Geography, Demography, and Environmental Problems

Located in the Atlantic Ocean at the intersection of West and Central Africa, Cameroon has a wide variety of topographical features, climatic zones, and ecosystem types, as well as two large urban agglomerations. It is consequently an excellent site for our research, for its environmental NGOs face almost the full range of environmental problems found in sub-Saharan Africa.


Cameroon is located at latitude 01° 80-13° 00'N and longitude 08° 25-16° 20'E. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west, Lake Chad and the Republic of Chad to the north and northeast, respectively, the Central African Republic to the east, and the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon to the south. The country has a total surface area of 475,650 km2 , with a 450-km Atlantic coastline. Approximately 1 percent of its area is lakes, and 46 percent is forested; only 13 percent is arable, but its arable soils are generally quite fertile. Cameroon has been described as Africa in miniature because it exhibits almost all of the major ecological and climatic zones of the continent and has diverse physical features, including mountains, deserts, rain forests, savannah grasslands, and coastal areas (McKee, Lewis, and Jenkins, 1990; Neba, 1999; New World Encyclopedia, 2012), see Figure 4.1.

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