The Plants of Mefou Proposed National Park, Yaoundé, Cameroon: A Conservation Checklist
Mefou proposed National Park in Central Region, Cameroon, consists of about 10 km² of forest about an hour's drive S of central Yaoundé. Evergreen forest along the rivers is intact. The semi-deciduous forest that was dominant has been logged, then cultivated, to a large extent, but significant patches remain. Its proximity to the capital city makes Mefou of great potential environmental educational importance for the population of Yaoundé, both schoolchildren and decision makers, and also for tourists. Mefou is the closest publicly accessible natural area to Yaoundé. The attractiveness of Mefou for the general public is greatly enhanced by the involvement of CWAF (Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund, soon to become AAA (Ape Action Africa)). This NGO, supported by Bristol Zoo, co-manages Mefou with the Ministry of Forestry. Primates, such as Gorillas and Chimpanzees, which have been confiscated from hunters or donated by private individuals, are being rehabilitated in large forest enclosures for future release to the wild.
The fieldwork for the checklist was executed with the National Herbarium of Cameroon. Major field sessions were October 2002 and April 2004. Identifications and checklist treatments are being co-ordinated at Kew. Several major groups were identified in 2004 and 2005 by Dr Onana, visiting Kew on Bentham-Moxon funds.
863 species and varieties are documented and described in the book, of which 26 are assessed as globally threatened and detailed in a Red Data chapter. 12 new species to science were found, 5 of which are only known from the proposed park.
Funding to publish the future book was secured from the Darwin Initiative as part of a project centred around completing a Red Data book for Cameroon.
Project partners and collaborators
CameroonNational Herbarium of Cameroon