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Concerted efforts are necessary to sustain mangrove ecosystem functions and benefits to climate change impacts (sea level rise).



Cameroon mangrove forests – the guardians of tropical coastlines – are among the many ecosystems that will be lost or negatively affected by climate change. Many human livelihoods are equally been affected.

Hence, Cameroon mangroves are highly threatened by human activities (fish smoking) and urbanisation which have contributed to about 30% loss between 1980 and 2006[1] to just about 200 000 ha today. Fish smoking and fish processing activities are largely responsible for more than 40% degradation and loss of mangroves in the region[2]. The mangrove wood, Rhizophora spp., is preferred from other species for its high calorific value, good burning characteristics under wet conditions thus reducing unnecessary wood processing cost and time especially drying before use. Traditional low energy serving open-type smoking rafts implanted in kitchens are used across the estuaries. Health problems such as breathing and sight difficulties, headache and inhalation of poisonous wood gases as well as occasional fire accidents occur during the smoking operations.

The current project is aimed at promoting sustainable utilization, management and conservation of mangrove ecosystems as fisheries support systems and buffers against climate change impacts through the promotion of the use of improved energy-serving fish and bivalves smoke houses and  community based restoration and other methods.

These information well be used to formulate range of adaptation strategies such as reforestation with “climate-smart” mangrove species, more integrated coastal planning, and collaboration with local communities to improve natural resource use efficiency.


What actions do you propose?

·         Planning and training :Community organization and mobilization for tree planting actions by reinforcing the existing motivated community groups (fishermen, fish smoking women, wood cutters) led by village chief through organizing at least 2 planning meetings per fishing village.


·         Mapping of all vulnerable mangrove degraded are: our approach will use the ground base vegetation sampling to calibrate remote sensing data to develop spectral signature for restoration area that will be use to address the ecological vulnerability of mangrove and associated coastal wetlands. Ex-situ training of the communities.


·         On-field demonstrative planting : Participative identification and mapping of plantable degraded mangrove areas “football fields” consistent with mangrove regeneration peculiarities (e.g. selecting sheltered low wave energy intertidal zones, free from predictors, etc.)  and collecting GPS points for eventual mapping. In-situ training of the community members.


·         Participatory monitoring and evaluation to ensure long-term tree stewardship/maintenance: CWCS will engage technical unit of the mangrove platform consisting of conservation, local technical government services of forestry, fisheries in monitoring of planted trees through repeated field assessment visits backup with field data collection sheets and repeated photos at vantage recognizable positions to easily show the progressive restoration of planted sites. This exercise will continue beyond the end of the project for documenting lessons learnt.


·         Construction of improved smoke oven: Fuel wood extraction for commercial fish smoking is the most  pervasive threat to the sustainability of mangrove ecosystems in the Douala-Edea Wildlife Reserve (DEWR) of Cameroon and most West-Central African coastal states. The high rates of fuel-wood consumption are associated with fish smoking in this region and are chiefly the result of low fuel efficiency systems. In this study, we will construct over 20 fish-smoking systems. The improved smoke house is built on the basis of a traditional smoke house, where the oven’s edges are closed in order to reduce heat and smoke losses. The improved smoke house spread through the project by CWCS model is a hybrid of the chorkor and the traditional ‘banda’ currently in use in the region. The development of the traditional ‘banda’ along the coasts of Cameroon has been due to the high fish landings, coupled with the fast fish deterioration rates


·         Sustaining  data  collection  process.  Exploration  mechanisms  to  sustain  local  data collection/monitoring processes (integration into ongoing conservation and development projects, collaboration with private sector…) by supporting Cameroon mangrove Network to organize  more for a such  as  the  integrated  coastal  area  management  forum  that  was  organized  in  Buea  in March  2010  and  pan-African  symposium   in  Douala  in  May  2010  on  mangrove  and climate change.


•        Continued local capacity building. Training of local organization in basic data processing techniques (general  training  workshops,  etc.)   which can  also  to  be  integrated  in  such Planned coastal forum.


•        Monitoring and evaluation : Project oversight will be facilitated by: (i) establishing appropriate levels of management authority to  provide  timely  direction,  coordination,  control  and  review;  (ii)  ensuring  project  management accountability;  (iii)  documenting  project  transactions  and  results  through  traceability  of  related documents throughout the implementation of the project; (iv) ensuring that project is implemented within  the  planned  activities  applying  established  standards  and  guidelines;  (v)  continuously identification  and  monitoring  of  project  risks  and  risk  mitigation  strategies;  and  (vi)  ensuring project outputs are produced in accordance with the project results framework.


