Spatial distribution of rattan and indigenous perspectives vis-à-vis the growth rate of economically important rattan species in Cameroon: Sustainability and policy implications
Year of Publication: 2022
Authors: B. Neba Nfornkah, Kevin Enongene, Rene Kaam, Chimi Cedric D. , Gadinga Walter F. , Nyong Princely A. , Tanougong A.
Rattan is an important Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) with huge potential to boost socio-economic development in indigenous communities of Cameroon in particular and the entire country in general. Rattan is mainly harvested from the wild, with no involvement of stakeholders in renewing the resource, leading to resource scarcity. Insufficient knowledge on rattan distribution and growth rate in Cameroon jeopardizes the sustainable management of its resource base. It was in this context that this study was initiated to (i) determine economically important rattan species and their distribution; (ii) identify their habitats and conservation status; (iii) examine harvester’s perceptions/observations on annual growth rate and age of maturity. Findings revealed that Eremospatha macrocarpa exists in all AEZs, Calamus deerratus was found in AEZ 2 & 5, Laccosperma secundiflorum, L. Robustum, was found in AEZ 3, 4, and 5 and Eremospatha wendlandiana was found only in AEZ4. They grow in diverse habitat/environments with some habitats / environments specifically suitable for some rattan species. The current conservation status of commercial rattan species identified shows Least Concern (LC), but resource scarcity is high. Most harvesters observed that rattan takes either 2–3 years (51%) or 4–5 years (35%) to attain maturity. The harvesters’ observation on the annual growth rate of economic rattan species varied in relation to the species and AEZs. However, overall 25% and 23% of the respondents observed a growth rate of 2–3 m and 3–4 m respectively. Kruskal-Wallis test shows a significant variation in harvesters’ observations in the different AEZs for all growth and maturity parameters of different rattan species (p < 0.05) except for the number of years it takes for rattan to attain maturity (p > 0.05)”. All five economically important rattan species are widely distributed in the Southern part of Cameroon. The availability of E. macrocarpa in all zones indicates its great adaptation to different climatic and ecological conditions. Increasing the rattan resource base will involve its domestication, especially in the southern part of Cameroon where all rattan species thrive. The findings of this study are important for policymakers and development planners who seek to ensure the sustainable harvesting and management of the rattan resource base in Cameroon.