Workgroup Endangered Species Conservation


Field Studies in Conservation Biology: 'Biological and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation in Cameroon'

For decades the West African forests and their biodiversity have been highly pressurized due to overuse. Beside high deforestation rates, especially the unsustainable (commercial) hunting and the associated sharp declines of wildlife populations (,Bushmeat' crisis) are to be highlighted. Numerous initiatives in nature conservation and development cooperation have already dealt with this issue - but often with poor results, in view of countless local extinctions in the region. It seems that until today no concept could be found, which meets the social, cultural, economic and
ecological complexity of human-environment relations of rural forest region in its entirety and is the protection of biodiversity needs.
More recently, the region is threatened by a new development that could lead to further landscape changes: The palm oil industry explores increasingly investment potential in tropical Africa and begins to plan and establish large-scaled industrial plantations in this ecologically and socially sensitive region.
Focal regions: The South West Region of Cameroon belongs to the largest contiguous forest block of the West African biodiversity hotspot. The region around Mount Cameroon and the lowland protected areas, such as Korup, Bakossi and Banyang Mbo, is still largely dominated by intact forest landscapes. For decades, they stood in the focus of German development cooperation, which attempts to harmonize conservation and development through cooperation with various stakeholders and to prevent, as possible, large-scale deforestation by international corporations. The second focal region, which is located in the center of Cameroon, is part of the transition zone between the forest and savanna biomes. The Mbam-Djerem National Park, only founded in 2000, still harbors not only diverse but also large and intact wildlife populations.

The participants will learn about current conservation issues in and around protected areas in Southwest Cameroon and the Mbam-Djerem region. Various conservation actors will be visited to gain impressions of their work, to have talks and hold joint workshops. These actors include the local population (such as hunters and farmers of the village Ikondo kondo I), national park administrations (Korup & Mbam-Djerem), the development cooperation organization PSMNR-SWR (Program for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, South West Region Cameroon; GIZ/KfW program in collaboration with the Cameroonian Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife), international (WWF, WCS) and local NGOs (Korup Rainforest Conservation Society KRCS, Struggle to Economize Future Environment SEFE, Limbe Wildlife Center LWC), research projects (camera trapping, Ebo Forest project) and the palm oil industry (PAMOL Plantation Plc).
The second excursion focus is on the imparting of biodiversity knowledge (endemic primates, forest elephants and antelopes, birdlife, tree diversity and ethnobotany) and associated record and survey methods (including line transects, point counts, vegetation plots, distance sampling, GPS navigation) by multi-day stays in Korup as well as Mbam-Djerem National Park.
Another program point is a visit to two research institutes in Yaoundé and the exchange with their affiliated researchers and students. The HIES (Higher Institute of Environmental Sciences) is a new and innovative cooperation between Cameroonian universities, the UCLA (University of California, L.A.) and the University of Gent. Besides B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes in environmental sciences, it also provides networking opportunities and further education trainings for conservation actors. The CBI (Congo Basin Institute) is a well-established institution of the UCLA and IITA (International Institute if Tropical Agriculture), which focuses on applied conservation research and provides an excellent research environment to local scientists.

Examination procedures
Every participant will give a presentation on a self-chosen conservation topic related to the excursion contents. The group of participants will prepare a joint excursion report, analyzing data from their field trips to Korup and Mbam-Djerem, and reflecting on conservation issues in Cameroon. This report will also be provided to the cooperation partners in Cameroon.


PD Dr. Matthias Waltert
Conservation Biology/Workgroup Endangered Species Conservation
Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institut für Zoologie
Bürgerstraße 50, 37073 Göttingen

Denis Kupsch
Conservation Biology/Workgroup Endangered Species Conservation
Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institut für Zoologie
Bürgerstraße 50, 37073 Göttingen

This project will eventually be financially supported. Precondition is a good proposal by a prospective student.
Please contact Matthias Waltert (

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