Vulnerability assessment of medicinal tree species in Benin (West Africa): Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloïdes (Lam.) and Morinda lucida Benth

Abstract

Many causes are suspected to explain the decline of medicinal plant species. This study aims to understand the threats on Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloïdes and Morinda lucida in Benin in order to plan sound conservation strategies. A total of 247 respondents of the Southern and Central Zones of Benin were interviewed based on the uses of each target species, their perceptions about species availability in the natural vegetation and the farming operations (clearing and uprooting) that destroy plant species. In the field, 130 plots were established in various habitats where at least one plant of the two species was found, to assess the abundance of each targeted species. Traditional medicinal uses were recognized by respondents as the most important and preferred use of the target species based on the cultural importance index (1.86–2.50) within each zone. Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloïdes and M. lucida were both available in Southern Benin but were threatened by farming operations in this zone. The findings indicate that the ecological impacts of medicinal uses of the two tree species are minor compared to the effects of pineapple production. The findings also suggest the need for conservation actions and further researches in this area of pineapple production in Southern Benin to reconcile the issue of pineapple production with the need for biodiversity conservation.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) Benin for granting M. Alain Sèakpo YAOITCHA a PhD scholarship to conduct these scientific researches. We also thank the competitive funding program for research of the University of Abomey-Calavi (PFCR/UAC) for its contribution to data collection through the VPMAS project. The involvement of interviewers and people has been a great success of this work.

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Correspondence to Alain S. Yaoitcha.

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Yaoitcha, A.S., Vodouhe, F.G., Azihou, A.F. et al. Vulnerability assessment of medicinal tree species in Benin (West Africa): Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloïdes (Lam.) and Morinda lucida Benth. Agroforest Syst 93, 2267–2279 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-019-00349-9

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Keywords

  • Threats
  • Preferred uses
  • Farming operations
  • Conservation
  • Benin