Dom Community Forest

CMNTIPA006
Dom Community Forest

Country: Cameroon

Administrative region: Northwest (Region)

Central co-ordinates: 6.35472 N, 10.59889 E

Area: 4.5km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species

IPA assessment rationale

Dom Community Forest meets the criteria for an IPA primarily through the presence of several globally threatened species with globally or nationally significant populations. In particular, Ardisia dom and Coleochlola domensis, both CR, are believed to be globally endemic to the forest. The largest population of Newtonia camerunensis (CR) also appears to be at Dom. In total, 26 globally threatened species (including 9 CR) have been recorded from the site, 23 of which qualify under IPA criterion A(i).
The site would also very likely qualify under criterion C as a threatened habitat because of it's rarity, along with Bali Ngemba, as a remaining piece of submontane Bamenda Highlands forest, since the latter have been almost comprehensively deforested within this altitudinal zone.

Site description

The proposed IPA site at Dom, Northwest Region, Cameroon, consists of three community forest patches totalling 452.7 ha. of largely intact, mainly submontane forest between approximately 1450 and 2200 m altitude. These patches are located within the remains of a larger forest in the Kejojang mountains, itself part of the Bamenda Highlands. The latter in turn are geologically part of the Cameroon Highlands, a chain of volcanic prominences stretching from the Atlantic islands of Annobin, Sao Tome, Principe, and Bioko northward to Mount Cameroon, Mount Kupe, Mount Oku and beyond. While, the Bamenda Highlands have been extensively deforested, in large part very recently (Cheek et al., 2000; Harvey et al., 2004), and the Kejojang forest has been estimated to have declined by 50% from 2247ha to 1242ha between 1988 and 2003 (Baena, 2010 in Cheek et al., 2010), further valuable forest likely remains in the Kejojang mountains, particularly to the northeast of the Dom community forests. The latter are connected and encompassed by a wider zone of less intact vegetation where efforts at reforestation of interstitial corridors has been attempted by local people with the assistance of Bamenda-based NGO Apiculture and Nature Conservation Organisation (ANCO) (Cheek et al., 2010). Some of the threatened taxa listed here are known from such areas, especially that around Kejojang rock, and the proposed IPA area therefore incorporates a wider area than the community forests strictly defined. Further extension northeast to the forest associated with the village of Mbinon, might also be warranted.
Dom is located in Noni subdivision, northwest of Kumbo. The administrative centre of Noni is at Nkor, where the Divisional Officer is based. The community of Dom consists of six settlements, Mbam, Nkale, Sanghere, Chaw, Nsusi and Kifume. The latter settlement (at c. 6°21’33”N, 10°35’34”E) is home to the Fon of Dom and was the base for the surveys which resulted in the data listed here. The three forest patches, from south to north, are Kowi, Nvui (Sagnere) and Nsusi (Sousi).

Botanical significance

Despite the complete lack of botanical surveying and specimen collecting by Western scientists at Dom prior to the surveys performed at the instigation of ANCO by the RBG Kew team between 2005 and 2006, Dom is a rare and important remnant of montane and particularly submontane forest in the now largely denuded Bamenda Highlands. The latter, historically probably one of the most species rich areas in tropical Africa, has experienced approximately 93% loss of forest above 1500m (Harvey et al., 2004). In the more immediate vicinity of Dom, the Kejodsang forest area is calculated to have been reduced by 50% in six years between 1987 and 1993 (Cheek et al., 2010).
Twenty-six IUCN globally threatened species (plus three provisionally assessed as threatened) have been recorded from Dom in the very limited surveying that has taken place over three field expeditions and subsequent work by local collaborators (the montane forest element in particular has been very inadequately surveyed). Nine of these taxa are Critically Endangered. Particularly notable are Ardisia Dom (Cheek, 2010; Cheek, 2017) and Coleochlola domensis (Musaya et al., 2010; Cheek et al., 2017) which are believed to be endemic to the site. Six other threatened species are national endemics, while many others, such as Dombeya ledermanni (VU), Oxyanthus okuensis (CR) and Psychotria moseskemei (CR) are recorded only from the Bamenda Highlands or adjacent areas in Nigeria such as the Mambilla plateau (Cheek et al., 2010). Many species found at Dom have not been seen for decades at other recorded sites which have often suffered major forest loss. For example, Antidesma pachybotryum (CR, Lovell & Cheek, 2020) has not been seen for 50 years except for its rediscovery at Dom, while Newtonia cameroonensis (CR), an important timber species, believed to be lost at its historically recorded sites, was rediscovered at Bali Ngemba and Laikom and then found to be most abundant at Dom (Cheek et al., 2010).
The only relatively well protected area in the Bamenda Highlands is Kilum Ijim and there only above 2000m (Cheek et al., 2000). Only at Bali Ngemba is there otherwise some (limited) protection for submontane forest below 2000 m (Harvey et al., 2004). However, it is notable that there are major differences in the suite of species at Dom compared to the apparently similar forest at Bali-Ngemba, likely due to species reaching their northern or southern latitudinal ranges. The Critically Endangered Antidesma pachybotrium (Euphorbiaceae) is one notable example not found at Bali Ngemba.

