Community forestry in Cameroon: Insights on state institutional deficits
Community forestry (CF) was set-up in Cameroon about 20 years ago to enable better environmental, economic, and social benefits for communities. Since then, 430 community forests have been attributed, covering an area of almost 1.7M ha. However, less than a quarter (10%) are in active management or enterprise. Weak institutions have been widely cited as a leading cause of poor performance in the community forestry process. This paper examines the current state of institutional deficits in Cameroon and identifies pathways for overcoming the deficits. Our analysis is based on a rigorous review of documented experiences so far. Results obtained revealed that emerging deficits revolve around form and functions. Legal; power, authority and rights; and size and biophysical potential deficits were grouped under the realm of form while resources; capacity; and governance deficits were grouped under the realm of functions. Proposed solutions to these deficits point to the need to recognize and manage inter-dependencies between challenges and corresponding potential solutions. Hence a system or integrated approach is needed to tackle the problems identified.