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World Forest Week: Making a difference to communities in Cameroon

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Cameroon forest

Today marks the beginning of World Forest Week, with world leaders gathering in Italy for the Committee on Forestry’s weeklong summit, which aims to shape a new agenda for world forests and sustainable management.

From the Amazon to Indonesia, deforestation is a global issue, and the loss of tropical rainforests remains staggeringly high. According to Think Global Green, 150 acres of rainforest are lost every minute of every day. Addressing this issue is global conservation organisation, Rainforest Alliance, who is working on the ground to help local communities sustainably manage their own forests, concessions, and lands.

At almost thirty years old, the Rainforest Alliance is no newcomer to sustainable forestry. As one of the founders of the Forest Stewardship Council back in the 1990s, the organisation has been imparting positive impacts for three decades.

The Rainforest Alliance recognises that community forestry is among the most sustainable forms of forest management, and evidence from its work in Latin America emphasises that community forestry can be a working solution in lieu of deforestation. When locals are able to take control of their own lands, their actions tend to reflect the community’s best interests. A recent analysis of Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve shows that deforestation rates in community forests where the Rainforest Alliance has worked were close to zero, while adjacent protected areas experienced forest conversion rates that were higher than regional averages.

The Rainforest Alliance is now working with forest communities in Cameroon to provide support to those who are engaged in, or would like to engage in, sustainable forestry management and the harvesting of non-timber products such as nuts. To date, the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts have benefited 12 local communities, which are home to around 10,000 people. As a collective effort with these communities, the organisation has laid the groundwork for sustainable methods of harvesting timber and non-timber forest products, while strengthening their internal governance and enabling them to operate in a competitive market environment. Additionally, it has facilitated the establishment of four local community-owned forest enterprises as a tool for pooling investments in equipment and social infrastructure, increasing negotiating power and improving access to markets.

MINKO’O COMMUNITY

Whether aged five or fifty-five, education is still one of the most powerful gifts anyone can receive. And since training in best practices in forestry can benefit generations to come, it’s a gift that can keep on giving. A training session held in early July at Mintom, in southern part of the Dja Biosphere Reserve in Cameroon, saw trainer, Mrs Mballa Myriam, train members of the community forest management bodies on the creation and management of their own co-operatives. TEACHERCLASS

Sustainable forestry practices involve a holistic approach that takes workers’ well-being into account, as well as protecting the environment and biodiversity. A group of forestry workers in Sangmelima, Cameroon show off the proper protective gear needed to safely operate a sawmill.

SAWMILL TRAINING

Forestry workers from Cameroon eagerly gather around a brand-new sawmill from partners on the ground, Akom. This equipment will sustainably lend much-needed economic support to the entire community. The delivery of sawmills and the training of production teams are essential elements, which provide freshly formed community forest enterprises (CFEs) with a ‘raison d’etre.’ Portable sawmills are used to cut logs into lumber, typically juxtaposed next to the tree being felled. Pooled resources for the processing of wood also renders operational and maintenance costs more affordable for CFEs, while allowing communities the chance to attain higher profit margins. First and foremost though, access to this type of processing equipment provides communities with options; it frees them from involvement with agents who may seek to take advantage by imposing unfavourable terms or by exploiting internal conflicts into unilateral and sometimes-illegal operations which tend to lack consent from the whole community. COMMUNITY MACHINERY

Locally managed community forestry enterprises can directly help communities to sustainably manage their forests’ economic opportunities. The woman shown here is selling Ndo’o nuts, to generate income from the local market. The Ndo’o nut is derived from wild mangoes, and is processed into edible pastes. Irvingia gabonensis, its scientific name, comes from a species of African trees, and is sometimes known as wild mango, African mango, or bush mango. These are edible, mango-like fruits, and are especially valued for their fat- and protein-rich nuts.

WOMEN NUTS GROUP

Women from a Cameroonian forest community are seen processing Djansang nuts, which can be found growing naturally in the forest. This is a wild, hard-shelled nut that is processed into oil and body soap.

WOMAN NUTS INDIVIDUAL

At the CEPFILD Cooperative in the Congo Basin, workers process a delivery of a new Djansang Nutcracker, an important tool for the local community.

NUTCRACKERS DELIVERY

For more information about the Rainforest Alliance’s forestry work in the Congo Basin, please visit: https://thefrogblog.org.uk/2016/03/31/protecting-biodiversity-and-livelihoods-in-cameroon

 

 

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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