Nigerian Montane Forest Project
2013 has been an eventful and productive year for the NMFP. Of note is that our new Advisory Board has started to meet and the combined wealth of experience, commitment and enthusiasm from the new members is having a real impact on the Project. View our 2013 Annual Report (PDF 1.5 MB).
- We have had a wide range of visitors to the field station, including researchers, university field trips and NGO's. We have also started some new collaborations including with the Nigerian National Parks Service and the Federal University of Kashere.
- The depth and breadth of the research continues to increase - from sunbird pollination to seed predation; the effects of land use on stream quality to what the chimpanzee prefer to eat.
- Two postgraduate students from UC have graduated this year: Paul Dutton PhD and Kristy Udy, MSc(1st Class).
- The biodiversity checklist of the reserve is growing and now available online.
- Our community involvement now also includes supporting the maternity hospital, training teachers and assisting the local bee keepers.
- Active forest regeneration experiments are continuing, with another 4726 seedlings planted in the fenced off grassland.
- Training of the field station staff has included plant photography, herb and grass identification and book-keeping.
We wish to thank all of our project funders and partners, without whom we could not continue to build capacity in biological research and conservation in this unique biodiversity hotspot.
Major Project Funders: A. G. Leventis Foundation; North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo); Gombe State University; Nexen Inc.and Nexen Nigeria; Taraba State Government.
Our book is now open access
Chapman JD & Chapman HM (2001) The Forests of Taraba and Adamawa States, Nigeria. An ecological account and plant species check list. (PDF 9MB) Published in collaboration with WWF (UK) and DIFID. (267 pages)
The aim of this book is to describe the diverse forest flora of Taraba and Adamawa States, Nigeria. Forest vegetation accounts for scarcely one percent of Taraba and even less in Adamawa, and is continuously being whittled away or actively logged. The remaining forests and forest fragments are extremely important in both a global and local context; they represent a sequence of forest types and many support vulnerable populations of faunal taxa. They occur at a range of altitudes, from lowland (c. 300 m), to montane, reaching an upper limit of c. 2300 m. They vary in size from small fragments of less than 1 hectare, to riverine strips and impressive stands of over 46 square kilometres.
This account is based on extensive field surveys undertaken by Jim Chapman (JDC) during the 1970s. Despite the delay in publishing this work, the data are, however, extremely relevant, as many of the forests, especially those at higher altitudes, and several of the low altitude forest reserves, remain relatively undisturbed.
Inevitably however, their future is precarious. One objective of this work is to bring the forest flora and fauna of this remote area of Nigeria to the attention of conservation bodies and other sympathetic parties. Without their support the survival (perhaps even short-term) of these forests is extremely unlikely.
The forests of West Africa are being lost at a faster rate than those of any other African region. The annual average loss of closed canopy moist forest in Nigeria was (1981-85) 5%, and in 1994 only 9% of the original closed canopy forest remained. More specifically, and following the classification of White (1983), Taraba and Adamawa States include examples of lowland rain forest, transitional rain forest, and transitions from lowland to montane, including an Afromontane element.
The montane and submontane forests, belonging to the Afromontane archipelago-like regional centre of endemism is arguably the most significant forest type in Nigeria, because it is relatively rare in West Africa.
The international significance of the North East Nigerian montane flora has been emphasized by Hepper (1968). He noted a high proportion of endemic species in the montane grassland, and also realized that the enrichment of this highland flora, by its proximity to the Cameroon highlands to the south, made it one of the richest natural floristic regions of West Africa.
Explore our growing biodiversity checklist
Our biodiversity checklist is a work in progress, with additional information being added regularly as researchers identify additional species. From birds to butterflies, frogs to flora, there is a huge diversity of life at Ngel Nyaki.
Discovering exciting new species - Nexen funds Montane Forest Reserve in eastern Nigeria
(28 August 2013) You might think there are no new species left to be discovered, but Nexen Energy ULC is helping to show that’s not the case. Deep in Nigeria, research scientists recently identified new species of plant and animal at the Nexen funded Nigerian Montane Forest Reserve.
“The support from Nexen from the very beginning of the project has allowed us to secure our position and grow into an internationally recognized biodiversity reserve and study centre,” says Hazel.
Collaborator visits UC on Erskine Fellowship (15 July)
Assoc. Professor Pierre-Michel Forget (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle) is visiting Biological Sciences on an Erskine Fellowship from
13 July - 19 August 2013.
Research Interest: I am now focusing on one tree genus, Carapa spp. (Meliaceae) with important ecosystemic services for both Nature and Human beings in America and Africa. I am especially trying to combine two approaches, taxonomy and ecology, in order to better understand how trees dispersed (and still are dispersing) from Africa to America, and then adapted to new habitat conditions. I am also very concerned by the sustainability and equitable use and market of non-timber forest products such as, for instance, the natural oil that is extracted from Carapa seeds in both continents.
