From the Tupi Tribals of the Amazon to the Baka Pygmies of the Congo Basin and the Adivasis of India, one fact stands out; these people lived in the forest and on forest resources for many years long before the advent of conservation & climate change and maintained a balance in the forest ecosystem. They perceive the forest as a cultural heritage left by their ancestors to be preserved for future generations. Biodiversity-dependent people have the mandate and skills necessary to keep their adjacent ecosystems in a state of dynamic equilibrium.
The Cameroon 1996 National Environment Management Plan prescribes the creation of a network of state owned and managed protected areas as the best strategy to conserve natural ecosystems and biodiversity. It also gives adjacent communities the right to use natural resources from such area sustainably and partake in their management. However, two scenarios have prevailed; there has been a decline in biodiversity on one hand, and an increase in impoverishment of biodiversity-dependent people on the other hand.
Many conservation initiatives treat human communities around protected areas as if they are not part of the ecosystem; with total disregard of their livelihoods which are tied down in the protected areas. This is the reason for which Eco Balance was created; to balance conservation with local livelihoods. We propose a local people centered, livelihood fueled conservation model that gives adjacent people the skills to initiate, drive and maintain conservation on the long term.