Major Professor: Richard Mbatu, Ph.D.
Rebecca Johns, Ph.D.
Dona Steward, Ph.D.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
July 1, 2016
Cameroon is in the process of developing its program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Two communities near the southern portion of Korup National Park in the Southwest Region were studied to understand the implications for REDD+ implementation in the area, in light of current forest policies including community forestry, agro-industry, and forest conservation. Frameworks used to understand the communities are an institutional analysis model, and the field-interactional perspective of community agency. I used qualitative methods of data collection, including a questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews with villagers and NGO (non-governmental organization) workers, and other ethnographic techniques. Various options have been proposed as mechanisms of implementing REDD+ projects in Cameroon. These are discussed, along with two possibilities for intra-community benefit sharing. There was no observable animosity between demographic groups in the study communities, but women and allogenes were less involved in decision-making. Allogenes also had additional barriers to accessing institutional processes, as well as forest land and resources. Youth showed higher levels of education compared to the older population, and women had lower levels compared to men. Processes of societal integration exist within the communities, and these could potentially aid in improving community agency, especially through educating community members about risks, opportunities, and their rights in relation to REDD+. The results indicated that there is a danger of local communities being excluded from REDD+ benefits, with simultaneous xi loss of livelihoods, using proposed mechanisms of agro-forestry or land use fees. I recommend a payment for ecosystem services approach within community forestry, but considerable changes are needed to improve the process of establishing community forests, ensure participation of all segments of the population, and prevent exclusion of marginalized groups.
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Flanery, Adam E., "Forest Community Integration and Collective Agency in Korup National Park,Cameroon: Interactions with Forest Policies and the REDD+ Mechanism" (2016). USFSP Master's Theses (Graduate). 150.