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CAMEROON: Agriculture and infrastructure threaten 815 wildlife species

A new report from the National Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (NPBES) finds several threats to the flourishing of Cameroon’s flora and fauna. According to the report, 10% of plant species and 815 animal species are on the verge of extinction due to industrial agriculture and transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure.

Industrial agriculture and infrastructure are accelerating the decline of biodiversity in Cameroon. In a recent study conducted by the National Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (NPBES), scientists note that activities in these two sectors threaten about 10% of plant species and 815 wildlife species. Similarly, 50% of plant species in mountain and forest ecosystems and 30% in the coastal and marine zone are threatened with extinction.

Hydroelectric power generation facilities, large photovoltaic power plants, high-voltage power lines and transport infrastructures including roads and highways, as well as railroads and airports, are among the infrastructures indexed by the study. These promote the transformation of habitats and natural environments, including deforestation or logging, agricultural clearing and deforestation especially in tropical regions.

The conversion of forest areas into agricultural areas leads in turn to the drying up of rivers, marshes and wetlands, as well as soil pollution. This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in the southern region of Cameroon. From 2002 to 2020, 184,000 hectares of primary rainforest in this region were nibbled away by industrial agriculture (oil palm, rubber and other crops). This represents 64% of the national forest cover loss during the same period.

NPBES is the Cameroonian representation of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an independent intergovernmental body with 139 member governments. Established in 2012, it provides policymakers with objective scientific assessments of the state of knowledge about the planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems and the contributions they make to people, as well as tools and methods to protect and sustainably use these vital natural assets.

The NPBES report comes at a time when the 15th United Nations Conference on Biodiversity is taking place in Montreal, Canada, until December 19, 2022. The conference aims to forge a new global biodiversity framework for the next decade.

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