Yesterday, the Rainforest Foundation UK team were in the forests near Abong-Mbang, Cameroon. We spoke to six members of one local community, including the chief, about the problems they're facing in relation to the illegal exploitation of their forests. For them, the forest is their life, their livelihood. They simply can’t live without it.
Many people spoke of the Moabi tree and its importance to the village. The oil, derived from the nuts, has multiple uses for forest peoples in Cameroon. Cecile (pictured above, right) told us that when the nuts are soaked in hot water and then ingested, this can help with back pain. The oil is also used in cooking. The local community here is worried about losing this tree to illegal exploitation, especially because of how valuable its bark is.
Forest people like Cecile understand better than anyone how important it is to preserve the biodiversity of the rainforest. For them sustaining the forest is more than an ecological necessity – it’s an existential imperative.
In the afternoon, the team of newly-trained community observers travelled to the forest near the village to put into practice what they had learned during this week’s training.
Each group used the ForestLink software to send a test ‘alert’ to the system, which were all received by RFUK's GIS Coordinator, Peter Foster, in our London offices in real-time.
Mapping Coordinator for RFUK, Georges-Thierry Handja, said that he couldn’t be happier with the team after such a successful week.
“I think that the community observers are more than ready to start reporting illegal activities happening right now in their forests – activities that are threatening their communities’ way of life and the biodiversity of Cameroon’s rainforest.”
For the full story, read Part 1 and Part 2 of our blog series from Cameroon.
Pictured below: Mappers testing ForestLink's GIS system; the new ForestLink team wraps up their training with a salute to the forest
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