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Commercial activities and subsistence utilization of mangrove forests around the Wouri estuary and the Douala-Edea reserve (Cameroon)
Nfotabong Atheull, A.; Din, N.; Longonje, S.N.; Koedam, N.; Dahdouh-Guebas, F. (2009). Commercial activities and subsistence utilization of mangrove forests around the Wouri estuary and the Douala-Edea reserve (Cameroon). J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 5(35): 14.
In: Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. BioMed Central: London. ISSN 1746-4269; e-ISSN 1746-4269
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Nfotabong Atheull, A.
  • Din, N.
  • Longonje, S.N.
  • Koedam, N.
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F.

    BackgroundWorldwide there is growing research interest in the ethnobiology of mangrove forests. Notwithstanding that, little information has been published about ethnobiology of mangrove forests in Cameroon. The aims of this study were a) to analyze the harvesting methods and the local selling of mangrove wood products by loggers in the vicinity of Wouri estuary and b) to investigate the patterns of subsistence uses of mangrove wood products around the Douala-Edea reserve. MethodsSemi-structured interviews were conducted with 120 active mangrove loggers in 23 Douala wood markets and 103 households located in three villages (Mbiako, Yoyo I and Yoyo II) close to Douala-Edea reserve. In each of the three densely populated villages, every second household was chosen for sampling while in all markets, mangrove loggers were chosen randomly. In addition, log diameters were measured in each market using a wooden foldable tape measure. A post hoc analysis (Newman-Keuls test) was performed in order to detect the common wood class diameter sold in the Douala wood markets. ResultsThe analysis of the loggers' survey data has shown that large logs of Rhizophora with diameter greater than 40 cm were common in the Douala wood markets and were more closely associated with loggers who used chainsaws. In addition to the general mangroves wood products selling, the analysis on a subsistence level (households' survey) suggests the local population's dependence on mangroves, with multiple uses of Rhizophora racemosa Meyer, R. harrisonii Leechman, Avicennia germinans L. Stearn., Laguncularia racemosa Gaertn. f. and Conocarpus erectus L. timbers for furniture, fences, smoking fish, and fuelwood. Finally, Nypa fruticans (Thunb.) Wurmb. leaves were used as thatching material for house walls and roofs. ConclusionOur findings revealed that big logs of Rhizophora were commonly sold by the loggers. A majority of loggers (60%) reported that mangrove marketed wood constitute a principal source of income. Most of the villagers (85.83%) often depend on mangroves for subsistence needs and for them there is no substitute for mangrove wood. Therefore, more efforts should be undertaken at the national level to implement conservation, management and sustainable use of these coastal forests.

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