Socio-economic impact of Prunus africana management in the Mount Cameroon region: A case study of the Bokwoango community
Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
In most developing countries, forest resources are a major source of livelihood for forest dwellers. Forests provide fuel wood, farm products, meat, timber and plants of high medicinal value, including Prunus africana. The collection of medicinal plants is also an important source of cash income for some forest communities, and widely relied on to cure illnesses (Poffenberger, 1993). Because of this, the poor forest dwellers in particular are forced to exert pressure on their surrounding environment to make ends meet. Indiscriminate exploitation of forest resources has cost some forest dwellers dearly as they are now experiencing marked reduction of wildlife, forest cover, soil fertility and most importantly water supply, which is a key to life. Prunus africana has a very high economic and medicinal value locally as well as internationally. The exploitation of this species is a very profitable activity in most parts of Africa where it occurs, including the Mount Cameroon region. In recent years, most youths and young men in the Mount Cameroon region have seemingly become less interested in their usual income generating activities (farming, hunting, etc.) because of reduced productivity and have taken up Prunus harvesting as their major source of income. Increase in demand for this species by the French pharmaceutical company (Plantecam), weak institutional capacity to control exploitation, uncontrolled access into the forest, scramble for diminished stock by legal and illegal exploiters, destruction of wild stock by unsustainable practices, and insufficient regeneration of the species in the past have almost driven this species to extinction in certain parts of Cameroon and made it severely threatened in others. Prunus africana is presently threatened with extinction in the entire Mount Cameroon region. In response to this, the Mount Cameroon Project (MCP) and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MINEF) helped some communities (Bokwoango and Mapanja) in the Mount Cameroon region to form Prunus africana harvesters’ unions with the aim of preserving the resource and improving the socio-economic benefits. The principal aim of the Bokwoango Prunus africana harvesters’ union is to ensure sustainable exploitation of Prunus africana while saving money for important development projects for individual members, their families and the entire community. This piece of work highlights the different facets of Prunus africana management in Cameroon in general and the Bokwoango community in particular. The study examines the socio-economic impact of Prunus africana management in the Bokwoango community and shows specifically the management role played by the Bokwoango Prunus africana harvesters’ union to reduce the rate of exploitation of Prunus africana and also to ensure benefit sharing of the earnings from sales of Prunus bark. It at the same time brings out the constraints encountered by harvesters as well as the opportunities that can make the union become more viable to the socio-economic development of the Bokwoango community. Results of this study show that for the short period that the Bokwoango Prunus africana harvesters’ union has existed, the socio-economic changes in this community are encouraging if one compares the present situation with that before the formation of the union. Most importantly, there has been increased awareness on the great need to conserve not only the threatened Prunus africana species but also other threatened plant and animal species in the region through sustainable hunting, harvesting and regeneration. Some proposals are made for efficient natural resource management and improvements on livelihood through alternative income generating activities. The study ends with recommendations for policy and institutional reforms as well as suggestions for further research in sustainable management of Prunus africana.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , xi, 111 p.
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; SOM-EX 06-005
Exploitation, Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP), Regeneration, Conservation, Sustainability, Community forestry, Sustainable livelihood, Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), Socio-economic impact, Management
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3968OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-3968DiVA: diva2:10208
2006-02-15, Seminar room, Division of Urban planning, L Building, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, KTH, STOCKHOLM, 13:15