Human Ecology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 881–889 | Cite as

Botanical Knowledge and its Differentiation by Age, Gender and Ethnicity in Southwestern Niger

  • Augustine A. Ayantunde
  • Mirjam Briejer
  • Pierre Hiernaux
  • Henk M. J. Udo
  • Ramadjita Tabo
Article

Abstract

Indigenous knowledge is unevenly distributed. Individual knowledge level may be affected by many factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, profession, religious and cultural beliefs, abundance and usefulness of the species. This study documents indigenous knowledge of herbaceous and woody plant species of farmers and herders in southwestern Niger. Specifically, we examine the effects of age, gender, and ethnicity on knowledge of local vegetation. Results from the study showed that on average a higher proportion of woody species was identified by the respondents compared to herbaceous species. Both gender and ethnicity had a significant effect on the identification of herbaceous species but no effect on identification of woody species. Respondents in lower age group (10 to 30 years) identified lower number of species compared to other age classes. There seems to be a curvilinear relationship between age of respondents and number of plant species identified. Results from this study reaffirm the uneven distribution of indigenous knowledge within a given area due to social factors. The main challenge is how to incorporate these social differences in knowledge of native plant species into sustainable management and conservation of community natural resources.

Keywords

Indigenous knowledge Ethnobotany Vegetation Gender West African Sahel Niger 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was carried out under the Desert Margins Programme (DMP) project on arresting land degradation and conservation of biodiversity in the desert margins of sub-Saharan Africa, partly funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF).

References

  1. Antweiler, C. (1998). Local knowledge and local knowing. Anthropos 93: 469–494.Google Scholar
  2. Ayantunde, A. A., Kango, M., Hiernaux, P., Udo, H. M. J., and Tabo, R. (2007). Herders’ perceptions on ruminant livestock breeds and breeding management in Southwestern Niger. Human Ecology 35: 139–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beaman, W. (1983). Women’s participation in pastoral economy: income maximization among the Rendille. Nomadic Peoples 12: 20–25.Google Scholar
  4. Berkes, F. (1993). Traditional ecological knowledge in perspective. In Inglis, J. T. (ed.), Traditional ecological knowledge: concepts and cases. IDRC, Ottawa, pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
  5. Breman, H., and de Wit, C. T. (1983). Rangeland productivity and exploitation in the Sahel. Science 221: 1341–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chazdon, R. L., and Coe, F. G. (1999). Ethnobotany of woody species in second-growth, old-growth, and selectively logged forests of Northeastern Costa Rica. Conservation Biology 13: 1312–1322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cissé, M. I. (1995). Les parcs agroforestiers du Mali. Etudes des connaissances et perspectives pour leur amelioration. Rapport AFRENA no 93. ICRAF, Bamako.Google Scholar
  8. Cunningham, A. B. (1993). African medicinal plants: setting priorities at the interface between conservation and primary health care. People and Plants working paper 1. UNESCO, Paris.Google Scholar
  9. de Verdière, P. C. (1994). Investigation sur l’élevage pastoral au Niger. Rapport final du projet STD 2. University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  10. Diop, M., Kaya, B., Niang, A., and Olivier, A. (2005). Les espèces ligneuses et leurs usages: les preferences des paysans dans le Cercle de Ségou, au Mali. ICRAF working paper no. 9. World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  11. Grenier, L. (1998). Working with indigenous knowledge: a guide for researchers. International Development Research Centre, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  12. Hamilton, A. C., Shengji, P., Kessy, J., Khan, A. A., Lagos-Witte, S., and Shinwari, Z. K. (2003). The purposes and teaching of applied ethnobotany. People and Plants working paper no. 11. WWF-US, Surrey.Google Scholar
  13. Hiernaux, P., and Ayantunde, A. A. (2004). The Fakara: a semi-arid agro-ecosystems under stress. Report of research activities of International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Fakara, South-western Niger, between 1994 and 2002, Desert Margins Program. ICRISAT, Niamey.Google Scholar
  14. Holt, F. L. (2005). The Catch-22 of conservation: indigenous peoples, biologists, and cultural change. Human Ecology 33: 199–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kiambi, D., and Atta-Krah, K. (2003). Plant genetic resources in the global and African setting. In Schmelzer, G. H., and Omino, E. A. (eds.), Plant Resources in Tropical Africa. Proceedings of the first PROTA International workshop, 23–25 September 2002, Nairobi, Kenya. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen, the Netherlands, pp. 33–52.Google Scholar
  16. Lamers, J. P. A., and Feil, P. R. (1995). Farmers’ Knowledge and Management of Spatial Soil and Crop Growth Variability in Niger, West Africa. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 43: 375–389.Google Scholar
  17. Lebel, T., Taupin, J. D., and D’Amato, N. (1997). Rainfall Monitoring during Hapex-Sahel. 1. General Rainfall Conditions and Climatology. Journal of Hydrology 188: 74–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Merlier, H., and Montegut, J. (1982). Adventices tropicales. ORSTOM-GERDAT-ENSH, Ministère des Relations Extérieures, Coopération et Développement, Paris.Google Scholar
  19. Morrison, B. J., Gold, M. A., and Lantagne, D. O. (1996). Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge of Fodder Trees into Small-Scale Silvopastoral Systems in Jamaica. Agroforestry Systems 34: 101–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nikiema, A. (2005). Agroforestry parkland species diversity: Uses and management in semi-arid West Africa (Burkina Faso). PhD Thesis, University of Wageningen, Wageningen, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  21. Peyre De Fabregues, B. (1977). Lexique de noms vernaculaires de plantes du Niger. Institut d’Elevage et de Medecine Veterinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Alfort.Google Scholar
  22. Ricker, I. (2002). Legume diversity and ethnobotanical surveys in the northern Guinea savannah of Nigeria. MSc. Thesis, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.Google Scholar
  23. SAS (1987). SAS/STAT for personal computers. SAS Institute, Cary.Google Scholar
  24. Simpson, B. M. (1994). Gender and the social differentiation of local knowledge. Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor, 2(3). Online: http://www.nufficcs.nl/ciran/ikdm/.
  25. Sow, M., and Anderson, J. (1996). Perceptions and classification of woodland by Malinké villagers near Bamako, Mali. Unasylva, no 186.Google Scholar
  26. Swift, M. J., Izac, A. M. N., and van Noordwijk, M. (2004). Biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes—are we asking the right questions. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 104: 113–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Turner, M. D., and Hiernaux, P. (2002). The use of herders’ accounts to map livestock activities across agropastoral landscapes in Semi-Arid Africa. Landscape Ecology 17: 367–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vennemann, K. (2000). The population of Niger—distribution and development. In Graef, F., Lawrence, P., and von Oppen, M. (eds.), Adapted farming in West Africa: issues, potentials and perspectives. Ulrich, Stuttgart, pp. 83–88.Google Scholar
  29. Von Maydell, H. J. (1983). Arbres et arbustes du Sahel: Leurs caractéristiques et leurs utilisations. GTZ, Eschborn.Google Scholar
  30. Warren, D. M. (1991). Using indigenous knowledge in agricultural development: World Bank Discussion paper No. 127. World Bank, Washington D.C..Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augustine A. Ayantunde
    • 1
  • Mirjam Briejer
    • 2
  • Pierre Hiernaux
    • 3
  • Henk M. J. Udo
    • 2
  • Ramadjita Tabo
    • 4
  1. 1.International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), ILRI/ICRISATBamakoMali
  2. 2.Animal Production Systems GroupUniversity of WageningenWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère (CESBIO)Toulouse Cedex 4France
  4. 4.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)NiameyNiger

Personalised recommendations