A contribution from the Mount Cameroon Project, this paper highlighted some preliminary findings regarding shifting cultivation on the mountain. Researchers had initially failed to recognise that shifting cultivation was occuring because it was so well integrated into overall use patterns of the forest. Fallow plots were not viewed as 'resting' by local people, but rather valued and managed as sources of specific forest products. Among the implications of this finding were that no part of the forest was likely to be pristine, as previously imagined, and that simple demarcation of buffer and core zones was unrealistic. A major challenge was to provide legal mechanisms for shifting cultivation in the forest area, given the classical agriculture-forestry dichotomy enshrined in Cameroonian forest policy.