Challenges to Sustainable Forest Management and Community Livelihoods Sustenance in Cameroon: Evidence from the Southern Bakundu Forest Reserve in Southwest Cameroon

  •  Ewane Basil Ewane    
  •  Ewane Bertrand Olome    
  •  Heon-Ho Lee    


Sustainable forest management in Cameroon is being plagued with many challenges directly related to key issues in the areas of forest law enforcement and governance. This study used questionnaires to examine the major community livelihood activities undertaken in the SBFR causing deforestation and forest degradation and to explore the localized trigger forces, and their implications for sustainable forest management in Cameroon. The authors found that the rated localized forces triggering indiscriminate human activities in the Southern Bakundu Forest Reserve (SBFR) are scarcity of farmland outside the forest reserve land, population growth, poverty and the more fertile nature of the forest reserve land than the limited, overused, and degraded community farming land. In addition, the authors found that forest monitoring activities in the field by forestry officials were plagued with complicity by some corrupt forestry officials, forces of law and order, administration, local management committee leaders, and disgruntled local population in the apprehension of illegal forest exploiters, besides inadequate resources. The strategies to address the above issues have not been prioritized. Based on the results, this paper argues that the governance failure to prioritize more and better investment in modern agriculture, non-wood domestic cooking energy and reliable rural transport systems, amongst others, including building institutional capacity and physical infrastructure compromises sustainable forest management in Cameroon at both the national and local community levels. In this light, a set of holistic and comprehensive strategic programmes are recommended as the way forward to guaranteeing sustainable development in forest management in Cameroon.

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