Habitat and geology

The forest at Dom is located above a steep escarpment that forms the boundary between a "High Lava Plateau" of former montane forest, now largely derived grassland, and a lower lava surface, now vegetated mainly with savannah and shrub (Cheek et al., 2010). The High Plateau continues to rise to the east and the site has a predominantly west facing slope. Dom is part of the Bamenda Highlands which is the largest part of the Cameroon Highlands, a series of mountains and hills following a geological fault connecting Bioko, Mount Cameroon, Mount Kupe and Mount Oku to the south and continuing north to the Mambilla plateau of Nigeria before turning eastwards. Although the Bamenda Highlands are apparently formed of Tertiary era basalts and trachytes (Courade 1974), the Dom area is thought to lie on uplifted and exposed pre-Cambrian basement rock (Courade 1974, Cheek 2010). Soils of the Bamenda Highlands are moderately fertile volcanic soils, more clayey than elsewhere, enabling more permanent streams (Tye,1986).
The site lies on the western side of the mountains and therefore experiences relatively high rainfall falling in a single rainy season between April and October. Although local data is lacking, mean annual totals from Kilum, Ijim and Bamenda to the south are around 2200–2400 mm (Forboseh et al. 2003; World Meteorological Organization, 2021). Mist is common. Mean maximum and minimum temperatures are 20–22 °C and 13–14 °C respectively with some ground frost possible in narrow valleys at night (Cheek et al., 2010).

Conservation issues

The submontane forest at Dom is predominantly found within three patches of community forest which are valued by local people and monitored also by ANCO. While community stewardship and the efforts of ANCO have been effective, some areas where forest had been cut and burnt for crops were seen by the surveying teams between 2005-6. Introduced Coffea arabica was also being grown in places as an understory crop within the forest. Spread of wildfire from the surrounding grassland and roaming of grazing cattle are potential problems, with some replanted areas suffering losses from these (Cheek et al., 2010).
While survival of the Dom forest patches looks promising due to the efforts of the local people and ANCO, the decline of the wider Kejodsam (Kejojang) forest has been rapid. Between 1987 and 1994 Mackay (1994) notes that the forest declined from c. 30 km2 to c. 5 km2 and a later Birdlife survey reported a further decline to c. 5 ha by 2000. However, since nearly 5 km2 remains at Dom, the latter estimate at least was over-pessimistic. Baena (in Cheek et al., 2010) estimates a 50% decline between 1988 and 2003, with an additional c. 8 km2 remaining outside of the Dom enclaves.
The increasing isolation of the Dom forest patches may represent an impediment to the long term survival of some species and associated wildlife. ANCO has undertaken work to improve or maintain corridors connecting the forest patches with each other and with the rest of the remaining Kejodsam forest (Cheek et al., 2010; pers. comm. K. Tah, 2020). There are also areas of non-native, invasive Eucalyptus within the Dom area which are being targeted for removal and replanting by the communities. Some important surveyed areas also lie outside of the community forests, including the area around Kejojang Rock, where several rare and threatened species were found. These areas are considered part of the potential IPA zone identified here. Conservation of additional forest area to the North would likely add considerably to the conservation value and long term resilience of the forest.
Overall, Dom stands as a positive example of the community forest model for conservation and there may be much to learn from it given the high expectations and limited success of this model elsewhere.

