THE MOUNT BAMBOUTOS INITIATIVE
Project for the Restoration of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function of Mount Bamboutos and to secure the Livelihoods of the Local and Indigenous Communities, western Cameroon
The Mount Bamboutos Initiative (MBI) is a project for the restoration of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function of Mount Bamboutos in Western Cameroon. It is a joint initiative of the environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Cameroon and the International Tree Foundation (ITF), UK as well as the International Union for the Conversation of Nature (IUCN) in partnership with the government Cameroon. The Mount Bamboutos ecosystem by 1960 was one of the most biodiversity rich mountains in continental Africa with the presence of gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, antelopes, elephant, birds, amphibians and butterflies. Additionally, the 2740m high mountain conferred to this ecosystem a high degree of endemism and restricted ranges to many of the globally threatened species found there. Fifty seven years down the lane, due to an exaggerated anthropogenic pressure, this once one of the richest mountain biodiversity hotspots in Africa and the second highest water tower in Cameroon has nearly been completely degraded with many of the species going to local extinction.
Due to massive deforestation (that has led to the disappearance of the Mt. Bamboutos Forest Reserve created in the 1900), intensive and uncontrolled farming in low and high altitude areas, the natural vegetation has declined, the springs located on the mountain side have dried up, and the soil erosion is worsening. These have led to unregulated land uses, land use conflict, severe poverty, unregulated use of natural resources, water crises and food insecurity.
This project seeks to restore the biodiversity and ecosystem functions of Bamboutos, while securing the livelihoods of the local and indigenous communities.
The project has the following components and specific objectives.
- To train and build the capacity of over 30,000 local community members to manage the Mt Bamboutos fragile ecosystems;
- To introduce and establish land use and effective governance systems for the Mt Bamboutos ecosystem;
- Livelihood Development
- To ensure food security and economic resilience for over 30000 households in the Mt. Bamboutos area while integrating women & gender considerations up stream;
- Forest Landscape Restoration
- To restore over 35000 ha of the degraded landscape of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem through the planting of 15 million trees;
- To secure key biodiversity targets that include the Mt Bamboutos biodiversity reserve (19000 ha), community forest (10000 ha) and riparian forests (5000 ha);
- Research and Development
- To establish current population levels of biodiversity species, socio-economic targets and evolution of biodiversity and ecological functions of Mt. Bamboutos, and improve on project outcomes through research;
- Sustainable Finance
- To create a long term sustainable funding mechanism for Mt Bamboutos both at the community and the landscape level through the establishment of the community foundation and the Mt Bamboutos conservation trust fund.
Operation green space (OGS) is the implementing partner in the SW sector of the project which constitute 1 division 2 Subdivisions and 3 Villages. Alou subdivision, Wabane sub division, M’muock Fosimardi, M’muock Mbi, Bamumbu.