An Analysis of Local Participation in Community Forestry: The Case of Tinto and Bimbia-Bonadikombo Community Forest, Cameroon

Mbunya Francis Nkemnyi


Local participation in forest management remains a fundamental challenge to be solved despite the growing political and academic interest in participatory management. This study analyzed how community forestry implementation in Cameroon has affected the participation of local people using two case studies. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were the main methods in data collection. The main findings revealed that majority of local community members (73.3%) were less informed of the purpose of community forestry. This limited participatory efforts in the implementation process. The creation and management process of the community forests were more focused on engaging influential actors rather than enabling social justice as proposed by the legislation. Marginalization of local community members, which community forestry was created to resolve was still evident. This study argues that although participatory policies are usually designed to benefit the less privileged, the outcomes most often do not match the purpose. There is need for participatory policy debates and development to go beyond theoretical formulation to crafting mechanisms and feedback systems that could ensure successful implementation and follow up.

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