Dja Faunal Reserve

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Located in the south-central part of the country, east of the town of Sangmélima, this is the largest protected area in Cameroon. The terrain is generally flat and the vegetation comprises lowland evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforest and some riparian and swamp-forest, the latter dominated by Uapaca and Raphia spp. There are a number of inselbergs and small enclosed edaphic savannas, either on rocky substrate or in swamps. Average annual rainfall is c.1,600 mm.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The avifauna remains poorly documented (with about 310 species claimed, but only some 250 detailed in a preliminary report). In addition, there are historical records of a number of other species collected by G. L. Bates in lowland forest and swamps to the west of the reserve near Bitye, which should be looked for in Dja. These include some species of conservation concern or restricted range such as Bradypterus grandis and Batis minima. Ploceus batesi was also collected near Bitye in the past and seen more recently in a village near the reserve’s entrance. The possible occurrence of these and other species in the reserve requires further surveys. Dja is known to hold some of the largest breeding colonies of Picathartes oreas in the country (with at least 50 nests known, and much habitat not yet prospected). Gallinago media has also been recorded, but its local status is not documented.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among important primates are populations of Gorilla gorilla (EN), Pan troglodytes (EN), Colobus satanas (VU) and Arctocebus aureus (LR/nt). Also present are Loxodonta africana (EN).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Dja was established as Hunting Reserve in 1950, a Wildlife Reserve in 1973, a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 and a World Heritage Site in 1984. The area is naturally protected by the wide Dja river, which prevents access from the main road that passes south of the reserve, and has never been logged. There is a risk that, in time, the reserve will become isolated from other forests in the region due to logging. Poaching of mammals is a problem locally, but does not affect birdlife. Agricultural encroachment is limited to the vicinity of the road in the north, due to the low human population in the area. The European Union-funded ECOFAC project is presently involved with research and management aspects.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dja Faunal Reserve. Downloaded from on 01/06/2020.