One of the two major aims of the ODA-funded Limbe Botanic Garden and Rainforest Genetic Conservation Project in Cameroon was to conserve surviving rainforest on Mount Cameroon. The initial approach of the project was, as this paper reported, to gazette and police the Mabeta-Moliwe Reserve. Project managers soon realised the necessity of consulting local residents, but negotiations were hampered by the lack of legislative backing and the long history of inter-village conflicts in the area. National economic decline and increased political unrest were two factors that brought negotiations to a standstill by 1994. The proposed next phase was to broaden the geographical and institutional remit of the project to deal with social complexities and the entire mountain ecosystem more effectively.