Mine versus Wild: a plant conservation checklist of the rich Iron-Ore Ngovayang Massif Area (South Cameroon)
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endangered species
Important Plant Area
iron and gold exploitation
new records
submontane forest

How to Cite

Droissart, V., Lachenaud, O., Dauby, G., Dessein, S., Kamdem, G., Nguembou K., C., Simo-Droissart, M., Stévart, T., Taedoumg, H. and Sonké, B. (2019) “Mine versus Wild: a plant conservation checklist of the rich Iron-Ore Ngovayang Massif Area (South Cameroon)”, Plant Ecology and Evolution, 152(1), pp. 8-29. doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2019.1547.


Background and aims – The rapid expansion of human activities in South Cameroon, particularly mining in mountainous areas, threatens this region’s exceptional biodiversity. To comprehend the effects of land-use change on plant diversity and identify conservation priorities, we aim at providing a first comprehensive plant checklist of the Ngovayang Massif, focusing on the two richest plant families, Orchidaceae and Rubiaceae.
Location – The Ngovayang Massif Area (NMA) is located in the South Region of Cameroon. It is covered by lowland and submontane rainforest (100 to 1110 m elevation).
Methods – We compiled a dataset of 6116 georeferenced herbarium specimens, of which 2787 belong to Rubiaceae and Orchidaceae. We used rarefaction methods to explore sampling and diversity patterns, and investigated the altitudinal distribution of rare and/or threatened taxa.
Key results – The NMA, which houses about 1500 vascular plant taxa, is the richest documented area for Rubiaceae in Atlantic Central Africa (ACA) and the fifth for Orchidaceae, with respectively 281 and 111 taxa. Among these taxa, 178 (45%) are endemic to ACA and 67 (17%) are considered globally threatened according to IUCN categories and criteria. We show that higher elevation areas (> 750 m), which are also the main areas targeted for mining, are the richest in endangered and/or rare species. Three new records for Cameroon are reported here.
Conclusion – The NMA represents an Important Plant Area of Cameroon as confirmed by its exceptional plant diversity (> 20% of the total Flora of Cameroon), by the concentration of many threatened and/or restricted range species (10 taxa are strict endemics of the massif) as well as by the threat on rare habitats (i.e. the submontane vegetation above ~750 m elevation). A management plan involving in situ and ex situ conservation actions is urgently needed to reduce the potential threats of future mining activities.



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