By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame
A local NGO in the Southwest region of Cameroon has taken the bull by the horn to fight increasing deforestation and the effects of climate change in the country.
According to officials of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, the tree planting scheme is geared at restoring Cameroons fast disappearing forest that has made many parts of the country vulnerable to the effects of climate change. That is why the organization and her partner Fauna Flora International (FFI) have gone on a tree planting scheme to restore the threatened animal and plant species back in West Africa’s highest peak, the Mt Cameroon, its National park and environs. To this effect, ERuDeF says it has raised some 30,000 seedlings this 2013 to plant out in the wild. This was disclosed by the project coordinator for the Mt Cameroon threatened trees, Ms Asa’a Lemawah during the planning meeting of ERuDeF which held in Buea recently. Already, the organization has raised over 9,000 seedlings at the Buea central tree nursery and 2,000 at a temporal nursery in the Mokoko area.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, Ms Asa’a explained that the initiative to double their efforts this 2013 is resulting from biodiversity loss on Mount Cameroon due to over-hunting and deforestation. She said indiscriminate logging of the species like the critically endangered Microberlinia bisulcata by illegal operators especially in the Mokoko and southern Bakundu reserves makes the conservation of the species a difficult task. “Farmers have also put down trees to grow their crops and this process of deforestation has had a heavy toll on the local population of Buea. With the disappearance of forests, many water bodies which derive their source from the Mountains are tampered with and the effect is evident with the sustained increase in water shortage within the Buea municipality and beyond” Ms Asa’a cried foul.
She explained that the tree planting would is being carried out together with some communities around the Mt Cameroon National Park.
“Nurseries are being established at the premises of the Delegation for Forestry, Buea, and subsequently in some four communities around the Park, Bova I, Bafia, Bakingili and Bomana. These threatened species would be raised with the ongoing planting in the wild. This will build the capacities of the communities on tree nursery establishment and management, instil tree planting attitudes and commitment in them” Asa’a said. She however identified some challenges such as slow adaptability of some of the species being raised at the nursery and the nursery in Buea has attained full capacity of plants and now requires expansion.