Agroforestry pp 739-752 | Cite as

Profiling Carbon Storage/Stocks of Cocoa Agroforests in the Forest Landscape of Southern Cameroon

  • Denis J. Sonwa
  • Stephan F. Weise
  • Bernard A. Nkongmeneck
  • Mathurin Tchatat
  • Marc J. J. Janssens


Despite evidence that cocoa agroforests are composed of different types of associated plants leading to varieties of structures, few studies have been done to assess the implications of these variations on carbon stocks. The current studies profile the carbon storage of cocoa agroforests in Southern Cameroon by: (1) evaluating the carbon stocks of cocoa agroforests in different ecological zones (Yaoundé, Mbalmayo, and Ebolowa), (2) evaluating the carbon stocks of cocoa agroforests under different management methods, (3) evaluating the contribution of some plant species to carbon sequestration inside cocoa agroforests, and (4) identifying the carbon stocks of some important species. Inside the cocoa agroforests of Southern Cameroon, associated plants store around 70% of the carbon. Cocoa agroforests with timber and NWFP (Non-Wood Forest Products) store more than twice what is found in systems rich with Musa and oil palm. In these systems, timber and NWFP store more than 2.5 times what is found in cocoa systems with high densities of cocoa, and such systems with timber and NWFP store more than 3.3 times the carbon of unshaded cocoa orchards.

Among the companion plants, high value timber and edible NWFP contribute, respectively, to 30% and 10% of carbon storage by plants associated with cocoa. While the top ten plant species generally store more than half of what is found in associated plants, none of the species (except Terminalia superba in the Yaoundé Region) store more than 10% of what is found in associated plants. The proximity to market or remoteness and closeness to forest impact on this percentage. Using cocoa agroforests for climate change mitigation needs to take in consideration the utility and management of associated plants. In this perspective of climate change mitigation, beside biodiversity conservation, other co-benefits mainly related to the livelihood provided by cocoa agroforests need to be taken into consideration.


Cocoa agroforest Carbon stock NWFP Timber Cacao Climate change mitigation REDD+ Forest landscape 



This research was funded by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). This research was part of the CGIAR research program on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry (FTA). Louis Zapfack and Bonaventure Sonke of the University of Yaoundé I, and Paul Mezili and Anacletus Koufani of the National Herbarium in Yaoundé helped in tree species identification.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis J. Sonwa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephan F. Weise
    • 3
  • Bernard A. Nkongmeneck
    • 4
  • Mathurin Tchatat
    • 5
  • Marc J. J. Janssens
    • 6
  1. 1.CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research)YaoundéCameroon
  2. 2.International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Humid Forest Ecoregional Center (IITA-HFC)YaoundéCameroon
  3. 3.Bioversity InternationalRomeItaly
  4. 4.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundéCameroon
  5. 5.Institut de recherche Agricole pour le Développement (IRAD)YaoundéCameroon
  6. 6.Unit of Tropical Crops, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES: Institut fu¨r Nutzpflanzenwissenschaften und Ressourcenschutz)University of BonnBonnGermany

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