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Cameroon - Country Profile

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


The following are numbered estimates of some of the biodiversity found in Cameroon: there are 9000 species of flora, 156 of which are endemic and 74 which are classified as threatened; 297 species of mammals; 849 species of bird,; 373 species of reptiles and amphibians, including 19 endemics; 451 species of fish with 35 of those classified as threatened. There are six ecosystems of particular importance in Cameroon: marine and coastal; semi-arid; tropical, humid, dense forest; montane; tropical wooded savannah and freshwater.

Major problems for each ecosystem are: loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation in marine and coastal areas; progressive reduction in vegetated cover in the tropical humid dense forest; ecosystem degradation, mostly through over harvesting of flora and fauna (wild and domestic) for the tropical wooded savannah and the semi-arid ecosystems; loss of biological resources and ecosystem degradation in montane areas; and ecosystem degradation due to loss of freshwater species.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

An analysis of both the proximate and underlying causes of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in Cameroon led to the adoption of the following strategic goals: i) Reduce and/or stop biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in the short and medium term, and reverse the current trend of ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, in the long term, through environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable biodiversity management systems; ii) Promote known values of biodiversity and its components and assess unknown values so as to raise awareness of biodiversity importance, derive incentives and enhance awareness so that all stakeholders can pledge more commitment to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and its components; iii) Develop and/or strengthen capacity for planning, implementation and monitoring of biodiversity programmes and projects at all levels of the society, particularly, at the local community level; iv) Adapt legislation to include CBD requirement. v) Promote the development of project proposals and fundraising.

Cameroon identified some key objectives, specific to the various ecosystems, which are considered key to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the country. They include such things as: reduction of man-made pollution in marine and coastal ecosystems; promote traditional knowledge of forest biodiversity and its socio-economic importance; institute measures against activities and practices likely to produce uncontrollable bush fires; to ensure sustainable harvesting of fuel wood and fauna; to ensure the promotion of appropriate agro-pastoral techniques and to increase knowledge of fresh water biological resources and their value for beneficial exploitation.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

Law N° 94-0 of January 20, 1994 was implemented to support the forest, fauna and fish systems: Art. 22(1) states; “ the permanent forests must cover a minimum of 30% of the total area of the national territory, and must represent the ecological diversity of the country.” With the creation of MINEP, other types of protected areas will be categorized (i.e. mountains, lakes, marine protected areas etc.). In each of the defined ecosystems, several programmes and projects have either been implemented or are in the process of being created. Many of these projects involve the creation of protected areas, nature and game reserves.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

The objective of the state of Cameroon is to have 30% of its national territory declared as protected area; at the moment the number stands at a little over 15%. Currently, research is being done on the large marine ecosystem. Environmental Impact Assessment guidelines have been applied, and adhered to when dealing with protected areas. An example would be the creation of the National Parks of Ma’an, Mbam and Djerem as mitigative measures for the building of the Tchad pipeline. There was the development of the FEM program that assures the formation of Eco-guards, and training in forest and wildlife is provided through appropriate courses and schooling.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Representatives from associations of traditional-practitioners participated in regional, national and international workshops organized by the Scientific Board of the Commonwealth, in Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and India, dealing with biodiversity in traditional medicinal practices. The PNVRA (Programme National de Vulgarisation et de Recherche Agricole) offers the opportunity for researchers to work in conjunction with local peoples to improve their knowledge while including, if necessary, notions on the subject of new technologies. The PNDP (Programme National de Dévélopment Participatif) involves local communities in the sustainable development processes. The creation of community forests and hunting zones, gives the local communities the power to sustainably manage the forest and fauna resources. The RICG (Renforcement des Initiatives de Gestion Communautaire) assures the communities financial and technical support in the sustainable management of their natural resources. The Pilot committees for the planning and management of protected areas reinforce the management capabilities of local populations in these areas.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme