2020, VOLUME 7 ISSUE 1Pages: 126-136
Early succession in the tropical forest in southern Cameroon, Central Africa
B. Tchiengue*, K. Neumann and W. Rüdiger
*National Herbarium of Cameroon, P.O. Box 1601 Yaoundé, Cameroon
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Every year in tropical regions, large areas of forest are converted into agricultural field crops by the means of slash and burn. After two or three year’s cultivation when the yields decline, the field is abandoned and the farmer clears another portion of forest to plant crops. Following a synchronic approach, early forest succession was studied in southern Cameroon in 70 square plots of 400m² each from former field crops aged between one and five years. In these plots, floristic inventory was done by recording all plant species while a Braun-Blanquet cover abundance index was assigned to each. Quantitative data involved the counting of all tree and shrub individuals of at least 5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH). For each plot the age, the type of vegetation cleared before the last cropping season, the vegetation around the fallow and the number of farming cycles in the same plot were considered as environmental data. The type of crops planted in his former field was also taken into consideration. Data were analyzed using PC-Ord 5.19. Five clusters were discriminated in relation with crops planted and land management. Thickets of Chromolaena odorata developed on fallows frequently reconverted into field crops whereas forest fallows were subjected to light disturbance. In Chromolaena thickets, forest recovery is slower than in forest fallows.