Conservation of threatened trees on Mount Cameroon

Mount Cameroon is a haven for a host of threatened species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Following the designation of the area as a National Park in 2010, the Global Trees Campaign and its local partner ERuDeF are supporting the park staff to monitor, protect and restore its threatened tree species.

An astounding 175 threatened trees are found in Cameroon. Within the country, Mount Cameroon is a particular priority for tree conservation. Fifteen Critically Endangered trees are recorded here and many of these are found nowhere else in the world.

The mountain’s peak of 4,095 m overlooks grasslands, cloud forest and lowland forest that stretch down to the Atlantic coast.  These forests have long been under pressure from agriculture, logging and hunting and in recent years, larger scale plantations have cleared vast areas that were once a stronghold for the region’s trees.

The view from Mount Cameroon

Mount Cameroon’s grasslands and lowland forests

After many years of pressure, the government of Cameroon officially designated the Mount Cameroon National Park in January 2010, covering 58,178 ha around the mountain.

The Global Trees Campaign is supporting its partner in Cameroon, ERuDeF (Environmental and Rural Development Foundation), to develop the skills of the newly formed National Park management team and surrounding communities to protect its threatened tree species.

ERuDeF are also conducting surveys in nearby Forestry Reserves to locate the last remnant populations of trees native to the area.  The project is using the Critically Endangered African Zebrawood, Microberlinia bisulcata, a tree with striking stripey timber, as a flagship for the wider protection and restoration of the region’s threatened tree species.

The field team has geo-referenced the locations of individual trees from 18 globally threatened species and these are now under patrol by National Park staff, including three Critically Endangered species: African zebrawood, Cola praeacuta and Belonophora ongensis.

Over 15,000 seedlings from six globally threatened species are growing in six newly constructed project nurseries and pilot restoration efforts in degraded areas outside of the National Park have commenced.

Did you know?

‘Dragon blood’, a resin from the Socotran Dragon tree (Draceana cinnabari), was used and traded by the Roman empire as a medicine as early as the 1st Century BC.

Read more about trees with medicinal values.