Ecosystem services

The importance of the Dom forest to the local communities is indicated by their decision, taken after extensive consultation, to request the forest patches be given community forest status, and also by the active participation of local people in the management of the forest through, for example, assigning forest guards, nursing and planting native trees for reforestation and supporting surveys by botanical teams (Cheek et al., 2010). Ethnobotanical data is imited but many names of plants in the forest have been recorded in the checklist of Cheek et al. (2010) along with their various uses for medicinal, food and other purposes. The forest is an important educational resource for efforts to conserve this traditional knowledge. The ANCO program has also encouraged the forest to be used for educational work targeting environmental study and sustainable agriculture. Rearing of native trees such as the critically endangered Newtonia camerunensis and the economically important and over-exploited Prunus africana helps create income for local peoples through NGO schemes to buy seedling trees and pay for planting. Sustainable bee-farming has been widely promoted and is also an important source of income.
It would appear that one of the main factors that spurred the local efforts to conserve the forest was an awareness of the impact of deforestation on local water supplies. The Divisional officer in Nkor was approached for assistance by representatives of 300 local women after land conversion in the North led to pipe silting and loss of dry season supply (Cheek et al 2010). The six settlements at Dom are all dependent on the forest watershed and it should be noted that the local Noni word for the larger forest area, "Kejojang" means “gives rain”.

Site assessor(s)

Bruce Murphy, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Kenneth Tah, COMAID (formerly ANCO)

Martin Cheek, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

IPA criterion A species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Allophylus ujori Cheek A(i) True True True False False
Allophylus bullatus Radlk. A(i), A(iii) True False True False False
Antidesma pachybotryum Pax & K.Hoffm. A(i) True True True False False
Ardisia dom Cheek A(i) True True True True False
Bulbophyllum calvum Summerh. A(i) True False True False False
Bulbostylis densa (Wall.) Hand.-Mazz. var. cameroonensis S.S.Hooper A(i) True True True False False
Chassalia laikomensis Cheek A(i), A(iii) True False True False False
Coleochloa domensis Muasya & D.A.Simpson A(i) True True True True False
Crassocephalum bauchiense (Hutch.) Milne-Redh. A(i) False False True False False
Dombeya ledermannii Engl. A(i) True True True False False
Entandrophragma angolense (Welw.) C.DC. A(i) False False False False True
Epistemma decurrens H.Huber A(i) True False True False False
Eugenia gilgii Engl. & Brehme A(i) True False True False False
Habenaria nigrescens Summerh. A(i) True True False False False
Lobelia columnaris Hook.f. A(i) False False True False False
Morella arborea (Hutch.) Cheek A(i) True False True False False
Newtonia camerunensis Villiers A(i) True True True False False
Oxyanthus okuensis Cheek & Sonké A(i) True True True False False
Panicum acrotrichum Hook.f. A(i) False False True False False
Pavetta hookeriana Hiern var. hookeriana A(i) True False True False False
Pararistolochia ceropegioides (S.Moore) Hutch. & Dalziel A(i) True False True False False
Psychotria moseskemei Cheek A(i) True True True False False
Deinbollia onanae Cheek A(i) True True True False False
Diaphananthe bueae (Schltr.) Schltr. A(i) True False False False False

Allophylus ujori Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Allophylus bullatus Radlk.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i), A(iii)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Antidesma pachybotryum Pax & K.Hoffm.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Ardisia dom Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Bulbophyllum calvum Summerh.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Bulbostylis densa (Wall.) Hand.-Mazz. var. cameroonensis S.S.Hooper

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Chassalia laikomensis Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i), A(iii)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Coleochloa domensis Muasya & D.A.Simpson

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Crassocephalum bauchiense (Hutch.) Milne-Redh.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Dombeya ledermannii Engl.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Entandrophragma angolense (Welw.) C.DC.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
True
Abundance at site:

Epistemma decurrens H.Huber

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Eugenia gilgii Engl. & Brehme

