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Important Plant Areas of Cameroon

Number of IPAs:49

Cameroon is situated on the Atlantic coast of West-Central Africa

Top of waterfall

49 IPAs have been identified in Cameroon. Kew is working in collaboration with the National Herbarium of Cameroon at the Institute of Research in Agronomic Development (IRAD) and the University of Yaoundé I to identify Tropical Important Plant Areas in Cameroon. Recent fieldwork has focused on Central, South and Littoral Regions and has been combined with collecting seed of threatened tree species.


Cameroon is situated on the Atlantic coast of tropical West-Central Africa. It ranges from the lush rainforests of the active volcano, Mt Cameroon (4000 m high) on the coast, parts of it with the highest rainfall in Africa, to the arid sub-Saharan bushland of the extreme north at Lake Chad.

Extra information on IPAs of Cameroon


Cameroon is of major conservation importance, with high levels of biodiversity across multiple taxonomic groups. The current list of plant species exceeds 7,850, but more species are being published every year. This high biodiversity is probably partly due to the varying physical geography and range of habitats that Cameroon has, with the term “Africa in miniature” often applied. It contains coastal mangroves, tropical rainforests, semi-deciduous forests, savanna, sahel, montane cloud forests, alpine vegetation, large rivers, waterfalls and rapids, swamps, and crater lakes.

IPA sites

IPA sites range from large national parks such as Korup, Campo Ma’an, Dja, Bakossi and Mt Cameroon with hundreds of threatened species, to very small sites with just a few key taxa. The IPA sites identified incorporate around 80% of the Red List taxa in 49 sites covering around 5% of the land area. Notable sites with many threatened species but lacking official protection include Mokoko, Ngovayang, Ebo, Mt Elephant and Mt Kupe.

Some IPAs, such as Mt Bamboutos, Mt Elephant and several of the Yaoundé inselberg sites, are so critically threatened that they may not survive much longer, and their endemic species will become globally extinct.


The main threats are expansion of plantations, open-cast mining, hydro-electric dams, unsustainable logging, and above all smallholder agricultural expansion, which often follows other disturbance. Cameroon depends on its natural plant resources. Many of the national dishes derive from indigenous plant species, from ndolé (Vernonia amygdalina) to eru (Gnetum africanum) and egusi (Cucurmeropsis mannii), while fibres and traditional medicines are culturally important and timber from the forests and oil palm are major export earners.

Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) in Cameroon


Vegetation Cover in Cameroon

Map of vegetation cover

Tropical Important Plant Areas Data Explorer