Recent Visitors to Ngel Nyaki
University of Lagos students visited the Project during July 2013. UoL students visit each year as part of a biology field course to nearby Gashaka Gumpti National Park and our forest reserve at Ngel Nyaki.
A large group of students and staff from Gombe State University visited the field station during June to learn about the research and gain some field skills.
Industrial Training (IT) Students from Taraba State University and NMFP patrollers planting 3 different species of trees during May 2013 as part of the ongoing regeneration effort.
Plant Identification Photos Go Online (March 2013)
During November-December 2012 Matt Walters visited the Ngel Nyaki field station to photograph plants in the forest and surrounding grasslands. The first set of photos have now been uploaded to PhytoImages with the keyword Ngel Nyaki. Around 800 images are now online with identifications, making plant identifications for researchers to the Project easier. The collection continues to grow as species are identified, additional photos are also being collected by field assistant Idriss Musa.
The past year has seen further growth of the Project, we are now celebrating the 10th anniversary since the first expedition to the montane forests of Nigeria, which led to the formation of the Nigerian Montane Forest Project.
We are very happy to welcome Tasso Leventis as our Patron and the sad loss of good friend and prominent conservationist. Professor Emmanuel Obot , Executive Director of The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).
This year we have gained NGO status this year under the name Montane Forest Conservation Initiative, which will be a help to the Project.
A highlight for the UC contingent of the NMFP was meeting His Excellency, Mr Amb Ayo Olukanni, The Nigerian High Commissioner for Australia when he visited Christchurch in June. A personal highlight was my three day visit to Leinde Fadale forest with Alex Knight, part of his survey looking for chimpanzee faeces in Taraba State forests.
-Hazel Chapman, Director, Nigerian Montane Forest Project.
Read the full Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 6MB)
Collaborating with Oxford (April 2012)
The NMFP is now collaborating with William Hawthorn of Oxford University in the Rapid Botanical Survey initiative. Through this collaboration we should have all our tree species named at last ~ and species new to science~ recognised.
We will send herbarium specimens to Oxford and also as many useful digital images of plants and plant parts as possible. http://www.plants.ox.ac.uk/ plants/staff/WillHawthorne.aspx
NGO Status Approved (March 2012)
We are officially recorded as the Montane Forest Conservation Initiative Nigeria. Having NGO status will make us eligible for funding we could not access before. Thanks Kennedy (especially) for all the work you did in organising this.
The British High Commission in Nigeria through the European Union 'Low Carbon High Growth Strategic Programme Fund' has funded the construction of automated weather station for the Nigerian Montane Forest Project. Thanks also to DHL Nigeria for logistical support. Data available includes temperature, relative humidity and precipitation.
View weather station graphs and data
Why Does UC Support Nigerian Forests?
Nigerian montane forests (forests above +/-1500 m) are globally important because they represent one of the most threatened habitats in Africa. They are satellite populations of many species of plants and animals restricted to African mountains and harbour over 24 IUCN endangered tree species, are rich in wildlife, especially primates, and are an Important Bird Area.
Ngel Nyaki forest is an impressive stand of rare dry type montane to sub-montane forest and is the only forest of its type left on the heavily populated Mambilla plateau. Ngel Nyaki is home to a population of the rare and endangered Nigerian chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes subsp. villerosus and other primates including Putty-nosed, Mona and Tantalus monkeys. Birds such as turacos, the Cameroon olive pigeon, double toothed barbet and green bulbul are common. This forest is rich in biodiversity value and under threat.
Immense pressure is being put on this forest ecosystem by Nigeria’s burgeoning population. Unless immediate action is taken animal populations will be hunted to extinction and the forests replaced by subsistence farming.
The Nigerian Montane Forest Project’s mission is to promote national and international commitment to the conservation of Nigeria’s montane forests by inspiring excellence in research by postgraduate students and empowering local communities through employment and education.
We are currently creating a list of species from the local area. Currently online are butterflies, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The list will continue to grow as species are identified.
- NMFP Annual Report 2013 (PDF 1.5 MB)
- NMFP Annual Report 2012 (PDF 6.0 MB)
- NMFP Annual Report 2011 (PDF 1.0 MB)
- NMFP Annual Report 2010 (2.3MB PDF)
- NMFP Annual Report 2009 (1.5MB PDF)
- NMFP Annual Report 2008 (1.5MB PDF)
- NMFP Annual Report 2007 (750KB PDF)
- NMFP Annual Report 2006 (1.2MB PDF)
- Habitat Influence on Territorial and Mate-guarding Calls of the Yellow-breasted Boubou (Laniarius atroflavus) (1.7MB PDF)
- The effects of forest edges on dung beetle communities in a tropical montane forest (400KB PDF)
- Montane forest fragmentation and its effect on tree and diurnal frugivore composition in North East Nigeria (200KB PDF)
- The botany of Tchabal Mbabo - A contribution towards the Nigerian / Cameroon Transboundary initiative (280KB PDF)
The NMFP fieldstation is situated on the edge of Ngel Nyaki
Forest Reserve, forty minutes walk from Yelwa village.