Korup, a case study in forest resource management
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CTA. 1995. Korup, a case study in forest resource management. Spore 59. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47142
The Korup rainforest of Southwest Cameroon is an area of unique biological diversity. However, hunting and trapping by people living within the protected zone of the Korup National Park, and in the areas immediately outside it, are eliminating many...
The Korup rainforest of Southwest Cameroon is an area of unique biological diversity. However, hunting and trapping by people living within the protected zone of the Korup National Park, and in the areas immediately outside it, are eliminating many animal species, including elephant, giant pangolin and many small mammals. The decline in coffee and cocoa prices has led to an increase in sales and consumption of 'bush' meat as people have sought alternative sources of income and food. If continued unchecked, hunting and trapping would lead to the breakdown of the intricate biological web of species interdependence and the destruction of the forest. For example, the World Resources Institute has identified 71 plant species which have germinated after passing through the gut of elephants. These comprise about 11% of all vascular plants found at Korup and the destruction of elephants alone would jeopardize and perhaps prevent the dispersal and continued survival of many plants. There are six villages within the Park and 100 villages in the surrounding area with a total population of about 27,000. It was recognized by me Government of Cameroon and international conservation organizations that it was essential for a project to be set up that would work in harmony with the local population through education, involvement and, most importantly, by providing alternative sources of income. The urgent requirement for a positive, structured approach to rural development in the Korup area to help manage me resources of the forest on a sustainable basis has been met by me Korup National Park Project. This was set up in collaboration with the Government of Cameroon and has been managed by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). The European Union is the principal funding agency. Other significant donors are UK Overseas Development Administration (ODA) and the German Development Agency (GTZ). Between 1993 and 1996 ODA funding is specifically supporting a rural development component to raise standards of living for both individuals and communities through a variety of rural enterprises and improvements in infrastructure. Activities include projects for rearing small livestock, using improved planting material, developing community farms to multiply improved planting stock, and planting local and exotic fruit trees. EU funding includes financial aid for infrastructural development such as the construction of primary schools, health centres, water supplies and roads. Resettlement of villagers from within to outside the Park is a major concern of the Cameroon authorities. If the Korup forest within the Park is to survive the local people must be assisted and guided to develop a system for exploiting the animals and plants in the zone surrounding the Park on a sustainable basis. If the wildlife within the Park can be adequately protected, preferably with the full cooperation of the local people, breeding populations within the Park will produce an overspill into the surrounding area where hunting and trapping can be carried out under a proper system of controls. Feeder roads will encourage the production of a wider range of cash crops by providing easier access for bringing in inputs, and better transport links to major markets. A more intensive and productive form of agriculture should result in improved food security and thus in better nutrition levels. This in turn should greatly reduce the need for hunting wildlife, and increase household income through the sale of crops. It has been estimated that 80% of the animals killed are sold and only 20% are consumed. With poverty endemic in the area it is essential that resource management offers local people more than just the opportunity to substitute crops for animals as a source of income. There should be clear opportunities to gain a higher income as well as better living standards, clean water supply, education and improved communications. The Korup Project is engaged in all these aspects of development.
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