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Prototype for Watershed Management and Biodiversity Conservation in the Degraded Western Highlands Region of Cameroon

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Yerima, B. P. K.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1801
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Africa
Subject(s): watersheds
common pool resources
Abstract: "In pre-colonial times villages lived as collective entities under powerful traditional chiefdoms with strong family ties and shared all resources in common. With the coming of independence and the shift in authority from traditional to local government, the ties that bound families and communities together gradually waned giving rise to the destruction of 'sacred forests' which were a common property resource. Successions of offspring lead to partition of land, resulting in fragmentation of these common pool resources making it difficult to manage the latter on a sustainable basis. "Lack of appropriate planning or apathy on the part of the government in the wake of unfolding situations is largely to blame for the present problems. Even where the administration has recognized the problem, it has failed to concretely address them in a pragmatic manner due to lack of political will coupled with economic limitations. "The key problems have been catalogued as soil erosion, siltation, flooding, depletion of soil fertility, diminished water yields, lowering of water tables and landslides affecting the common pool resources. Additionally, these problems have been considered as arising from the use of poor and in-adapted traditional shifting cultivation methods, excessive deforestation especially in water catchments areas, cultivation on fragile (steep) hill-slopes, setting of bush fires, overgrazing by cattle, and building of settlements. "This project was conceived, to serve as a prototype for the management of watersheds in order to serve the interests of the commons as the resources within the watersheds, which are collectively used by the entire communities, are fasting degrading. "Activities being carried out include: soil and water conservation practices, agro-forestry operations, in-situ and ex-situ conservation of plant species (fruit trees, medicinal plants, spices, forestry tree species, etc.) and ultimately monitoring of sediment pollution and water flow with the establishment of the 'climax vegetation'. This paper will cover the activities being carried out at the research site and show how it contributes to the study of the commons and in the preservation of common pool resources."

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