What Can Ensure Environmental Sustainability in the Barombi Mbo Forest Reserve: Culture or Government Power?

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In this paper, I make a geo-situational review of the Barombi Mbo community and culture before 1940 when their forest was transformed into a forest reserve. I use descriptive qualitative statistics to analyse the current performance of the protected area as a nature reserve. Using primary data, I situate environmental perception and sustainability in the context of Barombi Mbo tradition and make an analysis as to whether the local culture constitutes a partner, alternative or opponent to government efforts in conserving the reserve? It is known that creating government managed protected areas is an old, worldwide strategy to conserve the environment. But does the strategy still work in all parts of the world, and can we improve park effectiveness for biodiversity and local livelihoods? The argument this research presents is that for some areas, where government management is weak, and in certain cultural situations, top-down strict protection mechanisms might not work. There is a need to evaluate different forms of environmental management and governance for different areas of the world, to find national and regional best practice.


Keywords: Protected Areas, Environmental Sustainability, Culture, Governance, Barombi Mbo
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Ivo Ngome

Chevening Research Scholar, Protected Areas Programme, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

Ivo Ngome obtained his Master of Science degree in Environment and Development Geography from the University of Buea (Cameroon) in 2006. But since 2003, he has devoted a large percentage of his time to conducting research in the areas of environmental conservation and sustainable development. He has participated in field research in all ten of Cameroon’s provinces on projects ranging from exploring the impacts of the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline to studying agro-ecological systems and comparing rural and urban attitudes toward environmental conservation in the context of material poverty. Ivo Ngome is currently a research scholar with the Protected Areas Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) Cambridge-UK.

Ref: S08P0217