IITA Cameroon and Congo Basin Institute host donors and potential partners in conservation projects
The sustainable ebony project funded by Taylor Guitars is a joint project implemented by the Congo Basin Institute (CBI) partners: UCLA, IITA, and the Higher Institute of Environmental Science (HIES). IITA-Cameroon/CBI was proud to host several global forestry experts visiting Cameroon on 27 April as part of the World Forestry Tour for Bob Taylor (founder and president of Taylor Guitars).
The high-level delegates were Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars; Andre Bena, DG, Crelicam; Ahmadou Mboure from Crelicam; Vidal de Teresa, CEO, Madinter; Steve McMinn, CEO, Pacific Rim Tonewoods, Concrete, WA, USA; Kevin Burke of Pacific Rim Tonewoods and Paniolo Tonewoods; Nicholas Koch of Forest Solutions, Hawaii; Scott Paul, Taylor Guitars, Director of Natural Resource Sustainability; and Paul Akers, Fastcap, American Innovators.
Presentations to visitors highlighted the project’s progress on ecology, geographical modelling, tissue culture propagation, and community engagement. Visitors also stopped by the tissue culture lab and nursery to see IITA’s progress on developing the best conditions for reproducing ebony in the laboratory from tissue fragments.
The visitors proceeded to the nursery at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to see conventional propagation techniques being explored by Marc Aurel, a student from HIES. The visit also allowed the team to better understand the objectives and progress on the ebony project and to witness some of the novel techniques being developed at CBI as a result of bringing together diverse expertise from various institutions to address complex modern issues.
In a related event, Matthias Waltert, biologist and population ecologist, and his team of researchers from Gottingen University paid a courtesy visit to IITA-Cameroon/CBI last April. Their visit aimed to establish future collaboration between their research group–Conservation Biology/Workgroup, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen–and the CBI. Every year, Waltert organizes a tropical field course in Cameroon; this year the course was held at the Korup National Park with a team comprising one postdoc (Denis Kupsch) and 13 postgraduate students. They hope to organize a course in CBI’s Bouamir field station in the future.
The team also paid a courtesy call to HIES and Mbam Djerem National Park before leaving Cameroon. This potential collaboration could be included within the existing hosting agreement between IITA and Gottingen University, which is presently covering a collaborative Gottingen-IITA project on carbon emission from different land uses in Cameroon.