Forest/Habitat Fragmentation and Human-elephant Conflicts in the Takamanda-Mone Landscape of the South West Region of Cameroon
Forest/habitat fragmentation and Human-elephant conflicts are among the key factors that are of great concern to conservationists as far as achieving the goals of elephant conservation within their range states is concerned. Although much has been done in some protected areas in the Central African Sub-Region in general and in Cameroon in particular on forest/habitat fragmentation and human-elephant conflicts, very little is known of this situation in the Takamanda-Mone Landscape of South West Cameroon. The absence of such a valuable baseline data has created a knowledge gap that need to be closed and at the same time provides the management bench of the Landscape with appropriate tools for decision making. In the light of the above, there is therefore the need to source baseline information with respect to forest/habitat fragmentation and human-elephant conflicts in the Takamanda National Park and Mone Forest Reserve. It is from this back drop, that this study ‘on the evaluation of forest/habitat fragmentation and Human-elephant conflicts in the Takamanda-Mone Landscape of the South West Region of Cameroon was initiated as a contribution to the ongoing regional search for baseline information on the forest/habitat fragmentation and human elephant conflicts in Cameroon. The study in order to achieve set objectives employed socio-economic and Biological assessment techniques. Biological assessment took the form of line transect establishment, a hunter guided survey, the use of the Global Positioning Systems (GPS Garmin 60CSx) and the Geographic Information System (GIS). The socio-economic techniques made use of the random and the purposive sampling methodologies for the selection of villages and the respondents for questionnaire administration. Alongside these sampling techniques, some selected Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools were used for data collection. Results revealed that forest/habitat fragmentation and human-elephant conflicts are very prominent in the Takamanda-Mone Landscape due to human activities that are carried out in the area. These activities were identified to range from farming, hunting, poaching, local timber exploitation, Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) gathering, road construction to settlement. The associated conflicts (both direct and indirect) were identified to span from crop destruction to loss of lives and injuries. The locations and the effective carry out of these activities were found to have fragmented forest/ habitats and these has resulted in the decline of elephant populations in the study area. In order to reverse the present trend of events, the Takamanda-Mone landscape should be upgraded and classified into a National Park.
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