ABSTRACT

Figure 4.1 The forest-farm boundary at the Kilum-Ijim forest was agreed by participatory decision making with local communities

Credit: Jonathan Barnard / BirdLife International

Cameroon is among the top ten countries in Africa for high biodiversity and cultural diversity. The rich montane forests of the Cameroon Mountains have high numbers of endemic plant, bird, amphibian, reptile, mammal and insect species. However, some areas have been cleared, such as the Bamenda Highlands montane forest, where very little remains due to years of logging, farming and grazing. It is estimated that if clearing had continued unabated, the Kilum-Ijim Forest (the largest remaining patch of Bamenda Highlands montane forest) might have completely disappeared by 1997. The Kilum-Ijim Forest Project is considered to be one of the pioneers of community forestry in Cameroon and is widely regarded as a model of how communities can manage their forests for both biodiversity conservation and

to meet their own needs. When other communities learned of what was happening at Kilum-Ijim, they came to visit the project in order to learn more about conserving their own forests.