Does gathering really pay? Case studies from forest areas of the East and South regions of Cameroon

Does gathering really pay? Case studies from forest areas of the East and South regions of Cameroon

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are frequently considered as providing a major contribution to the livelihoods of forest people as sources of food, feed, medicinal plants, wood fuel, materials for building and crafts and cash. Therefore, logging concessionaires, especially when they exploit species having both timber and non-timber values, are often blamed for jeopardizing forest peoples’ livelihoods. We have tested this assumption in two logging concessions located in the South and East regions of Cameroon. Contrary to most publications about NTFPs, our case studies (1) focus on actual conflicts and not on potential conflicts of use, (2) favour a holistic approach to the local uses of resources rather than focusing exclusively on NTFPs. Our results show that gathering is mainly destined for home consumption and that its contribution to the monetary income of the households is secondary compared with agricultural commodities, bush meat and timber extraction. However, the perceived importance of gathering by focus groups is much higher than the actual economic contribution to livelihoods obtained through quarterly household surveys. Such discrepancy is probably due to the cultural importance of NTFPs for forest people. The article concludes that NTFP gathering is seldom a source of conflict between concessionaires and communities. Encroachments into concessions for agricultural expansion, massive poaching and illegal logging are the major sources of conflicts, which need to be tackled in priority.

Authors: Levang, P.; Lescuyer, G.; Noumbissi, D.; Déhu, C.; Broussolle, L.

Topic: Non Timber Forest Products,livelihoods,agricultural development,household expenditure,forests,logging,concessions

Geographic: Cameroon

Publication Year: 2015

ISSN: 1472-8028

Source: Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 24(2): 128-143

DOI: 10.1080/14728028.2014.1000980

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