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Focus on Forests (text version)

…and the solution

After much discussion, the offer from the timber company was turned down and the villagers decided to work together in a co-operative to manage the forest themselves. With the CFO, they worked out a detailed plan to make the most of their resources. Some parts of the plan they could do on their own and some of it needed funds or training from outside.

Much of the plan is now in action. The villagers improved the way they collected and sold the non-timber forest products and made enough money to pay for the new road. They did much of the preparation work themselves. This, in turn, has made marketing easier and the direct sale of NTFPs in the towns now brings in a good income which has improved the lives of individuals and the community. Some timber is also being sold in the town of Calabar. In return for the help given by the Park officials, the villagers agreed to keep out of the Park , so the endangered animals are no longer threatened by hunting, farming or logging. In fact, the villagers are working with the Park to ensure it remains protected.

The people of Old and New Ekuri are working together to improve their lives and also to ensure the long-term survival of their forest. A lot of the issues raised in this case study are important elsewhere in the world.

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