A situational analysis of Cameroon's Technical Operation Units (TOUs) in the context of the landscape approach: critical issues and perspectives

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The integrated landscape approach is re-emerging in the global agenda as an approach which can give a fair deal to landscape functions such as climate change response, biodiversity conservation, food security, poverty reduction and economic growth. However, transformational change might be required to enable landscapes respond to these different functions. This is due to the sensitive nature of landscapes to local, national and global economic, social and political drivers. Based on national policy instruments, this paper presents a situational analysis of the landscape concept in Cameroon, operationalized as Technical Operation Units (TOUs) and in the context of the present institutional, social, economic and political features, it examines the rationale for a landscape approach in Cameroon. We notice potential trade-offs, indicating that the landscape approach is an opportunity for TOUs in Cameroon. Firstly, TOUs are characterized by multiple resource regimes with overlapping claims each having a legal land allocation and management plan. Secondly, TOUs are characterized by different stakeholders, with different land-use interests and motives, each controlling key components in the landscapes. Thirdly, the interests and motives of stakeholders overlap spatially and are connected to different sectoral policies at the national level. This setting might threaten decision making and the sustainability potentials of landscapes. Nonetheless, we propose areas for in-depth studies to generate knowledge and information to orientate win-win policy construction for landscapes. This is relevant for the social, ecological and economic objectives that underpin the sustainable development goals proposed in the post-2015 development agenda.

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