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Sustainable forest management at the local scale:
A comparative analysis of community forests and domestic forests in Cameroon
In Cameroon, community forests are frequently presented as a relevant option to increase the welfare of rural populations and simultaneously improve local governance and forest resources conservation. But apart from community forests, rural livelihoods also depend on forest areas, designated as ‘domestic forests’ in this article, where local users enjoy informal customary rights. The specific contributions of community and domestic forests to the evolution of the prevailing socio-ecological system are assessed through a diachronic study of a village which is located in southern Cameroon. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework is used to compare the progress of this social-ecological system between January 2008 and December 2009. The overall evolution of livelihoods was found to be positive during that period. In this case study, domestic forests and community forests are based on complementary models, which are often observed in southern Cameroon. Domestic forests constitute the basis of socio-economic development, while community forests might offer opportunities for a local-level carbon sequestration payment mechanism.