Bamboo at the Heart of the World Environment Day in Cameroon
INBAR Central Africa Regional Office planted 300 bamboo seedlings in Cameroon to commemorate World Environment Day.
Cameroon joined the rest of the world on 5 June 2021 to commemorate the 47 edition of the World Environment Day under the theme “Ecosystem Restoration”. As part of events to mark the day, INBAR Central Africa Regional Office (CARO), partnered with the faculty of forestry of the University of Dschang to plant 300 bamboo seedlings in a one-hectare area of agroforestry farm as part of initiatives to restore degraded portions of Mountain Bamboutos.
Mountain Bamboutos is an ecosystem hotspot in Cameroon noted for its vast bamboo cover and has served as a source of livelihood for many fringed communities. However, over the years, unsustainable resource exploitation and illegal activities have caused some degradation to the landscape. For many rural communities depending on this important ecosystem, the degradation has created livelihood challenges and also affecting their incomes. The commencement of restoration activities within the landscape under the Inter-Africa Bamboo programme funded by IFAD is an important step towards securing the livelihoods of the people and ensuring the benefits derived from its ecosystem services. Present at the planting ceremony were several dignitaries from traditional, administrative and political authorities including, Hon. Tsomelou Jean, Senator of Bamboutos, Hon. Wa Mathurin Martial and Mme Gisele Tsangue, Mayor of Bamboutos.
In the mayor’s remarks, she noted the consequences of the landscape degradation on the environment as well as the livelihoods of the people:
“When I was young, there was bamboo everywhere, out of ignorance we destroyed all the bamboo. I take the responsibility to protect the 300 bamboo seedlings planted to enable them grow and restore the environment and also provide ecosystem services to the living population.”
– Mme Gisele Tsangue.
Other important dignitaries present included, Mr Dongo Clément, the Divisional Officer of Babadjou, Tenonfo Denis, MINFOF Regional Delegate for the West Region and Prof Alexandre Djimeli, representing the Rector of the Univesity of Dschang.
On 4 June prior to the planting event, the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) and INBAR organised a roundtable discussion on the use of bamboo and other Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) for restoration of degraded landscapes and ecosystems in Cameroon. The roundtable meeting, which was chaired by Mr Paul Tchawa, Secretary General, representing the Minister of MINEPDED was organised as part of Tree Restoration Initiative funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) in Cameroon. The meeting informed policymakers and civil society organisations on the need to harness the potential of bamboo in forest landscape restoration activities.