Aspire Grant Program Awardee

Mbunya Francis Nkemnyi

Crafting sustainable pathways for local people forest needs and great apes conservation in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameroon

<p>The Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) is located in the Lebialem Highland in the South West Region of Cameroon. With a surface area of about 8200 ha, it is home to the Cross River Gorilla (<em>Gorilla gorilla diehli</em>), the Cameroon-Nigeria Chimpanzee (<em>Pan troglodytes ellioti</em>) and 24 other identified large mammals. Competition over conservation and local livelihoods in the THWS is increasingly overstretching the multi-functionality of the landscapes and this places both future livelihoods and wildlife conservation under severe threats. This is an indication that more innovations are needed in conservation strategies and actions. This study will apply analytical frameworks that enable the better understanding of conflicts, the driving forces behind them and the processes that can enable sustainable management. In this line, the general objective of this research will be guided to answer the following practical and policy questions: a) how can local institutions achieve sustainable forests and livelihoods? b) How can “a common language” be developed for actors with diverse interests in forest management? Our questioning on sustainability will take into account two perspectives: the complex systems perspective and a normative emphasis on reductions in poverty and social injustice as defined by and for particular people and settings – strategies and dynamics.</p>