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Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project

28 January 2014

Over 2000 seeds of threatened Afrostyrax lepidophyllus collected at Mt Etinde for propagation

Posted in Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project, Views 1663

Over 2000 seeds of threatened Afrostyrax lepidophyllus collected at Mt Etinde for propagation

In an effort to restore the population of the threatened plant Afrostyrax lepidophyllus, a team from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has collected over 2000 seeds of the plant commonly referred to as "country onion". These seeds were collected at the Mt Cameroon area precisely at the foot of the Mt Etinde, a volcano situated on the southwestern flank of the large Mt Cameroon. Seeds of this species were collected in mid- July by a team of Foresters working for the Mt Cameroon threatened Trees Project supported by UK Charity Fauna and Flora International (FFI) under the Global Tree Campaign Program. The seeds would be propagated at the ERuDeF Central Tree Nursery in Buea and in the recently created community nurseries in Bafia, Bakingili, Bomana and Bova I. They will later be distributed to the communities for planting in their farms. It is hoped that through this initiative, not only will threatened tree species population be restored, but the incomes of these communities will increase as the seeds which are used as a condiment will be harvested and sold by these communities to generate income. "Country onion" as this plant is locally called is a sought after product used in the Cameroonian and Central African cuisine. It is a condiment used to prepare many sumptuous and popular meals such as "Ekwang". The aroma gotten from this ingredient always leaves many wanting for more.

Every year during the months of July and August when the afrostyrax lepidophyllus starts fruiting, ERuDeF staff working for this project go to the foot of the mountain to collect the seeds. Not even the rains this year could stop the team as they went about collecting the seeds.

The Afrostyrax lepidophyllus was first identified at the foot hills of the Mt Etinde during a threatened tree survey in 2007 after several failed attempts. Since its identification, ERuDeF has been collecting them and propagating them in nurseries. This year, a community member Ekwalla Samuel joined the team and served as a guide into the forest. Upon identification of a tree, the team spread around the bottom of the tree searching for the little brown seeds on the forest floor. These seeds were not easily distinguished given the dark nature of the forest, however, looking keenly these little brown seeds were picked.

Afrostyrax lepidophyllus is a species of plant in the Huaceae family. It is found in Cameroon, Gabon, and Ghana. It is threatened by habitat loss. The bark extract of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus has shown pesticidal activity against nematodes and arthropods, including insecticide-resistant strains of lice and blowflies. They are found in areas of wet evergreen forest. Their major threats include forest conversion into a commercial plantation and in some cases mining activities has destroyed areas of forest. According to the IUCN Red List Classification, this plant is vulnerable.

By Asa'a Lemawah

28 January 2014

ERuDeF sets up five 5000 capacity community nurseries around Mt Cameroon

Posted in Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project, Views 1411

Community nursery at Bafia

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has supported the establishment of 5 5000 capacity community nurseries in some communities around the Mt Cameroon. Some of these communities include Bafia, Bakingili, Bomana and Bova I. "The aim of this move is to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of some globally threatened trees of the Mount Cameroon forest" says Louis Nkembi, CEO of ERuDeF. Some of these trees include the Microberlinia bisulcata, Oncoba lophorcarpa, Cordia platithystera and the Prunus african. In partnership with the Ministry of Forestry-Mt Cameroon National Park Service, ERuDeF is currently training community members on the identification of these threatened species and basic nursery practices. The initiative which was welcomed by the inhabitants is now gaining grounds. Community members now construct nursery sheds, fill polythene bags and collect seeds from the forest for the nursery. Thereafter, these communities would plant the threatened species in their farms. It is hoped that these trees would not only contribute towards minimizing the carbon in the atmosphere and fight global warming, but subsequently serve as a source of income for in terms of furniture derived from the wood.

Mount Cameroon it would be recalled is one of Africa's largest volcanoes. This Mountain locally referred to as "Efasa moto" meaning "the Chariots of the gods" is the highest peak in sub-Saharan western and central Africa, rising to 4,049 metres above the coast of West Cameroon. This Mountain stands tall in plant and animal biodiversity. It is home to plants that are not just endemic to the region but equally threatened. Unfortunately for some time, human pressure on this mountain such as indiscriminate logging and creating of farmlands has put some plants under threat. It was in line with this that the Cameroonian conservation organization, ERuDeF designed the Mt Cameroon threatened trees project with a goal to restore globally threatened trees. Supported by Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Global Tree Campaign, this project has identified some 17 species within the Mt Cameroon area which are highly endangered. Amongst these species identified, ERuDeF set up a central tree nursery at the Regional Delegation of Forestry to premises of Buea where 7 of these species are currently being raised. Creating community nurseries is therefore an effort to indulge the communities more in tree planting, given that nature can best be taken care of by those who live

28 January 2014

FFI’s David Gill visits ERuDeF

Posted in Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project, Views 1396

David Gill

The Program Officer for Conservation Partnerships of UK Charity, Fauna & Flora International is in Cameroon for a 10-day official visit to evaluate the project on the Conservation of Threatened Trees at the Mt Cameroon area. The Conservation of Threatened Trees is a project of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, supported by FFI. The project seeks to conserve some globally threatened tree species on the Mt Cameroon area. The program anticipates to plant 30.000 globally threatened tree species this year on the foot of the Mountain. Mr. David Gill would be in Cameroon to monitor projects on the ground and to plan for the next phase of the project.

Fauna & Flora international it would be recalled is a conservation innovator that continues to make a lasting impact on global biodiversity. Its mission is building a sustainable future for the planet, where biodiversity is effectively conserved by the people who live closest to it, supported by the global community. FFI equally has as mission to act to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take into account human needs. It work spans across the globe, with over 140 projects in over 40 countries, mostly in the developing world.

By Asa'a Lemawah

24 January 2014

ERuDeF enhances the conservation of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus

Posted in Mt Cameroon Threatened Trees Project, Views 1275

Picture of country onions

As part of Environment and Rural Development Foundation ERuDeF's 2013 vision to plant 30.000 globally threatened trees on the Mt Cameroon forest, the organization has started working to conserve one of the trees which has been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list of threatened species as Vulnerable, the Afrostyrax lepidophyllus. The seed of this tree commonly referred to as "country onions" is a rare gem of the natural evergreen forest with multiple uses. The seeds and bark of this threatened species are used as a condiment in cooking. They render a strong flavour and mouth watering aroma to traditional dishes of Cameroonian cuisine, most especially "ekwang". The bark extract is resistant to pesticides nematodes and arthropods and insect resistant strains of lice. It is also believed that the strong scent of the species is repulsive to reptiles like snakes.

The species are currently being propagated at the organization's project tree nursery. Wildings and seeds of the species are collected from the wild and raised at the nursery. These will be subsequently distributed to farmers in communities around the Mt Cameroon National Park who will plant them out in their farms. The aim of this initiative is also to reduce pressure on the Natural resources within the Mt Cameroon National Park. It would be recalled that Afrostyrax is one of the many species within the ERuDeF Project of conserving threatened trees within the Mt Cameroon area. The tree belongs to the family Huaceae and has the species which grows in areas of wet evergreen forest is found in the Mt Cameroon forest area.

Planting the species will help to increase the income levels of the local communities in a long run-when seeds will be harvested and sold. The presence of these trees will equally contribute to the Microclimate of the area and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere while enhancing carbon sequestration.

By Asa'a Lemawah

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