Overview of current status and conservation of
The Upper Nyong Wetlands located within the Centre and East Regions of Cameroon is probably the largest and relatively intact inland wetlands ecosystem in
The area covering more than 200,000ha is characterised by different vegetation types ranging from extensive ‘pseudo’ riverine mangroves consisting of pure stands of Poga oleosia (Rhizophoraceae); grass and raphia swamps, periodic and permanent inundated swamp forests; and lowland gallery and ridge forests ecosystems.
Biological inter-relations between wetlands, major river basins and dry forests may explain the rich biodiversity of the area with diverse habitat types that harbour wildlife species of global conservation significance such as lowland gorillas and chimps. Increasing pressures from logging activities, shifting cultivation, illegal bush meat trade to Central Africa and Chad being the only access road area to these countries degrade the valuable ecosystem services provided by this rich wetlands systems putting the over 300 000 people dependent on them in danger.
Genesis of the project
Upper Nyong Valley Wetlands Conservation Project builds on work that was started in 2005 by CWCS drawing from its over thirteen years 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 with office base at Akonolinga benefiting from a wide range of support from donors especially the Netherlands Committee of IUCN and technical partners such as Wetlands International-Africa Programme, GTZ, FAO, etc have carried out wetlands inventories; biodiversity assessments and threats; building gender sensitive local co-management institutions for poverty alleviation; sustained livelihood demonstrating projects for improved wetlands resource extraction and conservation.
The project goal is to contribute to improved livelihood and poverty reduction in local communities of
The project will provide good scientific basis for designation of protected areas for biodiversity conservation and development of participatory management models involving all stakeholders to manage natural resources in surrounding wetlands use zones. This conservation model is to reconcile between conservation objectives and development needs including contributions to poverty reduction within local communities. This largely builds from the resources and experience of the previous phases of CWCS work in the area.
This project capitalizes on results of previous with current phases especially with regards to gazettement of upper Nyong valley wetlands protected area, land use, fisheries regulation and Ramsar site documents and maps to delimit core conservation area for protection and multiple use zones. An ecological monitoring system with simple biological and socioeconomic indicators based on existing socio-biological data will be established and preliminary testing through complimentary biological and socioeconomic surveys. Existing stakeholders’ consultative platforms will be strengthened to facilitate regular consultations amongst stakeholder groups operating in the area. Poverty reduction measures will continue by building capacities of community organisation to access and manage their wetlands and forest resources communal & community forestry schemes. Priority will be given to existing local associations for farming and fishing to serve as models for developing community livelihood practices with creation of additional groups.