Rangelands cover a surface area of more than 2 million hectares in Cameroon. Despite their relatively unpredictable climate and unproductive nature they provide a wide variety of goods and services including forage for livestock, habitat for wildlife, water and minerals, woody products, recreational services, nature conservation as well as acting as carbon sinks. Rangelands in Cameroon are predominantly grassland savanna with three types distinguishable: the Guinean savanna, Sudan savanna (also known as ‘derived montane grasslands’), and the Sahel savanna. They are home to the Fulani pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, sedentary farmers, as well as fishermen and hunters who depend on these rangelands for their livelihoods.
These different land users have interacted relatively peacefully over the centuries. However, in recent years this harmony has been threatened by both internal and external influences resulting in conflicts between them. The reasons for this are manifold. At the core of the conflicts however is the declining resource base for pastoralists occasioned by increasing human population, and changing land use patterns in favour of commercial agriculture, conservation and tourism as well as other economic interests such as infrastructure and energy development and mining. These conflicts do not only occur between pastoralists and farmers but also between pastoralists and fishermen, between pastoralists and conservationists and to an extent between pastoralists themselves.
A root cause of these conflicts is the lack of attention paid to rangelands, resulting in poor investment and support. In addition, there exists a dualism of tenure in the country with land access and management enabled through various laws (formal ordinances to by-laws to customary rules and regulations). Foremost amongst these are the Land Ordinance Laws No. 74/1 and 74/2, which classify land into three categories: state property, private property and national land. The law recognises private land rights only through possession of a land title. All untitled, unregistered land that is not designated as public land (i.e. not managed by the state on behalf of the public) is considered to be national land. In addition, Decree No. 78/263 establishes the terms and conditions for management of conflicts on agro-pastoral lands.
Institutionally, the above ordinances provide for two related bodies – the Land Consultative Board and the Agro-Pastoral Commission (APC), which administer national lands including grazing lands or rangelands. Presently, Cameroon is undertaking policy and legal reforms including one, a review of the land legislation, and two, the development of a Pastoral Code, which aims to harmonise the various laws, ordinances and customary tenures in pastoral areas including formal, customary and religious ones.
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The International Land Coalition (ILC) is a coalition of civil society and intergovernmental organizations promoting secure and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men thro
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.