NGOCE Engages Communities in the Development of Sustainable Mangrove Forest Management Plans
Effective mangrove forest management is a product of planning that involves key stakeholders. Forest dependent communities as key stakeholders are in the center of every forest management planning process that seeks to be sustainable. NGOCE has been a dependable partner in the business of helping communities to develop forest management plans that will regulate the way community forest resources are utilized.
In the last 6 months, NGOCE has been working with communities within the mangrove forest catchment of Cross River State to develop sustainable mangrove Forest Management Plans. These plans are to initiate the process for the management of community forest by community members for the purpose of sustainable livelihood and enterprise development. This is being done with support from United Purpose (UP). Funding for the project is a joint initiative of the Critical Ecosystem Partner Fund (CEPF) with I’Agence Francaise de Developpement, Conservation International, European Union, the Global Environmental Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and World Bank, whose guiding principle is “Protecting Biodiversity By Empowering People”.
Benefitting communities are drawn from 3 mangrove dominated Local Government Areas that include Akpabuyo (Akwa Esuk Eyamba, Ikot Ekriba, Nkakat Eyamba, Esuk Mba, Ikong Nkok Anie, Ikot Onono-Iba Communities); Odukpani ((Ifako, Adak Uko, Mbarakum, Akim Akim, Utong, Efut Creek Town Council); and Calabar South (Ikot Ewa Effiom, Esuk Effiom, Ikot Okon Etim Ewa). The whole process was highly engaging and rewarding as communities at various levels of the FMP development process were excited about the process and the outcome.
In drawing up the plans, a review/audit process was carried out to know if there are existing Forest Management Plans; community members were made to identify the resources in their forest and their use pattern. Also, community livelihood assessment was done as well as an assessment on the existing of forest by-laws and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) among others. The process was facilitated by Mr Tony Attah the project Advisor and Mr Vincent Ayang the Project Forest Officer.
It is hoped that in the coming months, the Forest Management Plans will be validated and communities will start implementing the plans for the betterment of their forest and livelihoods.