Economic Botany

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 105–122 | Cite as

Local Knowledge on the Uses, Habitat, and Change in Abundance of Multipurpose Mimusops Species in Benin

  • Gisèle K. Sinasson S.
  • Charlie M. Shackleton
  • Achille E. Assogbadjo
  • Brice Sinsin


Multipurpose NTFP species typically experience higher harvest demand because of their multiple uses, which, when combined with unsustainable land use practices, may threaten population viability. We assessed local knowledge on the uses, habitat, and population status of Mimusops andongensis and Mimusops kummel, both multipurpose NTFP species in Benin, to promote their valorization and conservation and thus sustain local knowledge on their uses for domestication issues. One hundred households were randomly selected for structured interviews for M. andongensis and 500 for M. kummel. The relationship between age, sex, and ethnic groups and the species uses was assessed using comparison and correspondence analyses. Nearly all organs of the species were used. Both species were mainly exploited for medicinal purposes but also in construction and as firewood. We found similarities in some uses of the species organs, although the species occur in different ecological zones and are used by different ethnic groups. This result should be considered for the valorization of the species. Most informants reported that populations of M. andongensis were decreasing, although some felt that they were increasing, whereas less than one-third said that M. kummel was decreasing. There were strong relationships between gender, age, and ethnic affiliation of the users and the exploited organs of both species. Potential uses exist based on both the past and current uses of the species and in comparison to other countries where they are exploited. Local ethnoecological knowledge and practices will help to valorize and conserve the species. However, further research on the species’ seed germination and propagation ability are also necessary.

Key Words

Non-timber forest products local knowledge ethnobotany ethnoecology medicinal plants Mimusops andongensis Mimusops kummel 

Résumé--Connaissances endogènes sur les usages habitats et variation en abondance des espèces de Mimusops au Bénin

Les espèces de PFNL à usage multiple font particulièrement face à une demande plus élevée qui, combinée avec les pratiques destructrices d’utilisation des terres, peut constituer une menace pour la viabilité des populations. Cette étude vise à identifier les connaissances locales sur les usages, habitats et le statut de la population de 2 espèces de PFNL à usage multiple au Bénin, Mimusops andongensis et Mimusops kummel, afin de promouvoir leur valorisation et conservation et ainsi maintenir les connaissances endogènes sur leurs utilisations à des fins de domestication. Cent ménages ont été aléatoirement interviewés pour M. andongensis et 500 pour M. Kummel. La variation des usages des 2 espèces entre les groupes d’age, de sexe et ethniques a été évaluée aux moyens des analyses de comparaison et de l’analyse factorielle des correspondances. Presque tous les organes des espèces sont exploités, principalement à des fins médicinaux, mais aussi pour la construction et comme bois de feu. Il existe de similarité dans certains usages des organes des 2 espèces, bien qu’elles soient exploitées dans différentes zones écologiques par différentes ethnies. La majorité des interviewés a rapporté une décroissance des populations de M. andongensis bien que pour certains elles auraient augmenté, tandis que environ 1/3 ont rapporté une décroissance des populations de M. kummel. Il y a une différence significative dans l’usage des organes des 2 espèces par les groups d’âge, de sexe et ethniques. Compte tenu de leurs usages passés et actuelles et en comparaison à d’autres pays où elles sont exploitées, il existe du potentiel d’utilisation des espèces. Les connaissances endogènes, ainsi que des essaies de germination et de propagation aideront à leur valorisation et conservation.



This work was financially supported by International Foundation for Science grant D/5467-1 to KGSS for data collection and data analysis, and OWSD (Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World) and SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) through a Postgraduate Fellowship to KGSS for literature review and manuscript writing. We are also grateful to Christian Affoukou, Hervé Kanlissou, Cyrus Binassoua, and local communities for their help during surveys.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gisèle K. Sinasson S.
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charlie M. Shackleton
    • 3
  • Achille E. Assogbadjo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brice Sinsin
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Appliquée, Faculté des Sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biomathématiques et d’Estimations Forestières, Faculté des Sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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