Growth Potential and Sustainability of Economically Important Rattan Species in Agro-Ecological Zones of Cameroon


Year of Publication: 2021

Authors:B. N. Nfornkah; K. Enongene; R. Kaam; A. D. Tanougong; C. C. Djomo; W. G. Forje; P. A. Nyong


Rattan is an important Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) that plays an important role in the livelihood
sustenance of harvesters within communities, but there is little knowledge on its growth potential and
sustainability in Cameroon. This study evaluated the growth rate of rattan, its management and harvesting
methods for the sustainable development of the rattan sector in Cameroon. Data were collected from the
different Agroecological zones (AEZs) (IRAD’s classification) in Cameroon. In addition to questionnaires
administered to 117 rattan harvesters in four AEZs (2, 3, 4 & 5) (according to literature rattan is absent in
AEZ 1), focus group discussions were carried out in each community (25 villages) visited during field
survey. Informants led investigators to visit harvesting sites, to identify rattan species, habitats and collect
specimens for identity confirmation, using relevant identification tools. GPS coordinates were collected for
economically important rattan species. ArcGIS and SPSS software were used respectively to produce rattan
distribution maps and to run logistic regression to determine the determinants of the willingness to plant
rattan and the frequency of rattan harvesting. The results showed that the north limit of rattan distribution
is the Southern part of the Adamawa plateau. Eremospatha macrocarpa was found in all of the AEZs
surveyed. This was followed by Laccosperma secundiflorum and Laccosperma in all but AEZ2. Calamus
deerratus was found in AEZs 2 and 5 and Eremospatha wendlandiana was encountered only in AEZ 4.
The current conservation status of the economically valuable species of rattan showed that they are of Least
Concern (LC) in the national and international levels according to IUCN red list, but were locally threatened
by overexploitation due to pressures from market demands, habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, bush
fires and timber exploitation. Rattan harvesters opined that small diameter rattan (Eremospatha and
Calamus) and large diameter rattan (Laccosperma) take 2-3 years to attain maturity in al AEZs. Small
diameter rattan: E. macrocarpa growth rate per year in AEZ 2 & 3 is 1-2m; in AEZ 4 it is 5-6m and in AEZ
is > 6m. E. wendlandiana in AEZ 4 grows 5-6m per year; C. deerratus in AEZs 2 grows 1-2 m per year
and in AEZ 5, it grows 3-4 m per year. Large diameter rattan: L. secundiflorum and L. robustum possess
similar annual growth rates in the different AEZs. 1-2 m per year in AEZ 3 & 4, >6 m in AEZ 5. E.
macrocarpa is suitable for expansion all study AEZs (2, 3, 4 & 5); E. wendlandiana is suitable only in AEZ
4; L. secundiflorum and L. robustum are suitable for expansion in AEZs 3, 4 & 5; and C. deerratus is
suitable in AEZs 2 & 5. Rattan management is traditional. State and customary regulatory instruments are
available, although not effective in all the different AEZs. More than 95 % of rattan was harvested from the
wild. All harvesters have the willingness to plant rattan on farms (P<0.10), with main determinants of their
willingness being household size (P<0.05) and availability of market for rattan (P<0.10). This study
provided baseline information for policymakers to formulate development policies in favour of rattan
expansion and sector development in Cameroon.