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Mount Bamboutos

Echinops giganteus
(Access and Benefit 
Sharing process)

ERuDeF Mane


Overlapping three major regions of Cameroon, Mount Bamboutos stands at 2,740 meters. Its location gives it special importance: it is one of the country’s richest zones in terms of biodiversity and ecological services to man. Many streams and rivers originate on its sides, covered by dense rainforest. 

These formations are home to many threatened species, including the flagship Cross River gorilla, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, two bird species – the golden Touraco and the Bamenda Pirit, in addition to several other plant and animal species.

 

Major issues

 

Poor management of the Mount Bamboutos forests coupled with unregulated intensive farming in low-lying areas has had negative consequences: the natural vegetation has become severely degraded, springs located on hillsides are drying up, and soil degradation is ever worsening. All of this seriously threatens the zone’s biodiversity. 

The local communities are mostly farmers involved in subsistence farming and cattle-raising. Overall, they oppose the creation of an integral ecological reserve as planned by Cameroonian authorities since 2009. However, the village communities are aware of the importance of preserving the mountain and are much more open to actions that combine conservation and development. It is now time to act to preserve this unique site in a lasting way so that future generations can benefit from the same ecological services that are currently provided. 

 

 

The project and the prospects for change

 

The aim of the project is to preserve the Mount Bamboutos’ biodiversity and its ecological role through sustainable promotion of plants of economic interest in the zone. 

Indeed, Echinops giganteus is a plant that present a potential interest for the perfume industry. It was identified and located in the region of Caldeira in Mount  Bamboutos where it grows in the wild and is used from time to time as condiment in cooking. The production and marketing of this plant are part of an agricultural diversification integrated into biodiversity conservation. 

This effort will offer an excellent opportunity to promote in Cameroon the Access and Benefit Sharing process derived from the Nagoya Protocol. The development of this plant will serve as an incentive for the ecological restoration of Mount Bamboutos. The project will catalyse the local communities’ response to the issues of  reforestation, intensive farming and water management. 

Therefore, the project objectives are the following : 

  • Further understanding of plant resources in the zone
  • Develop a sustainable, fair and traceable supply program with interested businesses.
  • Formalize procedures on Access and Benefit Sharing among concerned partners. 

The project also aims at replicating the approach at the outskirt of Tofala Hill Sanctuary, with another plant species, Mondia whitei.

 

Committed partners

 

ERuDeF is a Cameroonian non-governmental organization that has worked in the area for several years. ERuDef’s mission is to conserve biodiversity and to protect sensitive ecosystems through research, training, education, and community involvement.

 

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To learn more about this project and its 2016 key achievements, please click on this link.

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