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Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 313–330 | Cite as

Home gardens: an assessment of their biodiversity and potential contribution to conservation of threatened species and crop wild relatives in Benin

  • Valère Kolawolé Salako
  • Belarmain Fandohan
  • Barthélémy Kassa
  • Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo
  • Alix Franck Rodrigue Idohou
  • Rodrigue Castro Gbedomon
  • Sebastian Chakeredza
  • Mohammad Ehsan Dulloo
  • Romain Glele Kakaï
Research Article

Abstract

Despite growing literature supporting the importance of home gardens (HG) as biodiversity hotspots, knowledge of patterns of their contribution to conservation of threatened species and crop wild relatives (CWR) across climate and culture in Africa is still limited. This investigation was conducted across three climatic zones to assess the floristic diversity of home gardens and the extent to which they contribute to conservation of threatened species and CWR. Overall, 240 home gardens were sampled and their floristic diversity assessed. The ecological importance of recorded species was determined per climatic zone using the importance value index (IVI). A cluster analysis was performed to group the species according to their IVI-values and a principal component analysis helped to identify the most important species. 285 species were inventoried throughout the study area. Home garden species’ diversity globally declined from the drier to the wetter zone but was highest in the transition zone. The average number of species found per HG was 10.1 and varied weakly across zones (9.07, Guineo-Congolean zone; 10.77, Sudano-Guinean zone; and 10.53, Sudanian zone). The most important home gardens species in the Sudanian, the Sudano-Guinean and the Guineo-Congolean zones were respectively: Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench and Hibiscus asper Hook.f.; Solanum lycopersicum L. and Zea mays L.; Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. and Senna occidentalis (L.) Link. They were mainly vegetables and used as food and/or medicinal plant species. Twenty CWR and twelve threatened species were recorded and were also mainly used for food and medicinal purposes. Thorough research on socioeconomic factors supporting possession of HG and choice of managed species as well as indigenous management strategies of HG and dynamic of traditional knowledge related to HG may help to deeply assess home gardens’ effectiveness in biodiversity conservation.

Keywords

Conservation status Climatic zones Floristic inventory Importance value index West Africa 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to E.A. Assogbadjo who financially supported this study. B. Fandohan also received a post doctoral research fellow grant from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No 2012Y1ZA0009) and a research grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no 312111172) which provided him with excellent scientific environment to contribute to the manuscript. We also thank anonymous reviewers for helpful discussions and criticisms on a previous version of this manuscript. The first author also thank his fellows of the 14th Student Conference on Conservation Sciences (SCCS) for their valuable comments on his presentation about this work.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valère Kolawolé Salako
    • 1
  • Belarmain Fandohan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Barthélémy Kassa
    • 1
  • Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo
    • 1
  • Alix Franck Rodrigue Idohou
    • 1
  • Rodrigue Castro Gbedomon
    • 1
  • Sebastian Chakeredza
    • 3
  • Mohammad Ehsan Dulloo
    • 4
  • Romain Glele Kakaï
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Appliquée, Faculté des Sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  2. 2.International Ecosystem Management Partnership (IEMP), United Nations Environment Programme, c/o Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.ANAFENairobiKenya
  4. 4.Bioversity International, HeadquarterRomeItaly

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