To create and live in a world that understands human dominance is not to control and destroy but to utilise and grow with a generation who will one day join the fight against animal cruelty, depletion of our natural resources and the destruction of our planet.
Womens Woodlot Reserve
The Okpazange Community of Cross River State, Nigeria is blessed with a beautiful forest patch called the Aeroplane Field Forest. With a land area of over 16 hectares, the forest is home to a vast number of species of land-based animals such as the endangered Preuss’s monkey (Allochrocebus preussi), also known as Preuss’s guenon and endemic birds and fauna.
The forest also serves as a watershed to the last freshwater stream for 5 local communities on the Obudu Plateau. Lastly, the Aeroplane Field forest is a tourist attraction providing an alternative source of income to the local community through the artisanal products they sell. Despite the importance of the forest, regional demand for wood energy for cooking and heating is causing deforestation and forest degradation.
Further, bush burning and cattle grazing are threatening the forest’s integrity. As a result of these activities and the human encroachment, the water source is exposed and drying up. There is also an increase in waterborne diseases and infections
in the community, such as typhoid.
After consulting community leaders, Obudu Conservation Centre (OCC) established a community Reserve which
is known as the Women’s Woodlot Reserve Program in an attempt to tackle the problem. The initiative is focused on protecting the community’s forest patch while supporting their needs and is divided into 4 phases;
Women’s Woodlot Reserve
Water Rehabilitation Program Pastoralism
Goal: To protect and reforest the Aeroplane Field Forest Patch situated on the Obudu Cattle Ranch.
Why: The forest acts as a water source for the local community and the wildlife in the area. It is also a home
to many species, some of which are endemic to the region. Lastly, the forest serves as an attraction on the ranch,
which fuels tourism on the Plateau.
Objective 1: Stop the chopping down of trees in the forest by the local community for fire wood and timber.
Objective 2: Stop herders from bush burning in the area for their cattle. The bush burning can result in forest fires.
Objective 3: To stop the grazing of cattle in the area to allow for the forest to regenerate.
Objective 4: To stop the hunting of the animals in the forest for bush meat.
Objective 5: Employ and empower youth’s in the community to protect the region.
Alternative: Reforestation programme.
At the bottom the forest is an open grassland where we will start the reforestation programme where tree seedlings were collected to raise fast growing indigenous trees (Kola parivapa, Carapa procera, Madagasca spp and Isobelina doka) to plant along the edge of the forest reserve. These species were selected because of their economic benefits to the community. The leaves and fruits are used and traded as vegetables and medicine respectively, and the wood is harvested for timber.
Volunteers: The OCC has received 12 volunteers from the Okpazange youths for the programme.
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