Kom-Wum Forest Reserve

CMNTIPA020
Kom-Wum Forest Reserve

Country: Cameroon

Administrative region: Northwest (Region)

Central co-ordinates: 6.26000 N, 10.11000 E

Area: 117km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

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

IPA assessment rationale

Kom-Wum qualifies as a potential IPA under criterion A(i) on the basis of several globally threatened species for which it is an important site, particularly Stenandrium thomense (EN), Brachystephanus oreacanthus (VU), Jollydora glandulosa (VU) and Platycoryne megalorrhyncha (provisionally EN).

Site description

Kom-Wum Forest Reserve is a habitat of river valleys and steep, dissected hills in a relatively low altitude part of the
Bamenda Highlands of Northwest region, Cameroon. It lies on the eastern side of the N11 road running north-northwest between Bamenda and Wum, along the river Menchum which flows approximately parallel to this road before continuing northwest to the Nigerian border and then joining the Katsina ala river. Other rivers including the Mentar, Mugom and Movum all join the Menchum within the reserve. Chuo et al. (2017) also mention the Ivin, Nzele and Kimbi but these are unmarked and presumed to be alternative names.
The reserve was established in 1951 when it was part of the Southern Cameroons United Nations Trust Territory under British colonial administration. There were reforestation initiatives implemented by the National Forestry Fund but later neglected (Morgan, 2011). In 2013 the Cameroon government transferred the reserve to the councils of Fundong, Boyo Division (80%) and Wum, Menchum Division (20%) (Chuo et al., 2017). Documents specify the Fundong administered area as 8029 ha. The total area of the forest reserve mapped by the Cameroon Forest Atlas is 117 km2 (MINFOF & WRI, 2020). Seven neighbouring villages are mentioned in the agreement: Bu in Wum subdivision and Mentang, Baiso, Mughom, Mbengkas, Mbongkisu and Aboh in the Fundong subdivision (CTFC, 2013).

Botanical significance

Kom-Wum is notable as the only site in Cameroon for Brachystephanus oreacanthus (VU; Cheek, 2014). Jollydora glandulosa (VU) is known from two other sites in Cameroon, as well as the Obudu Plateau area in Nigeria, and Stenandrium thomense (EN) from three other Cameroon sites and one in Sao Tome (Cheek and Onana, 2011). Platycoryne megalorrhyncha (provisionally EN) is only otherwise known from the Bamenda/Bamboutos area (Droissart et al 2006). Cylicomorpha solmsii (NT) also has a significant population at Kom-Wum (Cheek et al., 2015). In addition to the other listed species, there are likely to be other threatened species present since there has been very little surveying effort at the site, by Western scientists at least. In particular, species from nearby locations could also potentially occur here such as Saxicolella marginalis (CR) and Dactyladenia johnstonei (CR) both of which are known from nearby locations in Cameroon and over the border in Nigeria. The site is at much lower altitude than much of the Bamenda Highlands and consequently features submontane and lowland forest that is uncommon in the area, highly threatened and seldom protected.

Habitat and geology

Letouzey (1985) considered submontane forest to occur from 800 to 1,800 m and these altitudinal boundaries were also used by Cable & Cheek (1998) for Mount Cameroon, but Cheek (2004) suggests 1,300 m as the transition from lowland to submontane forest in the Bamenda highlands. The lower lava plateau, on which the major cities of Bamenda and Bali sit, lies in the submontane zone where remaining forest is rare. Most of the Kom-Wum site is much lower than this so the natural vegetation is largely lowland forest, following the categories of Cheek (2004), but extending into the submontane zone in the east of the site. However, the tops of the hills appear on satellite imagery to be mostly lacking vegetation and CTFC (2013) describe savannah vegetation on the summit.
There is no detailed geological information about the site itself but the Bamenda Highlands are part of the volcanic Cameroon Line of highlands extending northwest from the Gulf of Guinea. Tertiary era volcanic rocks sit above more ancient Basement Complex strata. The soils are described as mainly volcanic and sandy (CTFC, 2013), strongly leached, and ferralitic in places but mainly very fertile due to the high organic content, and therefore targeted for cultivation. However, this fertility is quickly lost and soils eroded due to the steep slopes. Landslides are common in the region (Zogning et al., 2007).
At nearby Bamenda (c. 1,250 m.a.s.l.), average annual rainfall (years 1971–2020) is 2,620 mm. There is a single wet season peaking in July and August with over 400 mm monthly rainfall, and a dry season from November to February with <50 mm. Mean minimum daily temperatures range from 16.1 °C in April to 13.1 °C in December, and maxima from 26.8 °C in February to 22.1 °C in August. (World Meteorological Organization, 2020).

