Soil Erosion and Loss of Soil Fertility
Cameroon is also experiencing significant problems with land degradation and declining soil fertility. Farmers have responded to pressures of feeding a growing population by clearing new land through deforestation. Unfortunately, the cleared areas are often poorly suited to agriculture, as rain forest soils are not very fertile and hillsides erode rapidly. Farmers have also reacted to the diminished availability of new land by abandoning traditional practices of crop rotation and leaving fields fallow. There are also problems with soil erosion and falling water tables resulting from overgrazing and poor agricultural practices (Dongmo, 1984; MacLeod, 1986; Ngwa, 1995a, 1995b; Goheen, 1996; Fonjong, 2007a; Neba, 2007; Tetchiada, 2007a; Nguh, 2009).
Especially in the Far-North Region, high population pressure, poor soil management practices, tree cutting for firewood, and overgrazing, combined with climate change and recurrent droughts, are resulting in desertification. Deforestation is occurring particularly around Lake Chad, where there is a large population and shortage of fuel wood. Overexploitation of water resources is also resulting in the rapid shrinkage of the formerly large Lake Chad (Le Vine, 2004; National Capacity Self-Assessment Global Support Programme, 2006).