually been modified by influx of outsiders from neighboring and distant places who introduce new habits of trading for income.

In 2014, a Ministerial decree established a management plan for MCNP focusing on Policy of Participatory Conservation. This provided mechanism for village representatives to decide on issues of conservation directly affecting the village and in collaborative-consultation with MCNP Service which is the core-authority in charge on management of the park. In return, villages receive financial bonuses based on monitoring and assessment reports which highlight if villagers are acting (or not) in conformity to laws that discourage unsustainable practices of forest exploitation.

Therefore, my study aims to; assess levels of village satisfaction on policy of Participatory Conservation, based on quantitative values assigned to levels of high, average, and low, derived from a case study and comparative analysis of 14 villages across the Bomboko and West Coast clusters of MCNP, and what implications this has for policy implimentation. Applying methods of purposeful sampling, focus group discussions, and surveys, 238 respondents were interviewed. Findings show 53.6% high, 40% average, 6.3% less recorded for Westcoast; meanwhile >38% high, 59% average, and 23% less recorded for Bomboko. This was accounted for by road accessibility and nearness to CBD. We conclude that effectiveness of policy intervention in our study area depends on urban-proximity, accessibility and state amenity supplies, which seems to conform with dependency theories.

1.) Awung, N.S., and Marchant, R. (2016) Investigating the Role of the Local Community as Co-Managers of the Mount Cameroon National Park Conservation Project. MDPI Journals, Environments. Vol. 3(4), pp. 1-22.

2.) MCNP Service (2014) Management Plan for MCNP. Archive data, MCNP Office, Buea, SW. Region, Cameroon.