Publication Date

5-2010

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jim Levinson

Abstract

Despite decades in implementing integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) as a strategy to reconciled conservation and community based livelihood, conflicts of interest between conservationist and poor forest adjacent communities are still common. In the later part of the 1990s, due to continuous failures registered by ICDPs, many conservationists started experimenting other innovations by integrating business practices in ICDPs using the Market Analysis and Development Framework (MA&D approach) which has so far registered some successes. Lessons from these successes, led ERuDeF 2007/2008 in Cameroon to start experiment her innovative project concept-The Forest Protection Fund-as an attempt to reconcile conservation and community based livelihoods for the management of the Bechati-Fossimondi-Besali forest block called the Lower Mundani Community Forest Protection Fund.

This paper presents an assessment of the extent to which the pilot project innovations, although at an early stage, are understood, and are having an impact on the forest adjacent population in this area. The researcher interviewed a sample of 46 household representatives in three of the seven forest adjacent villages targeted by the project. Results indicate that while all respondents knew about the organization, less than half (41.3%) of the respondents well understood the project’s mission. A large majority of respondents (84.8%) indicated a more positive vision of the organization than they’d had at the outset of ERuDeF’s initial project in 2002. Importantly, however, this interim evaluation found that the primary benefits of the project are going to those who are economically better off (with only 18.2% of low income households deriving significant benefit), and to those who are better educated and presumably better able to understand the potential opportunities offered by the project and who may be more highly motivated to take advantage of these opportunities. (Respondents with no education received no significant benefit compared to 57% of those with a primary education and 90% of those with a secondary education.) Males also were more likely to benefit than the females’ population (significant benefits going to 50% of males as opposed to 31.3% of females), this in part, can be associated to “feminization of poverty” which has been identified in regions of Africa. Results also indicate that the interventions have not had significant effects on the traditional lifestyle practices of the population with the exception of hunters/trappers.

The study recommends that ERuDeF and her project partners devote increased and intensified attention to females, to economically disadvantaged families, and to families where heads of household are less well educated in order to assure an equitable distribution of benefits from the project. Other specific suggestions are made about ways to more fully incorporate education in the project.

Disciplines

Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Natural Resource Economics

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