Forest-Culture Relationship in NSO and Mbiame Fondoms: Case of the Montane Forests of Ngongbaa, Kovifem and Kovkinkar, North West Cameroon

Authors : Tatah Jean-Louis Banadzem; George Agri Ambukwa

Volume/Issue : Volume 7 - 2022, Issue 1 - January

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The study was designed to investigate the link between forestand cultural practices linked to it in the Ngongbaa, Kovifem and Kovkinkar forests. Data and/or information collected for this study comprised literary, questionnaire, interview, observation and focused group discussions. Information was sort from persons directly involved in the management of forests in the 18 villages of the study including afon(Kings), lanlords, village heads, traditional medical practitioners, carvers, wood harvesters, wild honey extractors, bee farmers etc. The findings show a strong inextricable win-win link between the Nso and Mbiame people and their forest. Some portions of the forest are carved out as shrines and sacred forest. Which host spirits of ancestors, where afonand/or landlords (ataangvem) perform sacrifices as a form of respect and homage to their ancestors in exchange for peace, health, abundant harvest and harmony in the family and community. The rich biota of the Ngongbaa, Kovifem and Kovkinkar forests, with more than 405 endemic plant species, approximately 77 species of mammals,150 species of birds with 53 species, has contributed enormously to the rich and diverse cultureof theNso and Mbiame. The nature of cultural activity is determined to a large extent by the type of forest resources linked to it. Some cultural activities are sustainable due to the existence of related resources in the forest, while others have declined to their lowest ebb due to the depletion of related forest resources. The paper suggests that the state should assist the local communities to fence the forest and reintroduce extinct wildlife species, to sustain cultural practices dependent on them. The state and environmental interest groups could also reform the forestry/wildlife policy to integrate the quasi-statutory land tenure policies and support local initiatives designed to restore degraded forests to maintain biodiversity, preserve and perpetuate indigenous Knowledge and culture.

Keywords : Forest, Culture, Shrines, Sacred Forest, Relationships, and Montane Forest.


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