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The Takamanda National Park

Date of Submission: 02/02/2018
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Arts and Culture
State, Province or Region:
South-West Region
Coordinates: Between 05º59′-06º21′ N and 09º11-09º30′E
Ref.: 6315
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Description

The Takamanda National Park (05º59′- 06º21′ N and 09º11′- 09º30′E) covers an area of about 67,599 ha and was classified by Prime Ministerial Decree N° 2008/2751/PM of 21st November 2008 from the Takamanda Native Authority Forest Reserve. It is found in Akwaya Sub Division in the SWR, along the Cameroon-Nigeria border.

The Park is comprised of a range of ecotypes. Its topography ranges from 115m to 1706m as. The climate is wet and humid, with a mean annual rainfall of above 3000mm and mean annual temperature of 27 °C. It is drained by numerous streams and rivers.

TNP is rich in biodiversity and has a high endemism. It is host to: 22 large mammal species including the critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), 75 species of reptiles and amphibians, 313 bird species most with restricted range, 67 dragonfly species, 111 butterfly species, over 54 fish species, and over 1000 plant species with about 953 species and 113 families identified so far including many species of high conservation importance.

The forest and vegetation formations of the Takamanda National Park are rich and diverse, qualities that are enhanced by the preponderance of micro habitat types with a unique representation of a sharp gradation from lowland forest to montane (highland) forest that show an associated floristic variations.

The vegetation of the Takamanda National Park can be classified (Sunderland et al, 2003a) into five main habitat types;

- Lowland forest;
- Lowland ridge forest;
- Mid-elevation forest;
- Montane forest;
- High-altitude grassland.

Takamanda National Park is one of the 2 known sites in Cameroon and Nigeria where the Critically Endangered Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla, gorilla diehli) is found. The Cross River gorilla is the most endangered of the 4 sub-species of gorilla with a total population estimated to be between 200-250 individuals.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Criterion (ix): The Takamanda National park lies between the Cross River (Manyu Division) in the Western Cameroon and the Cross River State in Eastern Nigeria with a border of about 135km. This includes various lowland ecosystems including some of the highest-stature and most species-rich tropical rain forests on Earth as well as savannah habitat and montane forest at higher altitudes. The majority of the lowland forest area within the Southern and Central part of the park lies between 100 and 400m. The terrain is rolling in the lowland areas but rises sharply to 1,500m – slightly above 1700m altitudes in the North of the Park, where slopes are extremely steep. Underlying the region is a basement complex of granite, gneisses, schist and quartzites which gives rise to steep but shallow sedimentary soils derived from underlying acid crystalline rocks of granite, gneisses, schist and quartzite.

The general direction of the drainage pattern is from North to South with two main rivers (Makone and Magbe) that drains the entire Park and even beyond (Nigeria). These main rivers take different names as they flow in and out of the Takamanda National Park. The Makone drains the Matene highlands and runs Southwards through the Park into the Munaya River further south out of the park. The Munaya (Ebe) R. is one of the early tributaries of the CrossRiver. Major streams in the park include Missinyi, Manyu, Makwali and Makili, all tributaries of Makone; Oyoshie and Mapu at Matene in the north west that flow into Magbe and Maku in the south east that flows into Ebe. The proposed Takamanda National Park World Heritage Site is built to safeguard the rich biodiversity and the climate of the region’s heartland.

Criterion (x): TNP is rich in biodiversity and has a high endemism. It is host to: 22 large mammal species including the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilladiehli) which is endemic to the TNP (Cameroon) and also in the Cross River National Park in Nigeria, 75 species of reptiles and amphibians, 313 bird species most with restricted range, 67 dragonfly species, 111 butterfly species, over 54 fishspecies, and over 1000 plant specieswithabout 953 species and 113 families identified so far including many species of high conservation importance.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The TNP has a surface area of 67,599ha and its cluster conservation zones are reasonably secure at present to maintain the park’s integrity. This area is sufficient to habour all the species of flora and fauna described above in the sense that major conflicting land uses have been resisted. This park still remains an outstanding example of intact equatorial conservation area, but there are threatening processes (Poaching, bush fire, river poisoning as fishing method, grazing, and uncontrolled Non Timber Forest Products collection) which may damage the park if adequate measures are not taken to secure the integrity of the park. In the meantime, some of these threats are being taken care of as prescribed in the Management plan of the Park.

Comparison with other similar properties

Geographically, the Takamanda National park can be compared to the Cross River National Park in Nigeria with the only difference being that the later has underdone severe degradation. Compared to the Dja Biosphere Reserve, and the Lobéké National Park (Cameroon), part of the Tri-National de la Sangha which are already UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Takamanda National Park contains a very high level of endemism with some species (the Cross River Gorilla) endemic only in this National Park in Cameroon. At the level of Africa, the statistics of biodiversity in the TNP is higher than those of other parks of the same altitude. Just 9 years after its creation, the TNP can boast of:
22 large mammal species including the critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla, gorilla diehli); 75 species of reptiles and amphibians; 313 bird species most with restricted range; 67 dragonfly species; 111 butterfly species; Over 54 fish species, and Over
1000 plant species with about 953 species and 113 families identified so far including many species of high conservation importance.