Cameroon coastal zone (c590km) situated in extreme north eastern corner of the Gulf of Guinea stretches from the Nigerian coastal to Equatorial Guinea borders. The zone is characterised by equatorial climate type with quite variable wetlands comprising tropical forests; rocky and sandy beaches; mudflats; giant estuarine mangrove forest in major rivers (Ndian, Meme, Mungo, Wouri, Dibamba, Sanaga, Nyong and Ntem); estuaries and coastal lagoons and lakes especially lake Ossa (4000ha) being the second largest lake after Lake Chad.
Mangrove areas covering over 200 000 are commonly grouped into three main blocks: Rel Del Rey estuary mangroves (54%) within the South West Region from Nigerian coastal border from the disputed Bakassi to Limbe city having the oil refinery; Cameroon estuary mangroves (45%) within the Litttoral Region between Mount Cameroon, Tiko town through the Wouri estuary covering entire Douala the largest city in Cameroon with population of over 2million to the Sanaga Estuary; Ntem estuary mangroves (1%) within the South Region with border with Equatorial Guinea. Cameroon mangroves are the 6th largest in Africa and first in Central Africa (UNEP, 2007; Ajonina et al, 2008) and one of the most giant mangroves in the World (Blasco et al, 1996; Ajonina, 2008). The mangroves of Rey Del Rey and Ntem estuaries are relatively intact though increasingly threatened from oil and gas exploration, invasive nypa palm from Nigeria while the Cameroon estuary mangroves are badly degraded from population pressures and impact from urbanisation, petroleum and gas exploitation, uncontrolled agro-plantation establishment, development projects and mangrove wood exploitation for processing fisheries products especially through smoking. This threatens the livelihood and ecological securities of over 5million coastal communities dependent on it.
Genesis of the programme
CWCS Coastal Forests and Mangrove Conservation Programme stems from more than one and half decade (since 1997) of CWCS multi-partners and multi-donors experience in managing coastal forests, mangroves and wetlands in the Douala-Edea, an important confluence point for estuaries of four Cameroon largest river basins: Sanaga, Wouri, Dibamba and Nyong basins. The project benefiting from a wide range of support from donors and technical partners especially the Netherlands Committee of IUCN, Oxfam-Novib, Wetlands International-Africa Programme, Mangrove Action Project, Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Canadian Gender and Developments Funds, GEF-UNDP Small Grants Programme, Nature and Poverty Netherlands, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have carried out wetlands inventories; biodiversity assessments and threats of Cameroon coasts; establishing wetlands monitoring systems with clear biological and socioeconomic indicators; building gender sensitive local co-management institutions for poverty alleviation; sustained livelihood demonstrating projects for improved wetlands resource extraction and conservation including improved smoke ovens/houses; undertaking community-based mangrove regeneration schemes; establishing and strengthening national and regional networks including a Network of Environmental Parliamentarians that have ultimately influenced policies through for example the gazettement process of the first national park in Cameroon with marine extension, the signature of the Ramsar Convention by Cameroon in 2006, addressing petroleum and gas exploitation issues, and the ongoing national wetlands policy development for Cameroon with potential spill over effects in the west/central African region. The implementation of WWF and CWCS of Project No. 8C00610 (2007 – 2010) on Developing a generalisable methodology for assessing the vulnerability and adaptation of Mangroves and Associated Ecosystems in Cameroon to climate change further extended CWCS activities to the entire Cameroon coastal area. The implementation of UN-REDD Central African Mangrove Project for assessment of carbon and multiple benefits of mangroves in Central African with potentials for REDD with extension of CWCS network of permanent sample plots to Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo. The ongoing implementation as major partner of GEF-FAO Cameroon mangrove project on Sustainable community based management and conservation of mangrove ecosystems in Cameroon.
To contribute to improved livelihoods and ecological security of coastal communities by building upon an institutional framework that seeks to promote the conservation and sustainable use of mangroves and associated coastal forests within the context of integrated coastal area management.
To have healthy, well managed and protected mangroves by informed population with viable ecological landscape connectivity with enhanced provision of ecosystem services for socioeconomic development and ecological security of coastal communities.
By the end of 2014 CWCS to have established and actively sustained a nationally and internationally recognized centre for research, education and information on sustainable use and management of mangroves and wetlands in Cameroon and beyond.
Out put 1.1. Research and monitoring undertaken to assess vulnerability of mangroves and associated coastal ecosystems to impacts of climate change
Out put 1.2. Government efforts supported in coastal protected areas management and mangrove outside protected areas to strengthen a network of coastal protected areas with marine extension
Out put 1.3. Pilot adaptation and mitigation actions developed and vulgarised based on improved methods for mangrove exploitation, processing and restoration
Out put 1.4. Management plans development supported for a network of coastal protected areas and other mangrove areas
Objective 2: To build institutional, strategic partnerships and networks to promote improved policy protection for mangroves as natural support systems for fisheries, coastal protection and climate change mitigation
Out put 2.1. Organizational and functional capacity of Cameroon mangrove network strengthened
Out put 2.2. National institutional capacity built for mangrove, wetlands and coastal area management
Out put 2.3. Strategic alliance, partners and collaboration identified and developed
Objective 3: Capitalize (build) achievements into the establishment and sustenance of a nationally and internationally recognized research, training and data base information centre for mangrove & wetlands conservation
Out put 3.1. Infrastructure of the mangrove and wetlands training and research centre strengthened
Develop Website for information dissemination