North-West Region of Cameroon

Cameroon   Cameroon is a tropical country squeezed between Central Africa (Chad, Congo, and Republic of Central Africa) and West Africa (Nigeria). It is the 4th richest African country in terms of biodiversity (Eyebe et al., 2012), and often described as miniature Africa (Molua, 2012; Tchindjang & Fodouop, 2003). This rich biodiversity is due to both Cameroon's geography, which spans over several degrees of latitude, and the Cameroon line - an extensive mountain chain which crosses the middle of the country (see map below).

 

Cameroon line

The Western regions of Cameroon hold the two highest peaks of Western Africa: Mt. Cameroon (4,095m) and Mt. Oku (3,008m). Mt. Oku is situated in the Bamenda Highlands in the North-West region of Cameroon. The Bamenda Highlands - named after the largest city of the region - are characterized by cooler temperatures compared to other regions of the country. Annual temperatures average between 13-22°C (Ndenecho, 2011).

 

The North-West region of Cameroon is one of the most densely populated regions of the country (100-250 individuals/km²). Extensive population growth during the last century, subsequent expansion of agriculture, and heavy deforestation - for economic and medicinal purposes - has largely contributed to the destruction of much of the natural habitat of the region (Ndenecho, 2009). While most of the remaining montane forests are limited to the higher mountainous altitudes, they still remain under intense pressure from deforestation.

 

Agriculture in Kedjom-Keku 

 

ENDEMISM

The Western region of Cameroon is home to several endemic species of plants, birds, reptiles and mammals. During the last Ice Age, approximately 20,000-18,000 B.C., the Sahara Desert expanded south, and the forests receded (Linder, 2008). In the Western region of Cameroon, the forests remained relatively intact, sheltering many tropical species (Linder, 2008). This former refuge, known as an ecological island, now holds many endemic species. Amongst these taxa are the Bannerman’s turaco (Tauraco bannermani) and the banded wattle-eye (Platysteira laticincta), two birds exclusively limited to the montane forests of the Bamenda Highlands. Elsewhere in the continent, such as in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, ecological islands of the last Ice Age also maintain high levels of endemism (Colyn et al., 1991).  

Bannerman's Turaco/Peter Morris©Banded wattle-eye/leesbird.com©

Bannerman's turaco (Peter Morris) and banded wattle-eye (leesbird.com)

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Colyn M., Gautier-Hion A. and Verheyen W. (1991) A Re-Appraisal of Palaeoenvironmental History in Central Africa: Evidence for a Major Fluvial Refuge un the Zaire Basin. Journal of Biogeography. 188: 403-407.

Doumbé OA. (2013) Habitat Mapping of the Babanki-Finge Forest, and Survey on the Rarest Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in the Bamenda Highlands, North-West Cameroon. Master's of Research Dissertation: University of Roehampton, London, UK.

Eyebe AJ., Simeon AE., Angu KA. and Endamana D. (2012) Integrating Biodiversity Conservation into National Development Policy: A Case Study of Cameroon. Poverty and Conservation Learning Group. 9: -18.

Linder JM. (2008) The Impact of Hunting on Primates in Korup National Park, Cameroon: Implications for Primate Conservation. PhD Thesis: The City University of New York, New York.

Molua EL. (2012) Climate Extremes, Location Vulnerability and Private Costs of Property Protection in the Southwestern Cameroon. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 17: 293-310.

Ndenecho EN. (2009) NGO Input and Stakeholder Participation in Natural Resource Management: Example of North West Cameroon. International NGO Journal. 4: 50-56.

Ndenecho EN. (2011) Local Livelihoods and Protected Area Management – Biodiversity Conservation Problems in Cameroon. Bamenda: Langaa RPCIG.

Tchindjang M. and Fodouop K. (2003) Le Cameroun: Un Pays aux Potentialités Touristiques Sous Exploitées. Boletim Goiano de Geografia. 23: 1-22.

Sabga, NWC
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