The participation of local communities in the management of Cameroon's huge forest resources appears to be one of the most imponderable and enigmatic issues confronting contemporary policy-makers. This is because forest resource access and tenure policies in Cameroon have, since the colonial period, generally been hegemonic in character. This situation was further accentuated with the advent of national governments. On the eve of independence and even beyond, African governments were so concerned with political rights that they did not give much thought to any other rightscertainly not to what has become known as the right of local communities to participate in natural resource management. It was quite easy for Africans to conceive of rights solely in terms of the political rights of individuals. There was thus an alleged incompatibility between riparian community rights to participate in forest management and respect for individual rights.