Human impact on population structure and fruit production of the socio-economically important tree Lannea microcarpa in Burkina Faso
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- Haarmeyer, D.H., Schumann, K., Bernhardt-Römermann, M. et al. Agroforest Syst (2013) 87: 1363. doi:10.1007/s10457-013-9644-7
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Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are of high socio-economic value for rural people in West Africa. Main factors determining the status of the populations of socio-economically important tree species providing those NTFPs are human activities. This study assesses the impact of human population density, land use, and NTFP-harvesting (pruning and debarking) on population structure and fruit production of the socio-economically important tree Lannea microcarpa that is normally conserved by farmers on fields. We compared L. microcarpa stands of protected sites with those of their surrounding communal sites in two differently populated areas in Burkina Faso. Our results reveal an opposed land use impact on the population structure of L. microcarpa in the two areas. In the highly populated area, the species population was more stable in the protected site than in the communal site, while the opposite was observed for the less populated area. Trees of the communal sites bore more fruits than trees of the protected sites. Debarking and pruning had a negative impact on fruit production of the species. We conclude that low intensity of human impact is beneficial for the species and that indirect human impact facilitates fruit production of L. microcarpa. In contrast, in the densely populated area, human impact has reached an intensity that negatively affects the populations of L. microcarpa. While the extent of protecting L. microcarpa on fields still seems to be enough to guarantee the persistence of this important species in the less populated area, it is no longer sufficient in the densely populated area.