Land use and land cover changes in Doume Communal Forest in eastern Cameroon: implications for conservation and sustainable management

  • Jules Christian ZekengEmail author
  • Reuben Sebego
  • Wanda N. Mphinyane
  • Morati Mpalo
  • Dileswar Nayak
  • Jean Louis Fobane
  • Jean Michel Onana
  • Forbi Preasious Funwi
  • Marguerite Marie Abada Mbolo
Original Article


Large-scale identification of land use and land cover change in a tropical forest is a challenge to landscape designers and forest ecologists. Here, Landsat images acquired during the years 2000, 2009, and 2018 were used to assess the spatial-dynamics of land use and land cover (LULC) during the last two decades (2000–2018). A classification system composed of six classes—dense forest with (high tree density and low tree density), swampy Raphia forest, swampy flooded forest and savanna were designed as LULC for this study. A maximum likelihood classification was used to classify Landsat images into thematic areas. Elsewhere, Landsat-based LULC mapping, post classification at the per-pixel scales and self-knowledge on the land cover change processes were combined to analyze LULC change, forest loss and change trajectories in Doume Communal Forest in eastern Cameroon. The results show that half of the study area changed in 2000–2009 and that the different types of LULC changes increased and involved more diverse and characteristic trajectories in 2009–2018 compared to 2000–2009. Degradation to a dense forest with low tree density and swampy Raphia forest was dominant, and the forest was mostly lost due to trajectories that involved conversion to agroforestry systems (10%), and a lesser extent due to trajectories that involved deforestation to grasslands (7%). The trajectory analyses did thus contribute to a more comprehensive analysis of LULC change and the drivers of forest loss and, therefore, is essential to improve the sustainable management and support spatial planning of the forest.


Geographic information systems Land use/land cover changes Land management Multi-temporal Landsat imagery Remote sensing Tropical rainforest Cameroon 



The lead author is grateful for the PhD exchange scholarship given by the Transdisciplinary Training for Resource Efficiency and Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (TRECCAFRICA II) project funded by the European Union. The research leading to these results has received financial funding from the British Ecological Society (EA17/1005) and The Rufford Foundation (Grant agreement N° 24,895-1), and field material funding from the IDEA WILD Foundation. We thank Dr Masha T. van der Sande for their comments and suggestions on the first manuscript of this paper. We are grateful to the Conservation and Sustainable Natural Ressources Management Network (CSNRM-Net) Association for their logistical and technical support during the entire study. The authors would like to thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Geological Survey (USGS) for providing Landsat data. We would also thank Airbus Defense and Space through the project “Observation Spatiale des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale et de l’Ouest” (OSFACO) for providing SPOT 7 images. We are also grateful to Doume municipality for their logistical support during the fieldwork. Specifically, we thank the mayoress of the Doume municipality Mrs Mpans Giselle Rose and her secretary Mrs Ayinda Yannick for their administrative diligence and for providing us with field permits. We, furthermore, express our thanks to all those involved in fieldwork and data collection as well as community members of the different village of Doume council.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40808_2019_637_MOESM1_ESM.docx (162 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 162 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jules Christian Zekeng
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Reuben Sebego
    • 2
  • Wanda N. Mphinyane
    • 2
  • Morati Mpalo
    • 2
  • Dileswar Nayak
    • 3
  • Jean Louis Fobane
    • 4
  • Jean Michel Onana
    • 1
  • Forbi Preasious Funwi
    • 1
  • Marguerite Marie Abada Mbolo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Yaounde IYaoundéCameroon
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resource Management ASPEE Colleges of Horticulture and ForestryNavsari Agricultural UniversityNavsariIndia
  4. 4.Department of Biology, Higher Teachers’ Training CollegeUniversity of Yaounde IYaoundéCameroon

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