Vegetation structure, carbon sequestration potential and species conservation in four agroforestry systems in Cameroon (Tropical Africa)
ABSTRACT As the rate of forest degradation continues to rise, agroforestry may serve as a way of conserving species and carbon sinks. The aim of this study was to assess agrobiodiversity and carbon sequestration potential in agrosystems in Cameroon. Three age groups of agrosystems were studied. Data were collected in 100x50 m2 quadrates. Density ranged from 53.17±0.08 to 1463±50.11; basal area from 2.07±0.00 to 988.39±16.13 m2/ha; Shannon diversity from 3.3±0.71 to 3.68±0.72; Carbon storage from 12.1±0.27 to 54.65±1.38 t C/ha for 1-10-year-old agrosystems with lowest values in neem; 34.78±0.87 to 71.34±1.6 t C/ha for 10-20-year-old stands with lowest values in cashew; 28.24±0.04 to 108.51±2.46 t C/ha for +20-year-old stands with highest values in eucalyptus; Carbon sequestration potential from 296.7±1.98 to 859.33±10.01 t CO2eq/ha. The highest carbon stocks were found in eucalyptus stands (p<0.05). Several endogenous species, especially Afzelia bipindensis (EN), Leptoderris ledermannii (EN), Mansonia altissima (EN), Entandrophragma cylindricum (VU), Nesogordonia papaverifera (VU), Quassia sanguinea (VU), Vitellaria paradoxa (VU), Afzelia africana (VU), Erythrina senegalensis (LC), Detarium microcarpum (LC), senna spectabilis (LC), were assessed. Other overexploited species, especially Carissa edulis, Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides, Adansonia digitata, Securidaca longepedonculata, were assessed as well. The studied systems are significant CO2eq sinks and refuge centre for agrobiodiversity.