Ecosystem of North Cameroon: towards an integrated landscape approach

Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as the lead of the EcoNorCam consortium in collaboration with Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED), Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER)

Key thematic areas

Contributing to the development of actions and synergies for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and nationally determined contributions; the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity; and the strengthening of food security and nutrition.

Zone of intervention

Benue National Park and Zones of Hunting Interest (ZIC) – North Region of Cameroon


Lack of management in protected areas has reduced their attraction among tourists, with immigration and disorganized pastoral mobility frequently leading to land conflicts. Increased illegal trafficking and corruption has reduced opportunities for economic development. To prevent the security of the region from collapsing and to secure its most vulnerable inhabitants, the region needs to strengthen natural resource management, balancing interests among agricultural, silvicultural and pastoral groups.


This project aims to improve the governance of land, natural resources and species, as well as of protected areas in the North Region of Cameroon, particularly through public-private partnerships.


The North Region of Cameroon is characterized by rich natural heritage and home to three national parks. This territorial development is valuable for carbon storage; local mitigation of high climatic variability; and maintenance of environmental services and conservation of natural resources and wildlife of the Sudano-Sahellian environment. The region is also remarkable for its agro-pastoral sector, which employs nearly 90% of adults. The strong development of a structured cotton industry has improved the socioeconomic resilience of farmers. The region is, however, changing rapidly due to strong population growth resulting from the massive internal and external displacement of people. Demographic growth has led to the growing need for land for farmers and pastoralists and better management of natural resources: competition for land leads to conflict among these groups on the one hand and increased illicit anthropic activities on the natural resources and protected areas of the region on the other.


The project aims at enhancing good governance around protected areas for more stabilized conditions; supporting vulnerable communities dependent on local security, agro-sylvo-pastoralism and tourism; and generating income which, in turn, will increase the legitimacy of protected areas.

The implementation approach involves giving stakeholders the unique opportunity to play their respective roles in an organized manner. In terms of governance, the project seeks to promote information sharing; consultation; collaboration and coordination between the different partners; capacity building; and environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Specific actions

  • negotiation of territorial trade-offs and promotion of microzoning landscape use, permitting sustainable land management and resilience to climate change of the territory;
  • restoration of ecological interconnection between North Cameroon National Parks with particular emphasis on the UTO Benue;
  • anti-poaching activities with conservation support staff in collaboration with the conservation services of the Benue National Park (Ministry of Wildlife and Forestry) and ZIC, thus trying to reduce illicit human activities (poaching, mining, pastoralism, deforestation, etc.) in the park and on the natural resources;
  • engagement of Benue National Park perimeter communities in conservation and management of natural resources, as well as in developing income generating activities, thus favouring climate change resilience agriculture, exploitation of non-timber forest products and promoting alternative means to firewood and charcoal.

Target groups and final beneficiaries

There are six main target groups:

  • populations of the neighbouring villages and nomads (transhumance);
  • traditional authorities;
  • extension services (MINFOF, MINDCAF, MINADER, MINEPAT, MEADEN, MINEPDED) and Decentralized Territorial Collectivities;
  • private sector actors (long-term owners of ZIC, SODECOTON, cooperatives of cotton producers and mining operators);
  • mass media;
  • civil society organizations.

There are four main final beneficiaries:

  • Government of Cameroon (GOC) at the central level;
  • national community as a whole;
  • local pro-climate, pro-biodiversity and pro-development projects;
  • international community.

Challenges faced 

  • anthropic migration around the Benue National Park and overexploitation of natural resources by communities;
  • increased pastoralism activities inside and around the Benue National Park;
  • increased illegal trafficking and corrupt practices;
  • unsustainable soil use by communities, thus infringing upon land surfaces in protected areas.


  • Dr Roger FOTSO (
  • Stefanelli Emanuele (