Conservation issues

The Bamenda Highlands is one of the most densely populated areas of Cameroon and most of the richly diverse primary forest has been lost to cultivation and pasture (Harvey et al., 2004). The population has apparently increased rapidly in and around the site in the last two decades and Bamenda, the third largest city in Cameroon with an estimated population 533,000 (United Nations, 2018) is less than 20 km away.
The Kom-Wum reserve has long been exploited as a production forest and efforts at reforestation have been limited (Morgan et al., 2011). Chuo et al. (2017) show evidence of areas within the forest cleared for cultivation of corn, bananas and coca as well as illegal logging and harvesting of other forest products including bushmeat. The southwest and north are reported to be worst effected. Forest is visibly absent on many of the peaks. At this altitude, this is likely to be anthropogenic.
It is unclear what has been the outcome from transferring the forest management to the local councils, although a management plan was reportedly drafted (CTFC, 2013). The transfer agreement specifies the forest can be used as a production forest, within certain environmental guidelines and limitations, including the requirement for forest to be maintained or restored over 3/4 of the area. Chuo et al (2017) suggest that the area is too large for effective management and protection by the local authorities.
As one of the larger patches of remaining forest in the Bamenda highlands, and with Chimpanzees and other animals present, the site has potential for tourism and education (Chuo et al., 2017). Morgan et al., (2011) classed it as an "exceptional priority site" for conservation action to protect the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee. The steep forested slopes make up part of the Mentchum watershed, buffering heavy rains, preventing soil erosion and landslides, and maintaining water quality. Landslides and soil erosion are a typical concern in the region where land is cleared for forest (Zognig et al., 2007; Ngoufo, 1992).
Cultural taboos have probably hitherto helped protect the forest, and particularly the primates, but are declining in influence (Chuo & Angwafo, 2017). Ebua et al. (2017) report that conservation is unpopular amongst local people who resent being deprived of the fertile soils, bushmeat and other forest products. Negative attitudes towards conservation were particularly associated with limited lack of formal education.
The two parts of the forest reserve are non-contiguous and some important species may have been recorded from a little outside these borders. Consideration should be given to managing a larger continuous area of remaining forest as a conservation site.

Ecosystem services

The site is an important focus for mammal conservation, supporting the Nigerian-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti, EN) as well as twelve other primates (including Preuss’s monkey, Allochrocebus preussi, EN), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis, EN), red river hogs (Potamochoerus porcus), Blue Duiker (Cephalophus monticola), Red Duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis) and Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). Birds have not been specifically surveyed at the site but Bannerman's turaco (Tauraco bannermani (EN), great blue turaco (Corythaeola cristata) and blackcasqued wattled hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus) are known to occur (Fotang et al., 2021).
The forest is used by local communities for a variety of non-timber products (Chuo & Angwafo, 2017; Kah, 2015) and a number of important timber species are harvested.

Site assessor(s)

Bruce Murphy, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Ben Pollard,

Martin Cheek, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Kenneth Tah, COMAID (formerly ANCO)

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
Brachystephanus oreacanthus Champl. A(i) True True True False False
Justicia camerunensis (Heine) I.Darbysh. A(i) True True True False False
Isoglossa dispersa I.Darbysh. & L.J.Pearce A(i) True True True False False
Turraeanthus africana (Welw. ex C.DC.) Pellegr. A(i) False False False False True
Psychotria podocarpa Petit A(i) True True True False False
Dorstenia astyanactis Aké Assi A(i) False True True False False
Platycoryne megalorrhyncha Summerh. A(i) True True True False False
Stenandrium thomense (Milne-Redh.) Vollesen A(i) True True True False False
Jollydora glandulosa G.Schellenb. A(i) True True True False False
Drypetes staudtii (Pax) Hutch. A(i) True True True False False
Impatiens etugei Cheek A(iii) True True True True False

Brachystephanus oreacanthus Champl.

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:

Justicia camerunensis (Heine) I.Darbysh.

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:

Isoglossa dispersa I.Darbysh. & L.J.Pearce

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:

Turraeanthus africana (Welw. ex C.DC.) Pellegr.

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:

Psychotria podocarpa Petit

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:

Dorstenia astyanactis Aké Assi

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

Platycoryne megalorrhyncha Summerh.

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:

Stenandrium thomense (Milne-Redh.) Vollesen

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:

Jollydora glandulosa G.Schellenb.

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:

Drypetes staudtii (Pax) Hutch.