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Habenaria nigrescens Summerh.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Lobelia columnaris Hook.f.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Morella arborea (Hutch.) Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Newtonia camerunensis Villiers

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Oxyanthus okuensis Cheek & Sonké

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Panicum acrotrichum Hook.f.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Pavetta hookeriana Hiern var. hookeriana

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Pararistolochia ceropegioides (S.Moore) Hutch. & Dalziel

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Psychotria moseskemei Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Deinbollia onanae Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Diaphananthe bueae (Schltr.) Schltr.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest 65 Major
Rocky Areas - Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks] 10 Unknown
Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland 5 Minor
Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Shrubland 5 Minor
Artificial - Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest 15 Minor

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest

Percent coverage:
65
Importance:
Major

Rocky Areas - Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks]

Percent coverage:
10
Importance:
Unknown

Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland

Percent coverage:
5
Importance:
Minor

Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Shrubland

Percent coverage:
5
Importance:
Minor

Artificial - Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

Percent coverage:
15
Importance:
Minor

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Nature conservation 100 Major
Harvesting of wild resources 70

Nature conservation

Percent coverage:
100
Importance:
Major

Harvesting of wild resources

Percent coverage:
70
Importance:

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture Medium Past, not likely to return
Natural system modifications - Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity Low Past, likely to return
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases - Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Named species Low Ongoing - declining
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting Low Ongoing - declining
Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Nomadic grazing Low Ongoing - trend unknown
Human intrusions & disturbance - War, civil unrest & military exercises Unknown Ongoing - trend unknown

Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Past, not likely to return

Natural system modifications - Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Past, likely to return

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases - Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Named species

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - declining

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - declining

Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Nomadic grazing

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Human intrusions & disturbance - War, civil unrest & military exercises

Severity:
Unknown
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Protected areas

Protected area name Protected area type Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Dom Community Forest Community conservation area IPA encompasses protected/conservation area 100

Dom Community Forest

Protected area type:
Community conservation area
Relationship with IPA:
IPA encompasses protected/conservation area
Areal overlap:
100

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
Site management plan in place No value No value

Site management plan in place

Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Cheek, M., Onana, J.-M. & Pollard, B.J., 2000

The Plants of Mount Oku and the Ijim Ridge, Cameroon, A Conservation Checklist.

Harvey Y. H., Pollard B. J., Darbyshire I., Onana J.-M. & Cheek M., 2004

The plants of Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve, Cameroon: a conservation checklist

Cheek, M., Harvey, Y. & Onana, J.M., 2010

The Plants of Dom, Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon. A Conservation Checklist

Courade, G., 1974

Commentaire des cartes. Atlas régional. Ouest 1.

McKay, C.R., 1994

Survey of Important Bird Areas for Bannermans Turaco Tauraco bannermani and Banded Wattle-eye Platysteira laticincta in North-west Cameroon, 1994. Unpubl. report

Yana Njabo, K. & Languy, M., 2000

Surveys Of Selected Montane And Submontane Areas Of The Bamenda Highlands In March 2000

Tye, H., 1986

Geology And Landforms In The Highlands Of Western Cameroon: 15–17. In Stuart, S.N. (ed) (1986). Conservation Of Cameroon Montane Forests

Muasya, A.M., Harvey, Y., Cheek, M., Tah, K. & Simpson, D.A., 2010

Coleochloa domensis (Cyperaceae),a new epiphytic species from Cameroon

Kew Bulletin, Vol 65, page(s) 323-325

Cheek, M., Rokni, S. & Larridon, I., 2017

Coleochloa domensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T110080553A110080555

Available online

Cheek, M., 2017

Ardisia dom. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T110082733A110082735

Available online

Lovell, R. & Cheek, M., 2020

Antidesma pachybotryum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T110092752A110092754

Available online

Forboseh, P., Keming, E., Toh, C. & Wultof, I., 2003

Monitoring of Kilum-Ijim forest bird communities: initial findings

Bird Conservation International, Vol 13, page(s) pp 255271

World Meteorological Organization, 2020

World Weather Information Service: Bamenda, Cameroon

Available online

Recommended citation

Bruce Murphy, Kenneth Tah, Martin Cheek (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Dom Community Forest (Cameroon). https://tipas.kew.org/site/dom-community-forest/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)