[one_third][/one_third]As part of Environment and Rural Development Foundation ERuDeF’s 2013 vision to plant 30.000 globally threatened trees on the Mt Cameroon forest, the organization has started working to conserve one of the trees which has been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list of threatened species as Vulnerable, the Afrostyrax lepidophyllus. The seed of this tree commonly referred to as “country onions” is a rare gem of the natural evergreen forest with multiple uses. The seeds and bark of this threatened species are used as a condiment in cooking. They render a strong flavour and mouth watering aroma to traditional dishes of Cameroonian cuisine, most especially “ekwang”. The bark extract is resistant to pesticides nematodes and arthropods and insect resistant strains of lice. It is also believed that the strong scent of the species is repulsive to reptiles like snakes.
The species are currently being propagated at the organization’s project tree nursery. Wildings and seeds of the species are collected from the wild and raised at the nursery. These will be subsequently distributed to farmers in communities around the Mt Cameroon National Park who will plant them out in their farms. The aim of this initiative is also to reduce pressure on the Natural resources within the Mt Cameroon National Park. It would be recalled that Afrostyrax is one of the many species within the ERuDeF Project of conserving threatened trees within the Mt Cameroon area. The tree belongs to the family Huaceae and has the species which grows in areas of wet evergreen forest is found in the Mt Cameroon forest area.
Planting the species will help to increase the income levels of the local communities in a long run-when seeds will be harvested and sold. The presence of these trees will equally contribute to the Microclimate of the area and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere while enhancing carbon sequestration.
By Asa’a Lemawah