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Participatory approaches for the management of forest ecosystems of Central Africa: A review of existing initiatives

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: Jean-Claude Nguinguin

This study reviews participatory management projects in forest ecosystems of Central Africa (Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea). The author considers four programmatic directives that have emerged from this reform process: planning, protected areas, community forestry, and management for timber production. The failure of states to guarantee the use and sustainable management of forests in central Africa and the problems created by conventional forest management practices served as rationale for experimenting with participatory management approaches. According to forestry department officials, however, the shift towards participatory management is a response to the demands of international organizations and a means to secure international development aid. The review notes that participatory management of forested ecosystems requires the creation of local organizations capable to take responsibility of the management of the forests and establishing new institutional arrangements to regulate access to natural resources. The author suggests that an economic alternatives approach based on incentives and disincentives is more useful than the payment of salaries and revenue sharing from projects such as tourism. The creation of employment and economic alternatives is favoured to the sharing of park and resource royalties. Further, the author notes that scientific research is needed to establish new orientations for the management of forest ecosystems. This research should contribute to the process of reform at different levels: (1) counsel and analysis, (2) definition of model of intervention such as patrimonial negotiation, contractual approaches and economic incentives and (3) social experimentation based on the validation of legal or administrative systems.

Author(s): Jean-Claude Nguinguin

Publication Date: 1999

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