, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 74-84
Date: 01 May 2008

Folk Classification, Perception, and Preferences of Baobab Products in West Africa: Consequences for Species Conservation and Improvement

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Abstract

Folk Classification, Perception, and Preferences of Baobab Products in West Africa: Consequences for Species Conservation and Improvement.The present study is a component of a baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) domestication research program being undertaken in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Senegal. Surveys conducted on a total of 129 women and 281 men of different ages included questions on perceptions and human/cultural meaning of morphological variation, use forms, preferences (desirable/undesirable traits), and links between traits. Local people in the four countries use 21 criteria to differentiate baobab individuals in situ. According to them, the easier the bark harvesting, the tastier the pulp and leaves; the slimier the pulp, the less tasty it is; the more closely longitudinally marked the fruit capsules, the tastier the pulp. This study shows that farmers are able to use preferred combinations of traits as a guide in collecting germplasm from trees. This can allow the selection of trees that would be candidates for propagation, and planning for a domestication program based on the indigenous knowledge.