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The interaction between market forces and management systems: a case study of non-wood forest products in the humid forest zone of Cameroon

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In Cameroon, resources such as non-wood forest products are often managed as common pool resources in customary systems, which have been variously influenced by changes in policy, demographics and market opportunities. This research explored the effects of increasing commercialisation on the customary management systems for three commercially important species, Gnetum spp. (Gnetum), Irvingia spp. (bush mango) and Ricinodendron heudelotii (njansang) in two areas differentiated on the basis of level of commercialisation. Findings showed that increased commercialisation was leading to overharvesting of these products, particularly Gnetum. The customary rules of access were also changing as the perception of improved marketing opportunities was leading to restrictions on access to bush mango and Gnetum. The increasing privatisation of access for njansang has removed it from the common pool, which could negatively affect those women, with insecure access to land, who depend on its harvest and sale as a source of livelihood.
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Keywords: Cameroon; common pool resources; customary tenure; markets; non-wood forest products

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1. 2: Department of Natural Resources, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. 14853.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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