This study on the Assessment of Urban Forest Cover Change and Species Diversity in the Buea Municipality, South West Region of Cameroon had as objective to determine the periodic cover change of urban forest in the study area. To achieve this task, satellite images of the study area were acquired and analyzed using ENVI 9.1 and ground-truthing (help of GPS) to determine the total tree cover change in different neighborhoods in the entire study area over three decades (1986 to 2017). In addition to spatial data collection on forest cover change over time, the line transect technique as described by Sunderland and Tchouto as well as Burnham and others were employed to identify the various tree species that make up the urban and the peri-urban forest ecosystem of the study area. In each of the neighborhoods (Molyko, Buea Town, Bomaka GRA, Bolifamba, Clerks Quarters, Federal quarters, Great Soppo, Likoko-Membea, Bokwaongo, and Bonduma), ten (10) transects of 1km x100m were established. These transects were established at a pre-determined compass bearing, perpendicular to the main streets that run through the neighborhoods and parallel to each other. Along each transect, within the range of 20m on both sides of the central line, a 100% search and recording of all trees cited was carried out. Findings revealed that, urban forest has reduced from 53.04Km2 to 18.26 Km2 between 1986 and 2017 (65.57%). Bokwango residential area had the highest area of tree cover (464.8 m 2) while Bomaka and Bolifamba residential areas had the lowest amount of tree cover. A total of twelve (12) tree species from eight (8) families were recorded in the study area with Khaya senegalensis and Eperua falcate being the most dominant species. On the other hand, Caliandra sp emerged as the least dominant species. Urban forestry activities in the study area were found to be concentrated along streets, compounds, school premises, offices, backyards as well as green space/agricultural fields.
Keywords: Urban forestry, neighborhoods, species, trees cover Buea-Municipality