Dja Faunal Reserve
The Dja Faunal Reserve in the central-southern and eastern provinces of Cameroon is one of the largest, biologically richest and best preserved rain forest areas in Africa. The reserve has an area of 2030 square miles, and is almost completely encircled by the Dja River, which forms its natural boundary.
Flora and fauna
The reserve is located in a "transition zone" between the forests of southern Nigeria, south-west Cameroon and the Congo Basin, and it seems likely that the forests of the region are essentially undisturbed. It mainly comprises dense evergreen Congo rain forest with a main canopy at 30-40m, rising in places to 60m. The canopy is formed of 43 different species of tree. There are more than 1500 known plant species in the reserve.
The forest is known to have a wide range of primate species including the Western Lowland gorilla, white-collared mangabey, white-cheeked mangabey, mandrill, white colobus monkey and chimpanzee. Studies have found over 100 species of mammal, such as elephant, buffalo, leopard and warthog, and many species of reptile, including two threatened species of crocodile. There are also more than 320 bird species in the park.
A population of pygmies live within the reserve in small scattered encampments, and are free to hunt within the forest using traditional methods. There are also some villages close to the reserve, although population density in the region is low. The inhabitants of the villages fish in the Dja and tributaries on its left bank, and cultivate mainly coffee, cocoa and cucumbers.
Dja was classified as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981. UNESCO surveyed the site and found it to be an "outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial... ecosystems and communities of plants and animals," and "to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation." As a result, it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987.
- UNESCO Site entry. Accessed 14 January 2008
- Reserve du Dja (Cameroun) Designation pour le patrimoine mondial (1987)
- The Criteria For Selection UNESCO. Accessed 14 January 2008.