Profiling local-level outcomes of environmental decentralizations: the case of Cameroon’s forests in the Congo Basin

Profiling local-level outcomes of environmental decentralizations: the case of Cameroon’s forests in the Congo Basin

Since the mid-1990s, Cameroon has launched a process of decentralization of the
management of its forests. Among other innovations, this decentralization process has
transferred powers over forests and financial benefits accruing from their exploitation to
local communities. This article explores and profiles its local-level outcomes. It shows
that the experiment has not yet brought up expected positive results and very often
generates internal conflicts, a new social stratification and the marginalization of
traditional authorities. Second, the article argues that decentralized management is not
producing positive economic results, as there is no significant economic change in the
case study villages. Third, it demonstrates that the experiment is leading to negative
environmental results, such as the degradation of many community forests in the
forested Cameroon. It recommends that policy makers, researchers,
nongovernmental organizations, and the local communities design a monitoring
framework for decentralized management.

Authors: Oyono, P.R.

Topic: decentralization,forest management,local people,impact,conflict,economic analysis,monitoring

Geographic: Cameroon

Publication Year: 2005

Source: Journal of Environment and Development 14(2): 1-15


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