The Korup National Park. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Case study:The Korup Project

  • This project is located in the south-western part of Cameroon, on the border with Nigeria.
  • The forest around this area is characterized by high rainfall and poor soils making it unsuitable for raising crops
  • The forest is inaccessible making it of little interest to loggers
  • It is home to about 25% of Africa’s primate species e.g. baboons
  • It is also home to other rare and diverse species
  • The project is jointly managed by the Cameroon Government , the Worldwide Fund (WWF) and the Overseas Development Administration arm of the United Kingdom government
  • It is an attempt to reconcile the protection of the remaining rainforests with the needs of the local communities in a sustainable manner.
  • Much of the deforestation is attributed to commercial logging companies as well as the local demands for land for subsistence farming.
  • The government of Cameroon realized that the establishment of a protected National Park did not remove the needs of both commercial logging companies and the local communities.
  • The local communities depended on the rainforest to provide them with food through hunting, fishing and shifting cultivation.
  • Medicines, building materials and wood fuel are also some of the things that rainforests provide for them.
  • The project was established in 1988.
  • The establishment included the Korup National Park where scientists could carry out research on forest products that could be of economic use to the communities.
  • Research on the development of tree and crop varieties that could be grown to meet the local needs was carried out.
  • Tree nurseries were established for local communities.
  • Surrounding the forests was a buffer zone where villagers established settlement and practiced agriculture under the Rural Development Advisory Services.
  • The villagers now practice crop rotation to maintain soil fertility, agro-forestry and fish-farming.
  • They are experimenting on the planting of fast growing tree varieties and food crops on the same land, to cater for both their fuel wood and construction timber needs as well as food requirements.
  • Living Earth’s Cameroon Environmental Education programme is training local farmers in sustainable environmental management skills.
  • Near the villages the buffer zone forest reserves have been demarcated where local communities can still practice hunting and collecting fruits to satisfy needs.
  • Scientists have discovered over 90 natural chemicals which are useful to man-kind.
  • Though Cameroons rainforest is still under threat from commercial loggers and a fast growing population an attempt has been launched to enable local communities to co-exist with the forests and sustain their lives from it.

Involvement of communities in programmes aimed at conserving the rainforest is a positive approach for the sustainable use of this resource.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page