Central Africa Humid Tropics Transect Sentinel landscape

  • Njansang kernel

The Central Africa Humid Tropics Sentinel Landscape (CAFHUT) represents a dynamic socio-ecological gradient of forest and land-use in the Congo Basin. Currently focussed on Cameroon, the sites demonstrate a gradient where forest and tree-based livelihoods are and will become prevalent means of poverty alleviation. These sites are where the pressures of urban development, population growth, forest commercialisation and land-use transition are changing the face of the forest landscape at a rapid pace. In particular, the landscape features:

  1. Mature humid dense forest to the south east of the country where forest-dwelling men and women profit from hunting and the consumption and sale of a wealth of non-timber forest products.
  2. Fragmented mosaics of primary and secondary forests impacted by (a) an extensive yet poorly understood informal timber market, (b) a 100 year-old logging industry which accounts for an average of six per cent of the GDPs of many Central African Countries and (c) vast roads paving their way to logging and mining concessions in the heart of the Congo Basin.
  3. Peri-urban areas where both primary and secondary forest fragments still exist, but where the land-use has been dominated by mixed smallholder agroforestry and intensified agricultural systems.
  4. Zones where forest meets savannah and agricultural activities dominate, but where local inhabitants have begun to reap the rewards of cocoa agroforestry, slowly transforming deforested landscapes into productive and profitable tree-based livelihoods.

Site Selection

Mintom
Transition between mature old growth forest and logged-over forest, where there is a mixture of active forest concessions, recently allocated community forests and unallocated forest concessions.

Currently the site hosts both production and virgin primary forest, but a vast road is being opened through this area, meaning that a radical change can be observed in few years.

Activities include opening of markets and intensification of smallholder/community activities – including agriculture and agroforestry, hunting, informal logging and commercial activities.

Lomie-Kongo
Degraded mature forest, where Concession and community forestry and timber exploitation are some of the principal activities influencing forest structure in the area.

In addition to this, other forest-related activities include hunting and the collection of some non-timber forest products.

Agriculture and agroforestry practices exist, however access to markets is slightly more difficult, meaning that they have not been intensified.

A principal partner in the area would be the PALLISCO timber concession.

Ayos
The municipality of Ayos is situated 123 km from Yaoundé, the national capital of Cameroon. Ayos vegetation is characterized by galerian forests surrounded by swamp forests of raffia, and has a surface area is 1250 km2 with an estimated population of 22899 inhabitants.

The entire population of this municipality depend directly on subsistence farming for their livelihoods with cocoa being one of the principal agricultural produce. The zone falls in the forest margin landscape where agriculture and agroforestry products are the mainstay for a large proportion of the population, and agricultural practices are relatively mature (mostly cocoa, coffee, oil palm).

The presence of ASB site from ICRAF, with IITA as partner, is an assurance for available information about the dynamics in the area.

The area is inhabited by growing rural communities with access to markets, and comprises about 39 villages under two mains groups – YEBEKOLO-Est and OMVANG. Its geographical position provides avenue for the flow of money which is reflected in the progressive investments in activities such as fishing, hunting, small scale plantations (cocoa, oil palm, pineapple, etc.), and which supply local and neighbouring markets in Abong Mbang to the East and from Awae towards Yaoundé in the West.

Bokito
Forest-savannah or deforested landscape dynamic, where secondary forest is used for growing cash and subsistence agricultural and agroforestry crops.

All forest land has been allocated, so some have begun to successfully grow cocoa and oil palm in the savannah.

Site shows deforested landscapes, forest-savannah mosaics and successful reforestation efforts.

Good access by road, and a long-term CIRAD presence, ensuring links to local smallholders and some past data.

Research teams

LDFS
3 days training of 15 participants from ICRAF to expose them to the various methods and tools used in the characterization and mapping of ecosystems.

Field survey started already with Bokito (currently in Etiomolo) with the planning of ending this August before moving to Lomie
Lomie will be programmed after Bokito.

In 2014/2015, two sentinel (Etiolomo and Ayos) were sampled: Main data collected per sentinel site included: Soil surface characterization; Vegetation assessment and measurement; Soil sampling ; Soil texture ; Visible soil erosion ; Soil infiltration capacity ; Landform and Land Cover Classification; Woody cover.

In 2016, two additional sites will be sampled.

 

Socio-economic

From 2013 to 2016, socio-economic surveys have been conducted in 38 villages of the CAFHUT Sentinel Landscape sites’ (Mintom, Bokito, Lomié and Ayos)

Villages were selected using criteria such as: size, hospitality, accessibility, ethnic composition.

Data were collected using IFRI survey tools (Focus groups of 10-20 persons; Key informants leaders; Implication of women as much as possible and household surveys). Census information’s from local administration and partners; Random walk; key informants were also used.

A total of 936 households were surveyed (mintom-138,  Bokito-32, Lomié-202 and Ayos-272, that is 30% of the total number of households per village).

Next step:

End with the double data entry of Mintom and Bokito.

 

Institutional Mapping

Several exchange with the methodology group
Meeting in Yaoundé to have a common understanding of the survey tools
Activities not yet started due to the non-availability of the group leader
A Consultant will be recruited to handle start the activities

 

Health
Initiated some field work at Ayos and Bokito.

Some sites visit conducted; to exchange with health related stakeholders (Health personnels, traditional authorities, traditional health offers, etc…).

Information collected comprised; distance to health centers, health personnels, plants and tree used for health treatment, household health situations etc..

Next step: discussed the finding with the sentinel landscape in the perspective of developing a methodological tools for this component.

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