Impact of land use and land cover change on plant species diversity in the Mount Bambouto Caldera of the Western Highlands of Cameroon

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/07/2018
Views (252) Download (10)

Impact of land use and land cover change on plant species diversity in the Mount Bambouto Caldera of the Western Highlands of Cameroon

Formeluh Abraham Toh, Lawrence Monah Ndam, Tsi Evaristus Angwafo, Mvondo Ze Antoine
J. Bio. Env. Sci.13( 1), 105-135, July 2018.
Certificate: JBES 2018 [Generate Certificate]


The impact of land use and land cover (LULC) change on the diversity of plant species, loss of plant resources, and environmental degradation remains a puzzle in the context of continuous development. The quest for solutions to curb negative repercussions has increased, particularly on fragile environments where the intensity of other factors may be more aggravating. This work in the Mount Bambouto Caldera aimed to evaluate the impact of land use systems on phytodiversity and propose mitigative strategies against such impacts caused by LULC changes. Characterized by five land use systems that have evolved due to strong human pressures on agro-ecosystems over past decades, this task was achieved through surveys and stratified sampling to establish plant species diversity. The modified Whittaker technique was used comparatively in pilot studies in different strata to investigate plant species diversity. Identification and recording of plant species was followed by data analyses using Microsoft excel 2013 and SPSS version 13.0. Shannon-Wiener diversity, Pielou’s evenness, and Simpson diversity indices were used to evaluate data generated from the study plots. 415 plant species were identified with 162, 37, and 70 unique to the lowland, sub-montane and montane savannah zones respectively. Plant species diversity established according to land use management systems (LUMS) decreased with altitude and varied across LUMS with a remarkable drop in richness as the natural forest was subjected to LULC changes. This study has established, for the first time, a phytodiversity inventory of the Mount Bambouto Caldera as affected by LULC and provides the basis for management options to curb devastations and enhance conservation efforts.


Abdi AA. 2013. Diversity and Distribution of the Afroalpine Flora of Eastern Africa with Special Reference to the Taxonomy of the Genus Pentaschistis (Poaceae). Ph.D. Thesis, Kenyatta University, 239p.

Austrheim G. 2002. Plant diversity patterns in semi-natural grasslands along an elevation gradient in Southern Norway. Journal of Plant Ecology 161,193-205.

Ayonghe SN, Ntasin EB. 2008. The geological control and triggering mechanism of landslides of the 20th July 2003 within the Bambouto Caldera, Cameroon. Journal of the Cameroon Academy of Sciences 7, 191–203.

Balgah SN. 2013. Land Tenure and Land Use Dynamics in Limbe City, South West Region of Cameroon.  Agriculture Science Developments 2(3), 14-24.

Beentje HJ. 1996.  Centres of Plant Diversities in Africa, the Biodiversity of African Plants, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.

Cadotte MW, Carscadden K, Mirotchnick N. 2011. Beyond species: functional diversity and the maintenance of ecological processes and services. Journal of Applied Ecology, Blackwell Publishing Ltd 48, 1079–1087.

FAO. 2014.  Adapting to climate change through land and water management in Eastern Africa. Results of pilot projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Rome. 180 p.

Focho DA, Ndam WT, Fonge BA. 2009. “Medicinal plants of Aguambu-Bamumbu in the Lebialem highlands, Southwest Province of Cameroon”. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 3(1), 1-13.

Fonge BA, Egbe EA, Fongod AGN, Focho DA, Tchetcha DJ, Nkembi L, Tacham WN. 2012. Ethnobotany survey and uses of plants in the Lewoh-Lebang communities in the Lebialem highlands, South West Region, Cameroon. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 6(5), 855-865.

Fonge BA, Tchetcha DJ, Nkembi L. 2013. Diversity, Distribution, and Abundance of Plants in Lewoh-Lebang in the Lebialem Highlands of Southwestern Cameroon. Internal Journal of Biodiversity 2013, 13p.

Gullison RE, Frumhoff PC, Canadell JG, Field CB, Nepstad DC, Hayhoe K. 2007.Tropical Forests and Climate Policy. Science Journal 316, 985-986. PMID: 17495140.

Harvey Y, Tchieuque B, Cheek M. 2010. “The plants of Lebialem highland, Cameroon,” A conservation checklist. Royal botanic Garden, Kew, UK, 7-31 p.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2013. Report of September 2013. or Retrieved on 17 April, 2015.

Isbell F. 2012. Causes and consequences of biodiversity decline. Journal of Natural Education. Knowledge 3, 54.

Kent M, Coker P. 1992. Vegetation Description and Analysis. Belhaven Press, London, UK.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment MEA. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity Synthesis of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.

