The missing link: bridging the gap between science and conservation.
The general objectives of the Campo Ma'an Biodiversity Conservation and Management Project were to improve the management of protected areas in Cameroon, to protect and conserve its unique biodiversity and to promote socioeconomic development of the local communities based on the sustainable use of natural resources. In the first part of this thesis, the collection of baseline data, constraints of existing survey techniques and the development of a new, cheap and fast method of estimating wildlife densities in tropical rain forests are discussed. The second part describes a vulnerability assessment method to indicate which wildlife species are vulnerable to rapid decline and local extinction. When baseline data and ranking of species for conservation and management according to vulnerability is known, the development of a monitoring system logically follows. The third part discusses the importance of monitoring wildlife use, based on a practical example, a bushmeat market survey. The fourth part of this thesis illustrates an example of a negative effect of an integrated project approach: a human-wildlife conflict that originated when multiple use functions are assigned to a project area. The cascading effects of this road construction are illustrated in the last part, with a case study on the invasion of an exotic plant species (Chromolaena odorata) along the logging roads. In the synthesis, questions on the position of conservation science in current conservation practice are addressed.