There is no national policy on land tenure, just a series of texts for organising land tenure and use. With regard to forests, a zoning or land use plan organises the sector in southern Cameroon.
The zoning plan is a cartographic document that defines on a map the two main categories of forest estate in Cameroon, i.e.:
- The permanent forest estate (or permanent forests), consisting of land assigned to forestry operations or protected as wildlife habitats;
- The non-permanent forest estate (or non-permanent forests), consisting of forest land that could be subject to other uses.
It should be noted that this zoning plan only covers the forested areas. Forest classification therefore assigns an area of forest to a clear purpose, and it cannot be changed thereafter unless the forest is later declassified. The classification document gives rise to a land title on the forest in question in the name of the State or a given commune (communal forest).
The current zoning plan is fairly inaccurate and has been criticised because it is based solely on old aerial and satellite photographs, which do not always take account of human settlements, agro-forestry and grazing within the forests; furthermore, it is not based on consultation or participation with stakeholders, especially local communities. Areas of human settlement have been discovered later in forest areas. This plan was prepared one year after the enactment of the 1994 law and it needs to be updated.
Legal texts on land tenure in Cameroon explicitly refer to the issue of customary interests but these references are subject to strict limitations and as a consequence they do not secure the land rights of local and indigenous populations. Based on the forest domain approach referred to above, the forest sector could support local and indigenous communities to identify all the forested area around them, and then adopt a simple zoning plan by indicating the zones for agro-forestry expansion where they can exercise their customary rights and define the basic rules for regulating each of these zones.
|a. Decree no. 95/678 of 18 December 1995 setting up an indicative framework for land use in southern forest areas
b. Decision no. 135/D/MINEF/CAB of 26 November 1999 establishing the procedures for the classification of the forests in the permanent forest areas of the Republic of Cameroon
c. Order no 74-1 of 6 July 1974 establishing the land tenure regime
d. Order no 74-2 of 6 July 1974 establishing the domanial regime
|a. Prime Minister
c. Presidency of the Republic
d. Presidency of the Republic