Preamble

Mangrove forests found uniquely in sheltered inter-tidal areas within the tropical and subtropical areas of the world occupying about 200 000ha in Cameroon today in three major blocks Rio Del Rey (South West Region), Cameroon estuary (Littoral Region) and Ntem estuary (South Region) are extremely valuable, unique but fragile ecosystems that provide many critical ecosystem services, such as food and energy, carbon sequestration, coastal disaster protection, shoreline stabilization, waste processing, and recreation. Being at the interface of land and sea, they also play key roles in linking terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems, thus keeping all three productive and healthy.

As various natural disasters have demonstrated, mangroves can protect coastal communities and reduce death tolls in the event of major storms or tsunamis. Valued at as much as US $37,000 per hectare annually for fisheries, mangroves serve as key fish nursery habitats for important commercial and subsistence fish species, such as groupers, snappers, mullets, and blue crabs. They are a main barrier to nutrient runoff causing harmful algal blooms.  Mangroves are critical to maintaining the high biodiversity of tropical systems, and thus underpin valuable recreation and coastal economies.

 

Despite their high value and importance to human wellbeing, over 25% of Cameroon mangrove areas have already been lost between 1980-2006 according to UNEP (2007) with yet unknown estimate for degradation. The loss and degradation has continued unabated despite government efforts and non-governmental organisation through projects that have been isolated, with poor inter-sector coordination, conflicting roles and responsibilities, lack of access to and spread of lessons learnt to create the desired large socio-economic and ecological impact; the consequences have been rising sea surges with coastal erosion, sedimentation, inundations and altered temperatures and precipitation with diminishing fisheries stocks threatening the ecological and livelihood securities in the coastal areas.

Realising the pressing need to act solidly to save Cameroon mangroves from further destruction, to strengthen partnership and synergies among civil society within Cameroon and collectively work to bring the mangrove agenda to the fore in national, sub-regional and international arenas to influence policies, Cameroon Mangrove Network (CMN) was created in January 25, 2005 at Edea, Cameroon.