Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 263–278 | Cite as

Uses, management, and population status of the baobab in eastern Burkina Faso

  • Katharina SchumannEmail author
  • Rüdiger Wittig
  • Adjima Thiombiano
  • Ute Becker
  • Karen Hahn


Many cash-poor households in the semi-arid tropics strongly depend on non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for livelihood. Increasing threats on NTFP-providing tree species, due to land-use intensification, require ecological studies as well as additional information about species’ uses and management provided by local people. The objectives of our study were to (i) document uses and management of the baobab (Adansonia digitata L.), (ii) investigate knowledge distribution among genders and different villages, and (iii) assess the population status of the baobab in eastern Burkina Faso. We conducted an ethnobotanical survey among Gulimanceba people and performed a quantitative analysis using different measures of knowledge. Interviews reveal that the baobab is harvested by local people for 25 use-types. The fruits are the most important plant part and baobab products are of special importance for nutritional uses. Local management of baobab seems to be so far sufficient to maintain baobab populations. The fact that we found some differences in uses and management of baobab between genders and villages emphasizes the importance of gender- and region-related management recommendation. People are able to use and manage the baobab in a relative sustainable way as human population density is relatively low and as they have relatively good access to the forest compared to other regions of Burkina Faso. However, in the light of land-use and climate changes, adapted management strategies are required. We conclude that ethnobotanical studies on a small-scale level are of high importance in order to develop management strategies that are reliable in a specific region.


Adansonia digitata Gulimanceba Non-timber forest products Quantitative ethnobotany Traditional knowledge 



We would like to acknowledge the funding of this project by SUN (FP7 INCO-dev 031685). We thank the “LOEWE Program” (Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz) of the State of Hesse for the financial support of the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F). We are grateful to all foresters of the Provincial and Departmental Forestry Office in Diapaga and all foresters working at ECOPAS for their support. We want to thank Sidiki Bourgou for assistance during interviews, Yvonne Bachmann for compilation of the map, and Julie Poppe (Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa, Catholic University Leuven) and Marcel Koadima (Department of Plant Biology and Physiology, University of Ouagadougou) for providing help with orthography in Gulimancema. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their very constructive and helpful comments. Finally and mostly, our warm thanks go to all informants for sharing their knowledge about baobab.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Schumann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rüdiger Wittig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adjima Thiombiano
    • 3
  • Ute Becker
    • 4
  • Karen Hahn
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology, Evolution and DiversityJ.W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)FrankfurtGermany
  3. 3.Department of Plant Biology and Physiology, UFR-SVTUniversity of OuagadougouOuagadougouBurkina Faso
  4. 4.Green School in the Botanical Garden of Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany

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