WWF Assesses Opportunities for Restoration of Degraded Landscapes in Northern Cameroon
As part of her Africa Restoration Initiative, WWF seeks to contribute to Cameroon’s efforts by bringing at least 3 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes in Cameroon under restoration by 2027. In this vein WWF recently conducted a restoration opportunities assessment on the peripheries of the Benoue and Faro national parks and their technical operational units in the North Region. Findings show land degradation in the UTO to be characterized by very poor soils with degraded structure; bare, exposed and fragile lands; due to extensive deforestation and land denatured by erosion on river banks.
The assessment recommended three categories of restoration opportunities in the zones surveyed. These comprise through agroforestry techniques; planting a variety of tree species in combination with agricultural crops for soil fertility, fodder, fruit and wood energy; protection of stream and river banks; and reforestation and assisted natural regeneration of sacred forests, community forests and regeneration of high value species of wood. The bulk of restoration opportunities exist in small holdings; home gardens, and community farmlands, etc., wherein soil improvers like Biochar which can be produced from agriculture, industrial and forestry waste, presents a huge opportunity.
In a recent assessment in the northern region of Cameroon, and based on a conservative restoration cost per hectare of $US 300, an estimated cash flow of $US 7 million of direct investments for planting, protection, assisted natural regeneration on at least 27,000 hectares of highly degraded landscapes was evaluated. To address problems like this, WWF will build a coalition of actors comprising Indigenous Peoples and Local Peoples (IPLCs) farmers; Service providers like nursery managers, private sector and associated investors (some in the climate, energy and carbon marketing sector) mediated by MoUs, to support her restoration efforts.
To facilitate transparent interactions between actors and enable follow-up, the platform www.moneytrees.cm has been created to develop stakeholder profiles and ensure communications. Our 2030 vision to bring together 3 million ha of degraded landscapes under restoration will use multiple, transparent, performance – related approaches on the ground to mobilize cash flow of at least $US 1 million a year for Landscape restoration, when all actors are fully operational. In the projected 7 years (2023 – 2030) it is envisaged that through deliberate promotion of synergies between implementing actors, their programmes and other allied investors, even much more than the 3 million hectares will come under restoration, with multiple benefits.
In partnership with other actors, WWF-Cameroon aims to monitor progress as part of Cameroon’s AFR100 Commitment, IUCN/Government of Cameroon Barometer, through other means such as WRI’s Global Forest Watch tools and also via www.restor.eco By Dr. Peter Mbile WWF Senior Field Programmes Coordinator