A Cartography of Physiographic and Anthropogenic Factors influencing Vegetation in the Bamenda Mountain Region of Cameroon

Roland Afungang


Changes in vegetation cover as a result of dynamics in man-environment relationship has been a subject of debate. Colonial activities such as
plantation agriculture seems to have affected the vegetation of Bamenda mountain region negatively but other factors point to the contrary.
The objective of this paper was to examine the physical and human factors affecting vegetation change in the study area with reference to the colonial era. Maps of several factors considered to have an influence on vegetation including relief, morphology, slope, geology, superficial formation, drainage, rainfall and land-use were drafted using old maps, aerial photos and satellite images. Information on colonial activities was taken from documentary research. It was realized that colonial activities from 1911-1960 were on a very small scale with no significant impact on the vegetation. On the contrary, widespread vegetation degradation started in the late 1980s and 1990s with the opening of large cocoa and coffee farms, infrastructural construction, urbanisation and deforestation spurred by rapid
population growth. Although anthropogenic activities were largely responsible for this change, the physical environment however determined
the spatial distribution as thick forest vegetation still exists in areas with difficult terrain.

Keywords: Colonialism, vegetation, physiography, Bamenda, Cameroon.

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