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Contribution of traditional institutions to the sustainable management of sacred forests: Case study of Mankon sacred forests northwest region, Cameroon

By: Tsi Evaristus Angwafo, Billa Samuel Fru, Fotang Chefor

Key Words: Traditional institutions, Sacred forest, Biodiversity conservation, Sustainable management, Mankon

J. Bio. Env. Sci. 9(4), 1-19, October 2016.

Abstract

This study was carried out during the period of July to December 2013, with the aim of determining the contributions of traditional institutions, knowledge and practices on the sustainable management of sacred forests. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to128 inhabitants in seven quarters in the Mankon fondom. The results showed that traditional, administrative and political institutions such as the kwifo, FO’ (king of Mankon), and the Mankon Traditional Council were the major actors protecting the potentials of the Mankon sacred forest and the socio-economic development of the fondom. Forty eight percent (48%) of the respondents did not have access and control over the sacred forest due to the cultural beliefs, taboos, customary laws and myths. The main motivation was the belief that the destruction of the sacred forest will result to cultural ethnocide. It was also discovered that the statutory law recognized the existence of traditional institutions especially the FO’ but failed to state specifically its exact position in the scheme of forests governance, thereby weakening these institutions that ought to contribute in protecting sacred forests. The factors found to affect the efficiency of traditional institutions; knowledge and practice were age, gender, education, modern religion and westernisation. The study concluded that traditional institutions have made significant impact on the sustainable management of sacred forests, governance and administration of the Mankon fondom. It recommends that the government should incorporate sacred forests into the protected area system of forest management in Cameroon.

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