Mangrove stands in the Western and Central African countries especially that of Cameroon are declining due to diverse drivers. Actually, Rhizophora racemosa stands in the Cameroon Estuary have been degraded through over-exploitation for fish smoking, pole-wood extraction and fuel wood harvesting by local people in the midst where there is no specific law protecting this ecosystem. Recently, community-based mangrove replanting efforts facilitated by the Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society in the Douala-Edea Reserve (DER), all dominated by over 80% foreigners was carried for the period of 14 months. These communities out-planted only close to 4 ha (40%) of degraded mangrove compare to the initiate target of 10 ha. In a bid to understand the reason for not meeting the targeted goal, the perceptions of local communities geared towards mangrove restoration were assessed through a questionnaire survey, which was administered to a stratified random sample of 400 people, with 100 individual per village (Mbiako, Youme II, Yoyo I and II). The outcome revealed different levels of perception. Overall, a significant proportion that is, 34.5% (P<0.005, Rs=0.155) rated mangrove forest as very “little degraded”; 52.5% (P<0.005, Rs = -0.099) favoured its restoration; while 60.8% (P<0.005, Rs=-0.199) were not aware that mangrove could be nursed to restore degraded areas. Participation in nursery-out planting activities was significantly varied as 89.8% (P<0.005, Rs=-0.210) never participated in the process, of which 78.8% (P<0.05, Rs=0.161) conditioned their participation on some factors which includes greater sensitisation, more training and incentives. Recommendations ranged from putting in place a community day for mangrove, delineation of roles and responsibilities of members in committee, to graduated sanctions for disturbance of restored sites by guided rules.
Key words: Cameroon wildlife conservation society (CWCS), foreign nationals, communities out-plant, mangrove (Rhizophora racemosa), Douala-Edea Reserve (DER).
CWCS, Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society; DER, Douala-Edea Reserve; COPVAM-French acronym, Village Mangrove Restoration Steering Committee; PDM, participatory data matrix; χ2, Pearson's chi-square; Rs, Spearman’s correlation; d.f, degree of freedom; Probability, (P at either *Significant at α=95% or **Significant at α=99.5%).