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Dja Biosphere

Moabiwild mango



Established in 1950 by the colonial administration, the Dja Biosphere Reserve (DBR) covers 18% of Cameroon’s National Protected Area network.

With its unique wealth, the reserve is home to many species: over 109 species of mammals (lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephant, etc.), 360 species of birds (white-necked rockfowl, African gray parrot, Dja river warbler, etc.) 62 species of fish and 207 species of trees such as Moabi.


Major issues


The project is implemented in two forest areas located in the north and the east, outlying directly the reserve, with a total area of about 80,000 ha. 25 villages are involved in the project. 

This conservation area suffers from ongoing degradation due to the increase in the rural population and overexploitation of natural resources (timber, charcoal, poaching, fishing, non-timber forest products for food and pharmacopoeia).

The constant pressure on natural resources results in loss of biodiversity, at the expense of the poorest rural communities that lead traditional lifestyle. 



The project and the prospects for change


The project plans to work on three economic sectors:

  1. Moabi oil (Baillonella toxisperma). Moabi is a tree whose wood is sought after by industrial logging companies for the international market. Moabi fruits produce an oil-rich seed, traditionally used in Central Africa for food and cosmetics. Income communities derive from this product in the long term can be much higher than the price of wood whose exploitation benefits almost exclusively to timber harvesters;
  2. Wild mango (Irvingia gabonensis), whose almond contained in the core is sold for food on the local market and to Nigerian wholesalers. Mango butter produced from pressing the almond is of interest to the cosmetic industry, namely in the South African market;
  3. Cocoa which now accounts for up to 50% of the income of some farmers in the area, with the establishment of a rational agroforestry system and the “Rainforest Alliance” certification. 

Some of the results expected from the project include improved collection and drying techniques; the establishment of a pre-processing platform for primary products (vegetable oils and butters); and the creation of a marketing and export structure.
The project will contribute to the preservation of the reserve as well as to improving the local communities’ living conditions by recognizing their right to access natural resources, by establishing a sustainable resources management system through consensus, and by enhancing the economic value of local production.


Committed partners


Two NGOs work in a complementary way on this project : 

  1. The NGO AAFEBEN works in the eastern outskirts of the reserve with 10 community forests. It supports 10 groups comprising of 350 women from the Baka (Pygmies) and Bantu ethnic groups to collect and sell forest products such as wild mangoes and Moabi. 
  2. The NGO TFRD (Tropical Forest and Rural Development) works on the northern outskirts of the reserve in an area of 30,000 hectares with 15 villages. TFRD works with 160 farmers in the area, including 50 women, supports their organization into cooperatives and builds their technical capacity.


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To learn more about this project and its 2016 key achievements, please click on this link.

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