Wildlife Management; New Commons as an Alternative to Protected Areas: The Case of the Eastern Cameroon Forest

"For a few decades developing countries have been facing a significant decrease in wildlife stocks, due to habitat destruction and hunting. In response to this situation, many conservation programs have been launched, taking the form of protected areas. The creation of such an area consists in isolating, as far as possible, endangered species and ecosystems; of course, it implies that these ones can be managed in isolation. In fact, practice has shown that a great interdependence between the area and its neighbouring zones does exist because of human activities, especially since wildlife is mobile. Also, these programs are rarely successful while local communities are strongly opposed to them. The increase in the number of protected areas seems quite illusive although endangered ecosystems are numerous. In the Dimako rainforest, wildlife is on the decline. Hunting is traditionally a major activity, and men and wildlife have always been in interaction. Many ethnographic works, dealing with the relationships of people to the resources they use, show that African communities establish many rules of access to the resources based on a perfect local knowledge. Under these condition, relatively closed and small-sized socio-economic systems may allow a viable use of wild resources. But, many exogenous changes at Dimako (contacts with strangers, settling process, trade) may have had two types of consequences: an internal evolution of the society (which, indeed, has always been dynamic) translated into a weakening in some of the access rules, and/or a diminution in the impact of these rules faced to the importance of external elements. Thus, further to the study of this context and in reference to previous works, the discussion will focus on the pertinence of establishing new commons as a sustaining management tool for Dimake."
forestry, wildlife, multiple use, rules, IASC