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Leiden Universit (2005)

Floodplain Rehabilitation and the Future of Conservation & Development. Adaptive management of success in Waza-Logone, Cameroon

Scholte, Paul

Titre : Floodplain Rehabilitation and the Future of Conservation & Development. Adaptive management of success in Waza-Logone, Cameroon

Auteur : Scholte, Paul

Université de soutenance : Leiden University

Grade : Doctoral thesis 2005

Résumé
Since 1979, the hydrology of the Waza-Logone floodplain in semi-arid Cameroon has been affected by the construction upstream of a dam and embankment, reducing the flooding intensity in an area of 1500 km2, including Waza National Park. Subsequently, annual grasses invaded productive perennial grasslands, reducing the carrying capacity of the area for livestock, fisheries and wildlife. In 1994, after local consultations, a watercourse blocked by the embankment along the Logone river was re-opened, rehabilitating an area of 600 km2 of desiccated floodplain. Monitoring showed a gradual recovery of perennial grasslands, virtually completed in 2003, albeit with a species composition somewhat different from the 1970s. Numbers of most waterbirds increased two-fold, especially when their colonies benefited from local communities’ protection, whereas colonies of piscivorous birds were frequently destroyed. Floodplain antelopes showed an initial increase that has not persisted, probably because of increasing competition with livestock which densities increased three-fold due to the arrival of new pastoral groups and prolonged stay of herds traditionally frequenting the area. These developments indicate a problem in the sharing of the reflooding benefits between wildlife and people that rapidly respond to new opportunities, calling for intensified management planning to anticipate this unexpected success. A dialogue was institutionalised between protected area authorities and local communities. Effective conservation called for a stronger and lasting involvement of protected area personnel in planning and community conservation. Developed training courses showed good potential to upgrade knowledge and skills of present personnel. In addition, institutional changes are needed to assure the necessary increase in numbers of park personnel and their rotation, not only in and amongst national parks but with training institutes as well. The success of floodplain rehabilitation ultimately depends on long-term ecological and socio-economic monitoring, with individuals and institutions capable to translate upcoming insights into practice.

Mots clés  : Floodplain Africa Cameroon Vegetation Waterbirds Wildlife Pastoralism Conservation Planning Training

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