•        Information  sharing.  Enhance  adaptation  information  sharing  mechanisms  to  make  informed decisions making processes (forestry code, coordination of mining, oil & gas and forestry sector…) in planning with a wide range of  stakeholders   at  local,  sub-national,  national and regional levels.

Who will take these actions?

Key stakeholders and beneficiaries will be identified and consulted during project preparation.  The  inception  and  terminal  workshops  during  project  preparation  will  part  of  these consultations,  as  well as  meetings  with  local  communities  within  the  target  zones.  At  the  broadest level,  the  main  stakeholders with  a  direct  or  indirect  interest  in  this  project  can  be  divided  into national  stakeholders  and  local  stakeholders (NGOs, local government and community members and private sector).

International stakeholders: Support to capacity building and technical assistance within their respective areas of expertise and funding.


National government and government agencies : The Government of the Republic of the Cameroon will raise awareness amongst political decision makers about the importance of conserving Cameroon’s mangrove ecosystems and the means to do this through restoration.


Private sector They will contribute to the project in the development and implementation of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and mitigation activities.  They will  benefit from clearer regulatory policies and best mangrove restoration practices that will help them to meet their local obligations (carbon offset) as part of their economic development projects.


Local government and community members :  They will participate in the project and benefit directly from project activities (e.g. from capacity building and community  organization,  sustainable  rural  development  funded  mostly  by co-financing).  Local inhabitants will also benefit more generally from the environmental improvements and increased sustainability of resource use that this project is expected to deliver.


NGO: We will participate  in  technical activities  (monitoring,  promotion  of  best practices and organization of local communities) and our technical capacity will be enhance. 

Where will these actions be taken?

The study will conducted in and around two estuaries: Cameroon Estuary including the Douala-Edea National Park and Rio Del Rey Estuary including proposed Rio del Rey National park, in Cameroon.  

The Rio del Rey Estuary is the biggest mangrove zone; parts of it are still very much intact, with a known quality of fisheries grounds. It is probably one of the best conserved mangrove ecosystems on the Western and Central Africa Coast situated in the highest biodiversity hotspot in  this  part  of  Africa  in  the  shadow  of  Mount  Cameroon  and  downstream  from  the  Korup, Takamanda and Cross River Forests.

Cameroon Estuary, incorporates  the  Douala-Edea  Reserve  which  is  one  of  the  largest  and  biologically  rich  of Cameroon  nature  reserves  gazetted  in  1932  and  currently  being  re-gazetted  as  national terrestrial  and  Marine  Park.  This  lies  within  the  Kribi  -  Douala  basin  of  the  coastal  Atlantic Ocean and covers a greater part of the coastal plains of the Cameroon coast of about 160.000ha. The  area  has  a  very  dense  hydrological  network  being  a  meeting  point  of  estuaries  of Cameroon largest rivers (Rivers Sanaga, Nyong, Dibamba and Wouri).

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Mangrove ecosystem in central Africa region the least total ecosystem carbon of 808 ± 236 Mg/ha recorded in heavily exploited forests, translating to CO2 equivalent of 2,962 Mg/ha. Undisturbed mangrove forests sequester annually 16.5 MgC/ha against 6.9 MgC/ha for degraded systems. Hence the contribution of replanted sites will contribute significantly.


The improved smoke houses are expected to be far efficiencely superior to the existing traditional smoke houses in several respects including cutting down wood consumption by about 32[1], reducing fish smoking time (by 65%), reducing health hazards.  A single improved smoke house system will save between 18.71 and 34.16 t of CO2 e per year. The whole project activity is expected to prevent the emission of 77,832 tonnes of CO2e henceforth.


What are other key benefits?

Contribution to sustainable development

Besides saving greenhouse gases, the project helps to

·   bring wood consumption down so as to allow natural recovery of forests and/or reforestation to take place,

·   diminish indoor air pollution from wood smoke and avoid its harmful health consequences,

·   diminish the fuel wood bill for fish processing.

