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.