Sacred groves and biodiversity conservation in semi-arid area of Cameroon: Case study of Diamare plain

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Worldwide, the conservation of sacred forests has raised interest among scientific communities in the recent years. However, they have remained largely unknown in the dry land areas of Cameroon. Unfortunately, the dry land ecosystems in this part of the country are facing severe degradation due to land pressures, uncontrolled and abusive exploitation of their resources, invasive species, wild fires, population growth, etc. Sacred forests may offer a good opportunity for biodiversity conservation and other co-benefits such as carbon storage. Understanding the plant diversity and structure of these land use types can be a good step toward their sustainable management for the delivery of ecosystem services to local communities. In this perspective, a floristic survey was conducted in 04 sacred groves of the Diamare plain (Moundang ethnic group) through nested circular plot of 1257 m2. About 24 circular plots totaling 03 ha were sampled in the of the study area. All trees, shrub and lianas with average diameter at breast height (dbh) = 2.5 cm were enumerated. Preliminary results have indicated the presence of 40 plant species belonging in 19 families and 28 genera. The most rich families are Mimosaceae with 8 species, followed by Combretaceae (6 species) and Caesalpiniaceae (4 species). The analysis of species diversity indexes shows an important biodiversity and the vegetation structure showed a good regeneration of plant species.

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