Naeem S, Bunker DE, Hector A, Loreau M, Andperrings C (Eds.). 2009. Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing: An Ecological and Economic Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ndam LM,   Mih AM, Fongod AGN, Tening AS,  Temenu NA, Fujii Y. 2015. First record of Euphorbia golondrina L. C. Wheeler (Euphorbiaceae) in Cameroon. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Science 6(4), 428–434.

Ndam LM,   Mih AM, Fongod AGN,  Tening AS,  Tonjock RK,  Enang JE, Fujii Y. 2014. Phytochemical screening of the bioactive compounds in twenty (20) Cameroonian medicinal plants. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Science 3(12), 768-778.

Nkembi L, Skeen R, Ndeloh D. 2006. The Lebialem Highlands Montane Birds’ Conservation Project, Cameroon. Final Report for Rufford Foundation, UK, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

Onana JM. 2011. The Vascular plants of Cameroon. A taxonomic checklist with IUCN assessments. The IRAD-National Herbarium of Camerron, Yaounde.

Prasad PRC, Rajan KS, Dutt CBS, Roy PS. 2010. A conceptual framework to analyse the land use/land cover changes and its impact on phytodiversity: a case study of North Andaman Islands, India. Journal of biodiversity conservation. Springer 19, 3073-3087.

Rahbek C. 1995. The elevational gradient of species richness: a uniform pattern? Ecography 18,200-205

Rahbek C. 1997. The relationship among area, elevation and regional species richness in neotropical birds. American Naturalist 149, 875-902.

Raupach MR, Field CB, Buitenhuis ET, Ciais P, Canadell JG, QueCLe. 2007. Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 104, 18866-18870. PMID: 17962418.

Sanders NJ, Moss J, Wagner D. 2003.Patterns of ant species richness along elevational gradients in an arid ecosystem. Journal of Global Ecology and Biogeography 10, 77-100.

Smart SM, Thompson K, Marrs RH, Le Duc MG, Maskell LC, Firbank LG. 2006. Biotic homogenization and changes in species diversity across human-modified ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biologial Sciences Journal 273, 2659-2665.

Souza DM, Teixeira RFM, Ostermann OP. 2015. Assessing biodiversity loss due to land use with Life Cycle Assessment: are we there yet? Global Change Biology 21, 32–47.

Stohlgren TJ, Falkner MB, Schell LD. 1995. A Modified-Whittaker nested vegetation sampling method. Vegetatio 117, 113-121.

Tchoua P. 1995.The vegetation of the proposed Etinde Rainforest Reserve. Mount Cameroon and its conservation. M.Sc. Thesis. University of Edinburgh/ Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh.

Tematio P, Tsafack EI, Kengni L. 2011. Effects of tillage, fallow and burning on selected properties and fertility status of andosols in the Mount Bambouto, West Cameroon. Agricultural Science 2, 334 – 340.

Thomas DW, Cheek M. 1992. Outline Botanical Survey of the Proposed Etinde Forest Reserve in the S.W. Cameroon. Report to the Cameroon Government/RBG Kew/ODA.

Toh FA, Angwafo T, Ndam LM, Antoine MZ. 2018. The Socio-Economic Impact of Land Use and Land Cover Change on the Inhabitants of Mount Bambouto Caldera of the Western Highlands of Cameroon. Advances in Remote Sensing 7, 25 – 45

Tubiello FN, Salvatore M, Ferrara AF, House J, Federici S, Rossi S. 2015. The Contribution of Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use activities to Global Warming 1990–2012. Global Change Biology 21, 2655-2660.

Van Ruijven J, Berendse F. 2005. Diversity-productivity relationships: initial effects, long-term patterns, and underlying mechanisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.102, 695-700. PMID: 15640357.

Vazquez GJA, Givnish TJ. 1998. Altitude gradients in tropical forest composition, structure, and diversity in the Sierra de Manantlan. Journal of Ecology 86, 999-1020.

Vetaas OR, Gerytnes JA. 2002. Distribution of vascular plant species richness and endemic richness along the Himalayan elevation gradient in Nepal. Global Ecology and Biogeography 11, 291-301.

Watts S, Ovalle DH, Herrera MM, Ollerton J.2012. Pollinator effectiveness of native and non-native flower visitors to an apparently generalist Andean shrub, Duranta mandonii (Verbenaceae). Plant Species Biology 27, 147-158.

Zangmo TG, Nkouathio DG, Kagou DA, Wandji P, Gountie DM, Tchoua FM. 2011. Mount Bambouto Caldera (Cameroon Volcanic Line): Formation, Structure and Environmental Impact. Yes Bulletin 1, 14-20.