In 1996, a team of professionals created the Association for Research in the Agricultural Sector and the Environment (ASERG). Its activities were mainly located in the Lebialem Division, southwest of Cameroon. After several years of research, ASERG members decided to create a group able to face the challenges identified in the field.
In August 1999, a constituent general assembly was held in Buea with the aim of developing ASERG's activities. Thus the Cameroonian association Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) was born. ERuDeF has been involved for 18 years in the conservation of great apes and fragile ecosystems and works with cameroonian governement on several projects.
The socio-political crisis that has been raging since 2016 in southwestern and northwestern Cameroon, ERUDEF's main intervention areas, has forced the association to temporarily suspend some of its field activities.
AREA OF INTERVENTION AND PROBLEMATIC
The Lebialem Highlands, and in general, the western region of Cameroon, are vast mountainous forest areas, considered as priority conservation sites. this situation is explained by the multiplicity of landscapes from humid dense forests to savannah vegetation. However, there are global threats to wildlife such as climate change, poaching and destruction of forests for cropland requirements, which contributes to a decrease in this natural vegetation.
VISION AND MISSION
Supported by national and international support, ERuDeF is behind the creation of a system of protected areas to preserve not only the remaining threatened biological populations of the region (Cross River gorillas and chimpanzees from Nigeria- Cameroon), but also the entirety of the fragile ecosystems of the south-west and north-west regions of Cameroon.
AREA OF INTERVENTION
Improvement of the living conditions of local populations
Support for development projects of economic sectors, such as the beekeeping or livestock sector, by ERUDEF, aims to improve the living conditions of these populations. The socio-economic development of the region aims to limit the unsustainable and destructive anthropogenic activities on the environment by the human activity and contributes to the adhesion of the local populations to the process of conservation
Community protection and conservation of flagship species and their environment
The creation of sanctuaries dedicated to the conservation of the wild fauna makes it possible to protect, in the long term, the Cross River gorillas and the chimpanzees of Nigeria-Cameroon, emblematic species of the region, and other endangered species. ERUDEF is at the origin of many projects of creation of sanctuaries, thus acquiring an expertise in the creation of protected areas: the Wildlife Sanctuary of Tofala Hill, the sanctuary of Mak-Bechou, or the development of the ecological corridor of Tofala Mone is to create forest reserves for the protection of Lebialem mountain ecosystems and endemic and endangered bird populations.
Awareness and environmental education
Getting people to manage ecosystems in a sustainable way, through environmental education and community awareness in the surrounding villages, is the goal of ERUDEF. These populations have an active role to play in conservation processes in the region.