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Login to view georeferenced community data Ground and sketch mapping Using GPS units Gathering Fishing Dam fishing Baka house building Afromosia tree Logging in Djoum Alop Minko'omesseng, Akonetse Adjap Ando'o Nkolenyeng (Oding), Okpweng Bidoumba, Mebane Mfem Nezam Mveng, Miatta, Djouzé, Ekom Nyabibété

Situated in the south of Cameroon, the sub prefecture of Djoum is in the Dja and Lobo sub-division of the South Province. It is the location of a number of logging concessions that surround the Dja Biosphere Reserve, which is designated as a World Heritage site. The Fang ethnic Bantu farming people live along the roadsides in this area, in addition to the indigenous Baka. The Baka in this area are partially sedentary, but still largely dependent on the forest for hunting and gathering of forest products including honey, wild fruit and yams, caterpillars and snails. Changes in this way of life over recent decades have included the gradual introduction of subsistence agriculture.

The limits of the ‘permanent forest domain' (which is composed of protected areas, forest reserves and logging concessions, and Council Forest) as defined in the Cameroonian Forest Code (Law no. 94/01, 20th January 1994) were not the subject of adequate discussions with the populations concerned, and they have consequently not been involved in the management of those forests (which have suffered a major decline in quality, including of biodiversity levels, over very large areas).  There is a sawmill located about 6km from the centre of Djoum.

The Dja Faunal and Hunting reserve was created on 26th June 1950 by Order No. 319 of the French High Commissioner in Cameroon and forms part of the transfrontier conservation area along with Minkébé in Gabon and Odzala in the Republic of Congo Congo. In 1981 this became a UNESCO biosphere reserve and since 1987, the Dja Reserve has had World Heritage Site status. It is thought to contain some of the highest levels of biodiversity anywhere in Africa, but has also been the source of long-running and occasionally bitter conflict with local communities. All of the reserve is subject to customary rights, but human activity within the reserve is almost completely prohibited. Even if traditional and subsistence hunting have been forcefully suppressed, the Reserve is still the target for high level organised commercial poaching to satisfy bushmeat markets in Cameroon's major towns and cities.


With support from the Centre for Environment and Development (CED) and Rainforest Foundation UK, participatory mapping has been carried out with Baka communities in Nezam, Ando'o and Adjap, starting in 2001. The objective of this exercise was to support these communities to produce a map of their lands and to compare this to the provisional zoning plan for forest regions. This was the first time that this approach, involving concerned indigenous communities throughout the process, had been undertaken anywhere in the Congo Basin. This pilot phase allowed us to support the map production of about 13 more villages including Djouzé, Mebane, Bidoumba, Nyabibété, Mfem, Miatta, Alop, Minko'omesseng, Mveng, Nkolenyeng, Okweng, Djouzé and Akonetse.

This work was undertaken with the National Institute of Cartography (NIC), which provided technical support in the form of training in the use of GPS, data collection and the finalisation of maps. 


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