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Community forest governance in Cameroon: a review

Serge Mandiefe Piabuo, World Agroforestry Centre
Divine Foundjem-Tita, World Agroforestry Centre
Peter A Minang, World Agroforestry Centre; ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins


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There is growing evidence that good community forest (CF) governance is a significant determinant of CF success. We examined the state of CF governance in Cameroon by applying a set of good governance principles to 36 case studies. Key good governance principles applied included accountability, equity, participation, representation, direction, and performance. The results revealed that the state of CF governance was relatively poor, with 78% of case studies not meeting standards for all the principles. Evidence suggests that all case studies did not meet standards for accountability and equity, while more than 70% of the case studies did not meet standards for participation, direction, and performance. Positive governance outcomes included increased CF employment; contribution to social investments like roofing of houses, provision of water, health, and training; improved community participation in sustainable management of forests; improved awareness of environmental protection and sustainable exploitation practices; and enabling fair representation of and empowerment of indigenous minorities such as the Baka, resulting in the creation of a Baka-led CF. The presence of economic activities that generate direct benefits, the extent of technical support, and influential and supportive elites emerged as key drivers of positive outcomes in CF governance. These suggest that deploying incentives targeted at catalyzing enterprise development such as favorable loans, tax and financial support conditions, reinforced focused technical and institutional support including capacity building, and awards for supportive and innovative elites could go a long way to improve CF governance in Cameroon.

Key words

community forest governance; inclusive resource management; livelihoods

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087