Expanding the Ebony Project in Cameroon

Expanding the Ebony Project in Cameroon

Expanding the Ebony Project to include other Red List Hardwood Species

Partner: The Regents of the University of California (UCLA), Congo Basin Institute (CBI)
Years: 2023-2026

The Ebony Project has proven to be an innovative approach to working with communities to replant ebony trees. This continuation grant continues this work in a promising community in eastern Cameroon and expands to include two additional threatened tree species: Baillonella toxisperma (moabi) and Autranella congolensis (mukulungu).

The Ebony Project, a collaboration between CBI and Taylor Guitars, was initiated to develop a community-based, science-based approach to rainforest restoration while improving livelihoods. Over the past seven years, the project has successfully grown ebony and native fruit trees and improved livelihoods. Already funded by Franklinia from 2020 to 2022, this continuation grant focuses on a community in eastern Cameroon near the Dja Biosphere Reserve. It expands on the first phase by supporting the introduction of the threatened Autranella congolensis (mukulungu) and Baillonella toxisperma (moabi) as species to be propagated and planted in the project area, in addition to Diospyros crassiflora (ebony). The project’s target species are commercially valuable hardwoods used for musical instruments, furniture and/or decorative wood products. Some of the species have been in demand for hundreds of years.
The project works with the community to collect seeds, propagate them and plant the seedlings. The project also organises a census to assess the local abundance of threatened species, and enables germination experiments to be carried out and phenology data to be collected to increase the available information on the target species.