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Local Conceptualization of Nature, Forest Knowledge Systems and Adaptive Management in Southern Cameroon Mala, A. William (1*, 4), Geldenhyus, C. J. (2) and Prabhu, R. (3) 1* PhD Candidate and contact author; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
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Mala, A. William (1*, 4), Geldenhyus, C. J. (2) and Prabhu, R. (3)
1* PhD Candidate and contact author; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
2 Professor in Forest Science, Department of Forest and Wood Science, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa Address : Forestwood cc, P O Box 228, La Montagne 0184 (Postal) 35 Grace Avenue, Murrayfield 0184 (Physical) Pretoria, South Africa.
3 Principal scientist, CGIAR Regional Plan for Collective Action in Eastern & Southern Africa The Alliance of the CGIAR Centers, c/o ILRI, P.O. Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya
4 Department of Forest and Wood Science, University of Stellenbosch/Faculty of AgriSciences Private Bag X1, 7602 Matieland, South Africa.
International Conference on Traditional Forest-related Knowledge and Sustainable Forest Management in Africa, 15-17 October 2008, Accra, Ghana
Failure of many technical management approaches in the tropics occurred because there is
a gap in mutual understanding when people with different world views are working together
on a common issue.
Figure 1.1 The diagram showing the Bantu’conception of world (adapted from Gonese (1999), Haverkort and Rist 2004)
This paper examines the relationships between local conception of
nature, forest knowledge management systems and adaptive forest-
3.1 Description of study area
Figure 2.1 The ASB forest margins benchmark area in southern Cameroon (Gockowski et al. 2005).
Semi-structured questionnaire divided in two broad sections and managed in three rounds:
(i) First round with focus discussion groups per village generated agro-ecological map with several layers of information:
(ii) Second round with individual interviews, the data were collected on :
(iii) Third round with focus groups at village level for general discussions followed by their validation at the village level.
Each focus group discussion took 3 to 4 hours because some discussions among village members took a
long time before a consensus could be reached.
Result 1: Conception of vital space of the people of
Table 3.1 Representation of vital space of the people of Ntem-Sanaga region
These relationships are presented in details in Table 3.2.
Table 3.2 Relationships between components of vital space representation
Three markers and 7 categories of perceptions on forests and natural resources. These
three markers are described below as follow:
The evaluation of the relationships between forest perceptions, its uses, socio-cultural
and economic functions found that the higher relationship cited is related to animals and
plants species, and Creator (90%) and food (80%) and source of income (75%). The
weakness relationship is related to fishing (40%).
The details of these results are presented in Table 3.3.
and associated NRM practices
Several local knowledge systems are related to the description of the states of forest
These states are organized in five broad types of forest ecological successions and included:
Each category differs from the other by a single or several socio-ecological,
bio-indicators and/or associated with NRM practices.
The details of these results are presented in Table 3.4.
Table 3.4 Local classification of forest land uses, number of ecological indicators and spatial indicators of forest management
systems affecting NRM practices
Three broad categories of time management (moments of a day (a, moon cycle (ngon) and
year of activities (mbu) is organized in 4 seasons (Table 3.5). For the last one, its two
outcomes are bioecological cycle, and agricultural and forest resources management
calendar. These categories are described as follows:
For this last description of time management, the details results are presented in Table
Table 3.5 Effects of the seasonality knowledge and time management on local natural resources management activities
There is a need to revise the way scientific knowledge is generated, policy are formulated
and sustainable forest management options are designed and implemented to address
complex issues such like the integration of conservation and development outcomes in
Africa, were the problems still need to be address. Adaptive co-management and
innovations systems processes are opportunities and could provide an avenue to
improve the integration between science, policy and management practices.
The authors thank IUFRO who sponsored their participation to this International conference, and European Union, START/NORAD Fellowship
programme and CIFOR who funded the PhD Study.