Biodiversity hotspots and conservation priorities in the Campo-Ma'an rain forests, Cameroon

M.G.P. Tchouto, M. Yemefack, W.F. de Boer, J.J.F.E. de Wilde, L.J.G. van der Maesen, A.M. Cleef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Until recently, patterns of species richness and endemism were based on an intuitive interpretation of distribution maps with very limited numerical analyses. Such maps based solely on taxonomic collections tend to concentrate on collecting efforts more than biodiversity hotspots, since often the highest diversity is found in well-collected areas. During the last decades, there has been an overwhelming concern about the loss of tropical forest biological diversity, and an emphasis on the identification of biodiversity hotspots in an attempt to optimise conservation strategies. Furthermore, the concept of sites of high diversity, or hotspots, has attracted the attention of conservationists as a tool for conservation priority settings. With the development of GIS tools, geostatistics, phytosociological and multivariate analysis software packages, more rigorous numerical analyses of distributional and inventory data can be used for assessing conservation priorities. In the Campo-Ma¿9an rain forest, inventory data from 147 plots of 0.1 ha each and 7137 taxonomic collections were used to examine the distribution and convergence patterns of strict and narrow endemic species. We analysed the trends in endemic and rare species recorded, using quantitative conservation indices such as Genetic Heat Index (GHI) and Pioneer Index (PI), together with geostatistic techniques that help to evaluate and identify potential areas of high conservation priority. The results showed that the Campo-Ma¿9an area is characterised by a rich and diverse flora with 114 endemic plant species, of which 29 are restricted to the area, 29 also occur in southwestern Cameroon, and 56 others that are also found in other parts of Cameroon. Although most of the forest types rich in strict and narrow endemic species occur in the National Park, there are other biodiversity hotspots in the coastal zone and in areas such as Mont d¿9Eléphant and Massif des Mamelles that are located outside the National Park. Unfortunately, these areas, supporting 17 strict endemic species that are not found in the park, are under serious threat and do not have any conservation status for the moment. Taking into consideration that with the growing human population density, pressure on these hotspots will increase in the near future, it is suggested that priority be given to the conservation of these areas and that a separate management strategy be developed to ensure their protection
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1252
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Biodiversity
  • Cameroon
  • Campo-Ma'an
  • Central Africa
  • Conservation
  • Endemic species
  • Forest refuge
  • Genetic Heat Index
  • Pioneer Index
  • Plant diversity
  • Tropical rain forest


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