The lowland regions of Mount Cameroon have undergone much deforestation over the years. In the eighties, the government exploited timber in these regions causing mass deforestation which was followed by the uncontrolled and illegal exploitation of plant and animal species by villagers. According to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, 21,580 hectares were lost between 1987 and 2002; 22.600 hectares, between 2002 and 2010, representing an annual loss of about 2,825 hectares per year in the lowland regions of the mountain (MINFOF, 2014). Many species are threatened while some have neared extinction. The situation is worsened by emerging climate change issues and a reduction in soil fertility.
Diversity of Eco-touristic sites
Woteva village is situated on the east foot of Mount Cameroon, at an altitude ranging from 650 to more than 1300m above sea level. In 1997, the Woteva Village Traditional Council started working on creating the Woteva Community Forest (WCF). After long periods of negotiation and hard work with appropriate government and administrative authorities, the WCF was finally approved in 2011. Since then, Woteva villagers have been planting trees, conserving and encouraging the regeneration of plant and animal species in this mountainous zone.
Inside the Woteva Community Forest
Ecotourism is considered an important economic industry in Woteva Village and villagers want to develop unique ecotouristic sites and attractions. This industry is valuable because it will bring revenues into the village treasuries, employ village youths and help to preserve and effectively utilize natural resources. In 2014, the chief and other villagers embarked on a research journey to identify potential ecotouristic sites in the Woteva Community Forest.
Chief Bernard Lieti W. of Woteva Village
Many sites have been identified and documented. Local government authorities are currently working with villagers on these reports to develop a detailed map. Procedures are on the way to prepare suitable sites for the construction of camps to ease ecotourism in the area. Even though this industry currently faces insufficient funding and slow administrative procedures in its development stages, there are strong prospects that in coming years, ecotourism will join other projects being implemented in the village to accelerate sustainable development.
Craters and Lava flow – WCF
Diversity of Plant and Animal Species
MINISTRY OF FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE, THE MANAGEMENT PLAN OF THE MOUNT CAMEROON NATIONAL PARK AND ITS PERIPHERAL ZONE, 2015 – 2019, October 2014