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Women at the edge of forest management in Northern Cameroon

Gautier D., Van Santen J.C.M.. 2014. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods, 23 (3) : p. 143-158.

DOI: 10.1080/14728028.2014.907532

In northern Cameroon like in all Sudano-Sahelian regions, women have very few rights to trees, although they are key users of tree products. Surveys and feedback sessions were conducted in five villages, each being representative of an agroecological subregion, to understand the disparity between the importance of trees for women and their lack of involvement in tree management. Although women are aware of the pressure on available tree resources, they feel powerless to do anything about it. Tree management actions women have undertaken or intend to undertake are limited to the vicinity of the homestead. In other places, parkland fields and savannah bush, women are skeptical about and sometimes unaware of actions that could be undertaken. This is mainly due to the existing gender relations. Men have the power over rights of access to trees and make all decisions concerning management of trees in the parklands and savannahs. The gender division of labor is such that women are not involved in tree management. A change in gender relations and a complete reversal of opinion and behavior would be needed for a more balanced involvement of women and men in the management of trees.

Mots-clés : forêt tropicale; rôle des femmes; développement rural; agroécologie; produit forestier; produit forestier non ligneux; ressource forestière; gestion des ressources naturelles; protection de la forêt; savane; arbre forestier; arbre à buts multiples; cameroun

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