Forest Community Monitoring in Cameroon

The forest areas of Cameroon are mainly inhabited by the indigenous Pygmy hunter-gatherer populations, Bantu and Ubangian speaking farmers, fishers and merchants. The forests are an especially important source of livelihood for the Pygmies providing most of their food, medicine & craft materials and are especially important in the religious and ritual life of these people.

In 2008, an initiative was launched aimed at enabling local forest communities to map their forest use and resources as well monitor logging activities in their local area. The main goal of the project was to set up a monitoring system whereby local indigenous communities could gather and record data relating to resource use on their community’s land. A particular focus of this project has been in supporting the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and AFLEG (African Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade processes, to provide a platform to aid in forest monitoring and remote verification of forest management activities in over 15 sites across Cameroon. The project builds on almost a decade of work in Cameroon by Forest Peoples Programme and Centre pour L’Environnement et Le Developpement to support forest communities to map their lands, as part of a series of projects aiming to help communities protect their rights and resources.

Data Gathering by Indigenous Peoples
15 communities in Eastern Cameroon were selected to participate in the data collection activities. Training and support for the communities was provided by CED. The data was collected by local communities who retraced areas where they carried out their daily excursions to hunt and gather food and other products in the forest. Both men and women from the communities were involved in the data collection ensuring that gendered differences in the use of forest resources and forest usage were considered as part of the project.