The Republic of Cameroon, located in western Africa, is bounded on the north by Lake Chad; on the east by Chad and the Central African Republic; on the south by the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea; and on the west by the Bight of Biafra (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean) and Nigeria. It covers an area of 475 442 km2 lying between latitudes 2° and 13° N (about 1 200 km) and longitudes 8° 30´and 16° 10´ E, and for the most part between 200 and 800 m above sea-level. It can be divided into the following broad geographic regions on the basis of climatic and topographic criteria:
- The southern zone, roughly between 2°and 6° N and for the most part below an altitude of 800 m, with a four-season climate, rainfall over 1 500 mm and a maximum of two dry months. This is a region of closed evergreen or semi-deciduous rainforest, forming an unbroken blanket in the south and splitting into islands north of the fourth parallel; it corresponds to the "humid" and "low- and medium-altitude sub-humid" eco-floristic zones;
- The coastal zone, a 200-km-wide strip along the sea in which oceanic influences predominate. The single dry season is not very marked, and rainfall decreases from 4 000 mm on the sea (Douala) to 2 500 to 3 000 mm 50 km inland (Edea) and 2 000 mm along the border with the previous zone. It corresponds to the "low- and medium-altitude very humid" eco-floristic zone (42), with an evergreen forest whose vegetation differs from that of the evergreen forests further inland. The coastal and southern zones make up Letouzey's "Congo-Guinean" floristic region (16);
- The northern zone, with a two-season climate, a dry season lasting six to eight months and a Sudano-Sahelian climate (in Aubréville's scheme). It corresponds to the "very dry" eco-floristic zone (42) and is an area of Sudanian savannah with woody elements on the Adoumaoua plateau and Cameroonian basin of the Benoué River and Sudano-Sahelian thorn steppes, together making up the "Sudano-Zambezian" floristic region (16);
- Mount Cameroon (at 4 070 m the highest point in the country), the mountains and highlands in western Cameroon and on the border with Nigeria, together with the isolated mountain massifs in the north of the country, all over 800 m and ranging up to 2 740 m (Mount Bambouto). These areas differ climatically from the neighbouring lower areas and are covered by somewhat different vegetation, with high closed rainforest in the south and high savannah woodland in the north. They correspond to the "medium-altitude" and "montane" eco-floristic zones (42).
Cameroon has a tropical climate, humid in the south but dryer to the north. As indicated above, rainfall ranges from about 4 000 mm on the coast to about 400 mm in the north-east. The average temperature in the south is 25° C, while on the plateau it is 21° C and in the north it is 32° C.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.