WCS Congo

Bateke Plateaux

The Bateke Plateaux spans three countries: Gabon, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo and covers some 6 million hectares.The project focuses on the CBFP-defined priority landscape covering 35,350 km2 in the Republic of Congo and Gabon. The primary geographic focus within Congo is the Lefini Reserve west to the Bambama-Lekana region, and the area that borders the Bateke Plateau National Park (BPNP) in Gabon. 


WCS-Congo researchers are currently helping the Government of Congo to map the area's biodiversity, with the eventual goal of creating a national park in the part of the Bateke plateau landscape which lies in Congo; survey teams have traversed the proposed national park, collecting data on the presence of all large mammals, as well as indicators of human activities, and this information will be used to advise the government on the feasibility of gazetting the area as a national park.

 

Conservation Challenges

Fauna in the Bateke Plateau is highly endangered by commercial hunting (in particular large mammals) to supply urban markets both in Congo and Gabon. Mechanized agriculture severely threatens the Lefini Reserve and much of the natural flora and fauna of the Bateke Plateau in areas in Congo that are within 100 km of Brazzaville. Slash and burn agriculture in forest islands to the east and north of the Lefini Reserve has significantly reduced the surface area of these forests in recent times. This is primarily due to the fact that road transport was significantly upgraded to Brazzaville in 1996. Where there are access roads to the Bateke plateau harvesting for firewood and 'artisanal' logging threaten forest and gallery forest habitat. Typically an individual will purchase a chainsaw and other accessories and hire a team to cut valuable trees. The wood is transformed at the cut location, and then transported to the nearest road and on to Brazzaville or Kinshasa.

 

Conservation Approach

The Bateke Plateau Forest Savanna is a unique landscape for central Africa. Dominated by a giant ancient sand dune system, the land is covered by large grass and wooded savanna patches separated by fine lines of dense gallery forest, and several turquoise blue river valleys.

The Bateke Plateau offers spectacular vistas with huge sandstone outcrops, and is home to an interesting biodiversity found nowhere else in the Congo Basin. Unique variants of species such as the lion (Panthera leo) (although thought to have been extirpated in the past two decades), Grimm's duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), the side striped jackal (Canis adustus), and the Denham's bustard (Neotis denhami) are but a few of the landscape's faunal particularities. A new species of bird, the Téké cisticola (Cisticola sp. nov.) has recently been confirmed in the Gabon portion of the Plateau. The gallery forests retain a rich compliment of Congo Basin species, including typical forest dwellers such as elephant, buffalo, bushpigs, duikers, chimpanzees and several monkey species.

During 2005 biological and socio-economic surveys were conducted in the Bambama-Lekana site in Congo which demonstrated the presence of elephant, buffalo, bushpig, bushbuck, gorilla, chimpanzee, and hippo sign in the northern gallery forests and in the southern forest zone of the study area. Independent sightings of a large carnivore footprints were fou nd in the Lefini Reserve thought to be lion have led to the initiate of directed lion surveys using Camera trap to confirm the presence of the cats in the region and design a conservation intervention strategy.

 

Activities

The Plateaux Bateke National Park was officially designated on the Gabonese side in 2002, and management activities began there in earnest in 2004, including close collaboration with the Projet de Protection des Gorilles (run by the John Aspinall Foundation), which manages gorilla sanctuaries in both Gabon and ROC. Surveys were undertaken by WCS and the Congolese Ministry of Forestry Economy and Sustainable Development (MEFDD) in the Congo portion of the landscape to define the boundaries of the future national park. The proposed National Park will cover an area of around 5,300 km2.

 

Threats

Fauna in the Bateke Plateau is highly endangered by commercial hunting (in particular large mammals) to supply urban markets both in Congo and Gabon.

Mechanized agriculture severely threatens the Lefini Reserve and much of the natural flora and fauna of the Bateke Plateau in areas in Congo that are within 100 km of Brazzaville. Slash and burn agriculture in forest islands to the east and north of the Lefini Reserve has significantly reduced the surface area of these forests in recent times. This is primarily due to the fact that road transport has been significantly upgraded to Brazzaville since 1996.


Where there are access roads to the Bateke plateau harvesting for firewood and 'artisanal' logging threaten forest and gallery forest habitat. Typically an individual will purchase a chainsaw and other accessories and hire a team to cut valuable trees. The wood is transformed at the cut location, and then transported to the nearest road and on to Brazzaville or Kinshasa.

Recently, three logging concessions have been established in the Bambama and Zanaga forest, which overlap with the proposed new national park. These logging operations have increased the threats to the region's biodiversity. 

 

Accomplishments

Based on the results of survey work undertaken in 2005, proposals are being developed for the creation of the Bambama-Lekana National Park.

Once adequate progress is made in the procedure for protection of these areas,the plan will be developed with all stakeholders on the basis of land and resource use zoning plans established at the landscape level in support of the National Park and buffer zones. The plan will include internal regulations, draft cahiers de charges for private operators in the parks, buffer zone development plan, and tourism development plan.

Key Staff

Dr. Paul Telfer
Country Director, Congo (Republic of)
All Bateke Plateaux Staff >>

Latest Publications

Email from:
 
Email to:
 
Message:


The person you email to will see the details you enter in the Form field and will be given you IP address for auditing purposes

Contact

WCS Congo Program
B.P. 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
+(242) 05 522 6542

Featured Partners