Significant Headway in Development of African Model Forests

Executive Director Peter Besseau and Policy Advisor Nicolas Duval-Mace of the IMFN Secretariat successfully conducted a 3-week mission in North and Central Africa in May and June to initiate the Secretariat's new program for Africa, called the African Model Forest Initiative (AMFI). The AMFI aims to improve the conservation and sustainable management of forest resources in Francophone Africa, including the Congo Basin and Mediterranean region (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria) through Model Forests. The goal is to add substantially to the pilot work on Model Forests undertaken in Cameroon in order to demonstrate the value of the Model Forest approach in the African context and to build a viable African Network by the year 2013.

The AMFI will support the region’s ongoing commitment to good governance, human resource and local economic development, and the sustainable management of forest-based landscapes in the Congo Basin. Assistance will be provided to various local, regional and national organizations to support local initiatives aimed at enhancing ecological and community sustainability through Model Forest development. Key activities of the AMFI will include:

  • Model Forest development
  • rural economic development and community sustainability
  • research
  • development and demonstration of innovative management practices
  • building effective networks among Model Forests
  • communications and knowledge sharing

The mission in the Maghreb was conducted jointly with the Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN). There, Network representatives met with high-level officials from national forest agencies and explored potential model forest locations. All three Maghreb countries emphasized their intention to develop Model Forests in the near future, and to continue engaging with their neighbours through the MMFN.

The mission to Cameroon was co-organized with the newly created African Model Forest Network Secretariat (formerly known as IFMA) based in Yaoundé. The first week was spent in Yaoundé in meetings aimed at re-engaging national and regional authorities, as well as local and institutional partners. The Minister of Forests and Wildlife, His Excellency Prof. Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, expressed his desire to see new model forests created in Cameroon and development of a national network. The second week was spent visiting the Model Forests of Campo Ma'an and Dja & Mpomo, both established in 2005. Follow-up activities include a visit to Cameroon in July by a delegation from Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest (Canada) who will conduct technical workshops on how to add value to wood residue and multi-resource forest inventories.