What Can Ensure Environmental Sustainability in the Barombi Mbo Forest Reserve: Culture or Government Power?
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
Chevening Research Scholar, Protected Areas Programme, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre