Reference : New data on the recent history of the littoral forests of southern Cameroon: an insig...
Scientific journals : Article
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Life sciences : Phytobiology (plant sciences, forestry, mycology...)
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/174499
New data on the recent history of the littoral forests of southern Cameroon: an insight into the role of historical human disturbances on the current forest composition
English
Biwolé, Achille [Université de Liège - ULiège > > > Doct. sc. agro. & ingé. biol.]
Morin-Rivat, Julie [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales >]
Fayolle, Adeline mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels >]
Bitondo, Dieudonné [Université de Liège - ULiège > > > Doct. sc. agro. & ingé. biol.]
Dedry, Laurent mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels >]
Daïnou, Kasso mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales >]
Hardy, Olivier J. [> >]
Doucet, Jean-Louis [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales >]
2015
Plant Ecology and Evolution
Royal Botanical Society of Belgium
148
1
19-28
Yes
International
2032-3913
2032-3921
Bruxelles
Belgium
[en] Charcoal ; Forest composition ; Human disturbances ; Long-lived light-demanding tree species ; Oil-palm endocarps ; Potsherds ; Slash-and-burn cultivation ; Southern Cameroon
[en] Background and aims – Prior to European colonisation of Central Africa, human populations were dispersed through the forests, where they practiced slash-and-burn cultivation. From the 19th century they were progressively concentrated in villages along roads, leaving large areas of forest derelict. In south-western Cameroon, and elsewhere in Central Africa, forest canopy is dominated by long-lived lightdemanding tree species, suggesting a possible role of human disturbance. The aim of this study was to bring new insights into the possible effect of historical human disturbances in terms of timing and spatial extent on the current forest composition.
Location – Wet evergreen littoral forest in south-western Cameroon.
Methods and key results – A combined vegetation sampling and archaeobotanical survey were conducted. Potsherds, oil-palm endocarps, and charcoal were found throughout the study area, suggesting generalised human occupation and anthropogenic fire. Human occupancy occurred in two periods: between 2200 and 1500 BP, and, more recently, beginning three centuries ago. High frequency of fire and the presence of Elaeis guineensis both dated recently (between 260 and 145 BP) suggest slash-and-burn shifting cultivation practices. These human-induced disturbances may coincide with the age of the current emergent lightdemanding species, the age of which can be estimated around 200 years, or with the phases of drying climate recorded in the Central African forest in the early 18th century.
Conclusions – These results support the idea that historical human disturbances are one of the major factors that shaped the current forest composition in Central Africa.
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/174499
10.5091/plecevo.2015.1011

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