The project therefore meets the following national sustainable development criteria:

Social criteria
SOC.1: Link with policies, regulations and national priorities and local development
SOC.2: Well-being of the local community
SOC.4: Participation of local communities
Economic criteria
ECO.4: Technology Transfer
Environment criteria
ENV.1: Fight against climate change
ENV.2: Preservation of local and national environment and natural resources
ENV.3: Safety and health of the local community

Ecosystem Services criteria

Extreme Weather Events criteria

Biodiversity Hotspots criteria

What are the proposal’s costs?

·         Labour (staffing  and the recruitment of key informants)  US $ 40 000

·         Land and sea transport US $ US $ 55 600

·         Planning and training: US $ 24 530

·         On-field demonstrative planting (material and other accessories)  : US $ 50 000

·         Construction of improved smoke house  : US $ 100 000

·         Participatory M&E to ensure long-term tree stewardship/maintenance: US $ 25 200

·         Sustaining  data  collection  process.  US $ 15 000

•        Continued local capacity building. US $ 15 250

•        Information  sharing.  US $ 25 500

•        Total requested : US$ 351 080

Time line

Short-term (5 – 15 years)

-          Most of the identified degraded patches of mangroves demarcated and planted with are restored with mangrove plants consisting of Red mangrove (Rhizophora racemosa, R. mangle)80%  and white mangrove (Avicennia germinans) 20% in at least 25 fishing villages from wildings and nursery stocks;

-          20 in situ nurseries created for eventual replacement of dead plants in planted areas

-          Local mangrove platform capacity built to sustain monitoring of planted areas

-          Capacities built of at least 1000 local people spread in 25 villages will on field mangrove regenerating techniques from nursery to plantation techniques.

-          Between 2016 and 2018 at least 75 improved smoked houses is constructed and monitored

-          Midterm evaluation and lessons learned

-          Publishing and sharing lessons learned

Mid-term expectations (15-50 years)

-          The planted areas are regular surveyed and maintained replacing dead plants from existing nurseries for eventual mangrove habitat restoration and connectivity for mangrove to play its beneficial role as fisheries support systems.

-          Enhanced monitoring capacity of the Local mangrove platform to sustain monitoring of planted areas

-          Acquired capacities of over 1000 local people spread in 25 villages on field mangrove restoration techniques with continue identification and planting of other degraded areas.

-          Mangroves are restored for increase fish and coastal protection from storms.

-          Post study evaluation of the combined approach used to building mangrove resilience

Related proposals



[1] UNEP (2007). Mangroves of Western and Central Africa. UNEP-Regional Seas Programme/UNEP-WCMC.

[2] UNEP (2007). Mangroves of Western and Central Africa. UNEP-Regional Seas Programme/UNEP-WCMC.

[1] Feka, NZ, George B. Chuyong and Gordon N. Ajonina (2009). Sustainable utilization of mangroves using improved fish smoking systems: A management perspective from the Douala-Edea Wildlife Reserve, Cameroon. Tropical Conservation Science.

Ajonina, P.U., Ajonina, G.N., Jin, E. Mekongo, F., Ayissi, I. and Usongo, L.(2005).Gender roles and economics of exploitation, processing and marketing of bivalves and impacts on forest resources in the Douala-Edaa Wildlife Reserve, Cameroon. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 12: 161- 172

Ajonina, G.N. and Usongo, L. (2001). Preliminary quantitative impact assessment of wood extraction on the mangroves of Douala-Edea Forest Reserve, Cameroon. Tropical Biodiversity 7 (2-3): 137-149.


Ajonina, G.N.; Chuyong, P.D.; Nkanje, B.T. 2011. Developing a Generalizable Methodology for Assessing the Vulnerability of Mangroves and Associated Ecosystems in Cameroon: A Country Synthesis; WWF Central African Regional Programme Office: Yaoundé, Cameroon.


Feka, N.Z. and Ajonina, G.N. (2011). Drivers causing decline of mangrove in West-Central Africa: a review, International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, DOI:10.1080/21513732.2011.634436

Ajonina, G.N., Moudingo, JHE, Mibog, E.D., Jarju, A.k., Jammeh, K., Conteh, F., Taal,S., Touray, L.M., Njei, M., and Janko, S., (2014). Study to Assess Mangrove Dieback: Community Mangrove Restoration Training Manual. GEF/UNDP/ Enhancing Resilience of Vulnerable Coastal Areas & Communities to Climate Change Project, Banjul, Gambia, 60pp.

Mbog, D.M., 1999. Rapport sur les mangroves du Cameroun: Connaissance, Conservation, biodiversité et Valorisation. GEF-UNEP. 11 p.