Currently the Protected Areas (Pas) in the South West Region of Cameroon are facing a lot of challenges due to very high populations and high pressure on the natural resources. There is still a high dependency of communities on the natural resources and hence increasing pressure on resources without sustainable management. As for the communities there exist limited livelihood alternatives and no clear user rights and responsibilities. Moreover, there are insignificant benefits from natural resources management for local communities. (MINFOF, Buea 2015
Problems Facing the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Research studies carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Scientists for the past twelve years in the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries have identified unsustainable exploitation of the natural resources as the major threats undermining the integrity and the biodiversity of the forest. WCS 2006.
These unsustainable activities include: over hunting for bush meat both by the indigenes and non indigenes; poaching of large mammals especially elephants for ivory; chemical fishing, encroachment, lumbering and destructive Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) harvesting methods.
Further to this, numerous studies such as human impact assessment on the National Parks, Non Timber Forest Product (NTFP) studies, demographic and socio economic surveys all paint the same picture; that the human use of the national parks resources as well as adjacent forests (Mone) concession earmarked for plantations is not sustainable.
The analysis of cause- effect relationship has revealed that poverty is the cause and manifested by several factors which are:
- Lack of employment opportunities,
- Low agricultural commodity prices,
- Illiteracy and poor road network and
- Lack of transparency in resource benefit sharing/distribution by local councils
To fight against the negative human impact on the National Parks ELENA has partnered with and implemented projects sponsored by the Program for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, sponsored by KFW and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to build the capacities and Empower Communities living around the National parks and government stakeholders to implement a Community based conservation model of threatened TREE species, Fauna and Flora species. MULTIPURPOSE TREE CROP/ AGRO FORESTRY NURSERY