Located south of the town of Dschang, the site is surrounded by four rivers, the Alouno to the north, the Nkam river to the west, to the south by the Metché river and to the east by the Alouo river. The vegetation is a mixture of Sterculiaceae- and Ulmaceae-dominated semi-deciduous forest, shrubby savanna, submontane forest, periodically inundated swamp-forest and grassland. Forest species include Mitragyna ciliata, Lophira alata, Khaya ivorensis, Milicia (Chlorophora) excelsa, Mansonia altissima, Terminalia spp., Klainedoxa gabonensis, Prunus africana and a few emergent Polyscias fulva. The grasslands comprise Pennisetum, Eleusine, Andropogon spp. and Imperata cylindrica. About nine villages are found within the reserve.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Some 161 species have so far been recorded from the reserve, including the restricted-range Hirundo fuliginosa (of unknown status; Table 2). This is one of only two IBAs in Cameroon at which the Guinea–Congo Forests biome species Phyllanthus atripennis occurs. One species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome (A04) also occurs (Table 3).
Non-bird biodiversity: Large mammals have been considerably reduced by poaching and habitat destruction.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
At its creation the reserve covered an area of 7,000 ha; human encroachment has to date reduced its effective size by about 40%. There are an estimated 3,000 people in the reserve, mainly agriculturists of the Bamiléké and Mbo ethnic groups, who cultivate extensive plantations of coffee, cocoa and oil-palm. Permanent structures in the reserve include Government-owned schools. The submontane forest is heavily exploited for Prunus africana. Other species exploited for medicinal purposes include Voacanga africana, Gnetum africanum and Amaranthaceae. Since most of the savanna and swamp-forest areas of the reserve have been encroached upon, it would seem advisable to redefine the borders of the reserve, to include the much less disturbed adjacent hilly areas.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Santchou Faunal Reserve. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/01/2022.