ESR 20:167-179 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00492

Impact of human activities on Cross River gorilla Gorilla gorilla diehli habitats in the Mawambi Hills, southwest Cameroon

Denis Ndeloh Etiendem1,2,*, Nikki Tagg2,3, Luc Hens4, Zjef Pereboom2

1Human Ecology Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, Brussels 1090, Belgium
2Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Koningin Astridplein 26, Antwerp 2018, Belgium
3Projet Grands Singes (PGS), BP 5619 Nlongkak, Yaoundé, Cameroon
4Vlaamse instelling voor Technologish Onderzoek NV (VITO), Roderveldlaan 5, Antwerp 2600, Belgium

ABSTRACT: Most forest habitats in Cameroon support villages whose inhabitants are heavily reliant on the forests for their everyday needs. We assessed the socio-economic status and natural resource use of 3 villages bordering Mawambi Hills, an unprotected forest in southwest Cameroon, home to both the Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla Gorilla gorilla diehli and the Endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee Pan troglodytes ellioti. This forest likely hosts one of the largest sub-populations of Cross River gorillas in Cameroon and is vulnerable to human influence given that it lies in close proximity to surrounding villages and is less hilly than other Cross River gorilla habitats. We show that employment opportunities in surrounding villages are rare, and people rely on agriculture and the collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), such as eru Gnetum spp. and bush mango Irvingia spp., for food and income. We also show that areas of heavy human activity coincide spatially with great ape nest sites and raise concerns about the potential impact of human activities on great ape survival at the site. We call for (1) sustainable harvesting and marketing of NTFPs, (2) the introduction of alternative livelihood opportunities (e.g. beekeeping and on-farm production of NTFPs), (3) active wildlife law enforcement to safeguard the persistence of great apes, and (4) the introduction of a community-based forest management programme that will enable communities to secure the rights to use and manage surrounding forest resources legally.


KEY WORDS: Non-timber forest products · NTFP · Gnetum spp. · Forest management · Non-wood forest products · Irvingia spp. · Cross River gorilla · Chimpanzee


Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Etiendem DN, Tagg N, Hens L, Pereboom Z (2013) Impact of human activities on Cross River gorilla Gorilla gorilla diehli habitats in the Mawambi Hills, southwest Cameroon. Endang Species Res 20:167-179. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00492

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -