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Ecological Notes on West African Vegetation III. The Upland Forests of Cameroons Mountain

P. W. Richards
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 51, No. 3 (Nov., 1963), pp. 529-554
DOI: 10.2307/2257746
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2257746
Page Count: 27
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Ecological Notes on West African Vegetation III. The Upland Forests of Cameroons Mountain
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Abstract

1. An account is given of the forest vegetation of Cameroons Mountain above 1800 m. 2. The environment is briefly described and the importance of the annual grass fires and of grazing by wild animals is emphasized. 3. The present sharp boundary of the forest is determined by fire and it is suggested that much of the present grassland area was formerly occupied by forest and scrub. The grassland was probably confined to exposed rocky sites and reached its present extent at the expense of woody plant communities mainly as a result of burning. 4. Detailed enumerations are given of the composition of two sample plots of forest at 1890 m and 2256 m respectively. A profile diagram of the latter is given. 5. The ecological status of the upland forest is discussed in the light of the previous accounts of Boughey and others. The view is put forward that Boughey's `Montane forest' is derived from his `Mist forest' by biotic influences (mainly fire) and does not represent a fundamentally distinct bioclimatic zone. 6. A comparison is made with the zonation on the East African mountains as described by Hedberg. It is concluded that the highest existing forest on Cameroons Mountain corresponds to the Montane forest of East Africa and that a large part of the grassland (excluding the Summit Grassland above about 3350 m) corresponds to the Ericaceous belt of East Africa, its original scrub vegetation having been replaced by grassland as a result of fires.

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