BIGGER IS BETTER: SURUDEV’s AMBITION FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE KOM WUM FOREST
Community participation is the key strategy to current biodiversity conservation and management. If wildlife and all the protected areas are to survive, it is imperative that conservation activities and communities are in harmony so that it does not constraint community livelihoods. For conservation of biodiversity to be realized effectively there is urgent need for integrative management that considers local communities’ stake in conservation.
SURUDEV believes in conservation with the community, by the community and for the community. Striking a balance between catering the livelihood needs and wise use of natural resources within the Kom-Wum forest reserve to ensure sustainability is one of the goal of SURUDEV which for over one year now has been working with the active support of international partners like the Arcus Foundation and the Global green Grants. Other national partners in this fight include: The Fundong Council and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife which have been combining efforts to restore the birds and Chimpanzee populations of the Kom-Wum forest reserve through research, education and habitat restoration with active participation from the local communities. It should be noted that this forest reserve is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna and the Nigeria- Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pt ellioti) which is currently classified as endangered on the IUCN red list.
SURUDEV has educated and raise awareness to over 2000 persons in villages surrounding the reserve and beyond. Also some 200 forest users ranging from hunters, farmers, traditional practitioners, have been trained and assisted in imparting technical support on agroforestry while providing them with alternative livelihood activities.
Believing that “Bigger is Better”, SURUDEV’s management team plans to increase the scope of the project so as to enable other 200 forest users to benefit and continue to live in harmony with nature around this forest reserve. SURUDEV is working to create new partnerships to enhance full conservation of this forest which remains a biodiversity montane hot spot in the western highlands of Cameroon.