The policy terrain in protected area landscapes: how laws and institutions affect conservation, livelihoods, and agroforestry in the landscapes surrounding Campo Ma'an National Park and the Dja Biosphere Reserve, Cameroon uri icon


  • The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has the opportunity to become a new leader within the field of conservation. ICRAF can offer a practical â??middle groundâ?� to the contentious debate surrounding conservation of protected areas and the rights of local communities that depend upon these resources through the promotion of appro- priate agroforestry technologies which are founded upon high quality research and evolve from local priorities and demands. By promoting agroforestry as a landscape con- servation strategy, ICRAF can expand ideas about how best to conserve biological diver-sity in a way that includes (rather than excludes) people and agroecosystems. Using agroforestry in buffer zones is not a new idea per se. Within conservation and development circles many organizations have used agroforestry as part of integrated con-servation and development projects (ICDPs) in an attempt to meet both conservation and livelihood goals. Yet within such projects, agroforestry was typically one activityamongst many geared towards a larger project goal. Unfortunately, very little has been written documenting the actual effectiveness of agroforestry in ICDPs (Ashley andSpainhower 2002). Recently, a number of scientists have offered new strategies that promote agro- forestry as a means of improving local livelihoods while conserving important speciesand environmental functions. Peter Brosius and Diane Russell (2003) proposed to â??rein-ventâ?� community-based conservation by suggesting the principle of building assetsacross generations. As such, assets can include natural assets, social assets, and econom-ic assets. Leakey and Tchoundjeu (2001; see also Tchoundjeu et al. 1999) made first-rate progress in the domestication and marketing of indigenous fruit trees in the humid low- lands of West Africa, thus supporting conservation through use. Additionally, Schrothand colleagues (2004) recently authored a synthesis of the benefits that agroforestry can offer biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes. They identified three hypotheses on how agroforestry can contribute to conservation: 1) agroforestry can protect natureby reducing pressure to deforest land, 2) agroforestry can provide habitat for native plant and animal species, 3) agroforestry can serve as a benign matrix land use for fragmented landscapes. Despite these benefits, however, they state that integrating agroforestry into conservation is a major policy and institutional challenge

publication date

  • 2005