Table of Contents
ISRN Forestry
Volume 2013, Article ID 830902, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/830902
Research Article

Rethinking Rights and Interests of Local Communities in REDD+ Designs: Lessons Learnt from Current Forest Tenure Systems in Cameroon

1Plant Production Department, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
2Tree Domestication Department, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Regional Office, BP 16317, Yaounde, Cameroon
3Geography Department, University of Yaounde I, P.O. Box 755, Yaounde, Cameroon
4Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamycka 129, 165 21 Prague 6-Suchdol, Czech Republic
5Departement of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
6Africa and Asia Program, Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), 1238 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC, USA

Received 8 November 2012; Accepted 1 January 2013

Academic Editors: M. Kanashiro, L. Montagnani, M. Vitale, and S. Yildiz

Copyright © 2013 S. Ngendakumana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

It is increasingly becoming clear that reforms based on the claims of local forest communities regarding the right to natural resources will be needed to adequately address issues of sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The current institutional and policy frameworks of Cameroon and other SSA countries have bestowed exclusive land tenure rights to the State, while curtailing access of local farmers to forest and forest-based resources on which they depend for a living. It is therefore unlikely that successful forest conservation and implementation of REDD+ can be possible without recognition and enforcement of customary tenure. This paper aimed to sense smallholders' perceptions on rights and risks in the current forestry policy arena linked with the climate change debate in Cameroon. Using semistructured questionnaires and focus group discussions about 7 key informants and 66 community forest users were investigated about the current tenure systems and the risks of related conflicts. Findings from the field provide empirical evidence on the sources of conflict. Based on failures and positive elements of community forestry, the lessons learnt could enrich the on-going REDD safeguard debates and serve as guiding milestones towards the effectiveness of this initiative across the country and the continent.