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:

Impatiens etugei Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(iii)
≥ 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:

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest No value
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest No value
Savanna - Moist Savanna No value

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:

Savanna - Moist Savanna

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Forestry 100

Forestry

Percent coverage:
100
Importance:

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Natural system modifications - Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity Unknown Future - inferred threat
Pollution - Agricultural & forestry effluents - Soil erosion, sedimentation High Future - inferred threat
Geological events - Avalanches/landslides Medium Future - inferred threat
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture High Ongoing - trend unknown
Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Unknown Ongoing - trend unknown

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

Severity:
Unknown
Timing:
Future - inferred threat

Pollution - Agricultural & forestry effluents - Soil erosion, sedimentation

Severity:
High
Timing:
Future - inferred threat

Geological events - Avalanches/landslides

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Future - inferred threat

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

Severity:
High
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming

Severity:
Unknown
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Protected areas

Protected area name Protected area type Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Kom-Wum Forest Reserve Forest Reserve (production) protected/conservation area matches IPA 117

Kom-Wum Forest Reserve

Protected area type:
Forest Reserve (production)
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area matches IPA
Areal overlap:
117

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
Site management plan in place Only a provisional management plan from 2012 has been seen. This makes clear that the community has rights to use the reserve as a production forest; requires 3/4 of the area to be maintained or reforested; lists tree species and diameters at which cutting is permitted; requires an inventory to be carried out to determine extraction levels. No value No value

Site management plan in place

Only a provisional management plan from 2012 has been seen. This makes clear that the community has rights to use the reserve as a production forest; requires 3/4 of the area to be maintained or reforested; lists tree species and diameters at which cutting is permitted; requires an inventory to be carried out to determine extraction levels.
Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

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

Onana J.-M. & Cheek M., 2011

Red Data Book of the flowering plants of Cameroon

Letouzey, R., 1968

Étude Phytogéographique du Cameroun

Zogning, A., Ngouanet, C. & Tiafack, O., 2007

The catastrophic geomorphological processes in humid tropical Africa: A case study of the recent landslide disasters in Cameroon

Sedimentary Geology, Vol 199, page(s) 13 – 27 Available online

Ngoufo, R., 1992

The Bamboutos Mountains: Environment and Rural Land Use in West Cameroon

Mountain Research and Development, Vol 12(4), page(s) 349-356

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2018

World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision, custom data acquired via website

Available online

Cheek, M., 2014

Brachystephanus oreacanthus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T200664A2677420.

Available online

Cheek, M., 2015.

Cylicomorpha solmsii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T45439A3002906

Available online

Droissart, V., Sonké, B. & Stévart, T., 2006

Les Orchidaceae endémiques d'Afrique centrale atlantique présentes au Cameroun

Systematics and Geography of Plants, Vol 76(1) Available online

Ebua, A, Angwafo, T. & Chuo M., 2018

Status of Blue Duiker (Cephalophus monticola) and Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) in Kom - Wum Forest Reserve, North West Region, Cameroon

International Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (IJEAB), Vol 3(2), page(s) 619-636

Centre Technique de la Forêt Communale Association des Communes Forestières du Cameroun (CTFC), 2013

RESERVE FORESTIERE DE KOM-WUM: RAPPORT D’ENQUETE SOCIO-ECONOMIQUE DES VILLAGES RIVERAINS A LA RESERVE FORESTIERE

Available online

Chuo, A. & Angwafo, T., 2017

Influence of Traditional Beliefs on the Conservation of Pan troglodytes ellioti: Case Study, Kimbi-Fungom National Park and Kom- Wum Forest Reserve, NW Region, Cameroon

International Journal of Forest, Animal and Fisheries Research (IJFAF), Vol 1(3), page(s) 1-14

Chuo, M., Angwafo, T., Chefor, F. & Fru, B., 2017

Estimation of Chimpanzee’s (Pan Troglodytes Ellioti) Abundance in the KimbiFungum National Park and Kom-Wum Forest Reserve, Nw, Cameroon

Journal of Biodiversity Management & Forestry, Vol 6(3), page(s) 2-20

Morgan, B.J. et al., 2011

Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti).

Available online

Cable, S. & Cheek, M., 1998

The Plants of Mount Cameroon: A Conservation Checklist.

MINFOF (Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife) & WRI (World Resources Instiute), 2020

Cameroon's Forest Estate December 2020 poster

Available online

Fotang, C., 2018

Ecology and behaviour of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee in Kom-Wum Forest Reserve and Mbi Crater Kefem Landscape in the North-West Region of Cameroon

Available online

Fotang, F., Bröring, U. , Roos, C., Enoguanbhor, E.C, Abwe, E., Dutton, P., Schierack, P., Angwafo, T.,E. & Birkhofer, K., 2021

Human Activity and Forest Degradation Threaten Populations of the Nigeria–Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in Western Cameroon

International Journal of Primatology, Vol 42, page(s) 105-129

Kah, H., 2015

“Wuai, Kesiazheh, Nyengui:” History and livelihood challenges in a Cameroon’s montane forest reserve

Economic- and Ecohistory, Vol 11(11), page(s) 93–104

Cheek, M., 2004

Vegetation

The Plants of Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve, Cameroon. A Conservation Checklist (pub. RBG, Kew)

World Meteorological Organization, 2020

World Weather Information Service: Bamenda, Cameroon

Available online

Recommended citation

Bruce Murphy, Ben Pollard, Martin Cheek, Kenneth Tah (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Kom-Wum Forest Reserve (Cameroon). https://tipas.kew.org/site/kom-wum-forest-reserve/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)