Rewilding Buea’s water catchments - 1 of 3.
This community in Buea, located in the Southwest region of Cameroon, heavily depends on water wells as their primary source of water. Persistent water scarcity has posed a significant and long-standing challenge for this region.
However, by planting a pocket forest and rewilding the three water catchments, the ecosystem has been restored - ensuring a more sustainable and reliable source of water for the community and neighboring villages.
Limbi Blessing Tata
“By rewilding the three water catchments in town, we tackle the water crisis that the town has suffered for over two decades.”
Limbi Blessing Tata
Average of Tallest 3 Trees
This pocket forest is doing well at 3 years, with notable growth again from the castor (Ricinius communis) and African cherry (Prunus africana) trees. Indeed, the local community continue to extract oils from the castor tree seeds and look forward to harvesting during the next dry season.
Local people are also pleased as water levels continue at the elevated levels seen since the planting of the forest in 2019. The area is no longer the dumping ground that it once was. It is now much better cared for as the catchment is a well-known reliable and important supply of water for the area.
In addition to water access, the forest is a valued cool space in an area where land is increasingly being built on or taken over by other human activity. Local people speak about their pleasure at the cooling effect of the forest.
Common freshwater crabs (Sudanonuate africanus), grasshoppers (Eyprepocnemis ploran) and snails (Bulinus camerunensis). Numerous unidentified agama lizards and butterflies have also been sited in the forest.
The average height of the forest is 800cm. The Mahogany trees (Entandrophragma angolensis) are on average 55cm tall and this species is thriving most in terms of number across the forest. The tallest 1200cm trees are Castor trees (Ricinius communis). Indeed, oils are already being extracted from the Castor tree seeds and used by the local community.
The canopy is covered in 70% of the forest and weeds still exist on the forest floor indicating that the sun continues to penetrate. The presence of vines (not planted) has been noted, along with thorns (defence mechanism) and adventitious roots (to increase feeding surface area) on some tree trunks; these are all positive indicators of self-reliant forest ecosystems.
Common Freshwater Crabs (Sudanonuated africanus) were identified in the forest at 10 months, along with yellow caterpillars (Lepidoptera larvae) observed at 12 months. At 24 months, freshwater crabs continue to be observed, along with other burrowing animals.