Mapping of the dilemma of mining against forest and conservation in the Lom and Djérem Division, Cameroon
Mining practices in Cameroon began since the colonial period. The artisanal mining sector before independence contributed to 11–20 % of GDP. From 2000, the rich potential of the Cameroonian subsoil attract many foreign investors with over 600 research and mining permits already granted during the last decade. But, Cameroonian forests also have a long history from the colonial period to the pre-sent. However, mining activities in forest environments are governed by two different legal frameworks, including mining code i.e. Law No. 001 of 16 April 2001 organizing the mining industry and Law No. 94-01 of 20 January 1994 governing forests, wildlife and fisheries. Therefore, in the absence of detailed studies of these laws, there are conflicts of interests, rights and obligations that overlap, requiring research needs and taking appropriate decisions. The objective of this research in the Lom and Djérem division is to study, apart from the proliferation of mining li-censes and actors, the dilemma as well as the impact of the extension of mining activities on the degradation of forest cover. Using geospatial tools through multi-temporal and multisensor satellite images (Landsat from 1976 to 2015, IKONOS, GEOEYE, Google Earth) coupled with field investigations; we mapped the dynamic of different forms of land use (mining permits, FMU and protected areas of permanent forest estate) and highlighted paradoxically the conflict of land use. We came to the conclusion that the rhythm of issuing mining permits and authorizations in this forestall zone is so fast that one can wonder whether we still find a patch of forest within 50 years.