Nora Serrat is the Rainforest Foundation UK’s Programme Coordinator for Cameroon. In March she met with local partner organisations in Yaoundé, to discuss plans the next phase of our mapping project.
“We have been working with local forest communities in Cameroon over the past few years to map their rainforest lands through our Mapping for Rights programme. These maps demonstrate how this land is inextricably linked to their lives and their livelihoods and why it is so important to preserve it.
Over the past year we have trained 718 community mappers and they have helped to produce 90 maps that clearly document traditional land ownership of areas of Cameroon’s rainforest.
We will continue to work in Nguti council in the South-West region, where a number of large-scale development projects are either underway or planned, which place forest-dependent communities under unprecedented pressure and pose serious challenges to their rights to forest lands and resources.
We will also continue working to support communities in the Dja-et-Lobo department, in the Southern region, an area that sees a similarly high concentration of extractions projects that challenge communities’ rights. This area has a strong presence of indigenous Baka communities, who are a particularly marginalised people and are adversely affected by these developments due to their heavy dependence on the forest.
Overall, the work we’ll be doing will enable us to defend forest peoples’ rights to land and, through this, protect unique rainforest that would be otherwise exploited for logging, palm oil and other agro-industrial plans.
MappingForRights reminds me every day how the contribution of RFUK supporters is making a difference on the ground towards the protection of rainforests and the rights of people who call them home.”
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