Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 2301–2320 | Cite as

A quantitative ethnobotanical approach toward biodiversity conservation of useful woody species in Wari-Maro forest reserve (Benin, West Africa)

  • Carlos C. Ahoyo
  • Thierry D. HouehanouEmail author
  • Alain S. Yaoitcha
  • Kathleen Prinz
  • Achille E. Assogbadjo
  • Christian S. G. Adjahossou
  • Frank Hellwig
  • Marcel R. B. Houinato


Quantitative ethnobotany researches can contribute much to guide biodiversity conservation, especially in developing countries. Our study presents a step-by-step approach to identify priority species for local conservation of useful woody species. The presented approach includes (1) an investigation of the popularity and versatility of woody species in the local people, (2) an estimation of the ecological availability of useful tree species in the forest and (3) identification of local priority species for conservation. We focused the study on the Wari-Maro forest reserve in the Sudanian zone of Benin as an example to implement such approach and identify useful priority species for sustainable conservation and management strategies development. Ethnobotanical surveys were conducted with people in surrounding villages of the forest composed by different sociocultural groups. Floristic vegetation surveys were performed within the forest to assess the local ecological availability of used woody species. A principal component analysis was performed to analyze the versatility, the popularity and the ecological availability of species. Spearman’s correlation test was used to assess relation between variables. In total, 79 woody species were reported for seven main types of uses: technology, construction, medicinal, veterinary, food, forage and energy. Among them, 35 were most popular and versatile, and 3 were characterized as priorities for conservation especially regarding their less availability and more versatility. We discussed the used approach by the underlining importance of integrating wood uses or multiples uses in conservation priorities setting and conservation decision-making of useful woody tree species.


Versatility Ecological availability Quantitative ethnobotany Conservation priorities 



This work was funded by the International Foundation for Science (IFS) through a research Grant (N°D/5449-1) provided to Thierry D. Houehanou. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation through Georg Forster Research Fellowship (HERMES) Ref 3.4—BEN—1163520—GFHERMES-P provided to Thierry D. Houehanou is thanked for its support to complete this manuscript writing. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments, and local people living around the Wari-Maro forest reserve.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos C. Ahoyo
    • 1
  • Thierry D. Houehanou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  • Alain S. Yaoitcha
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kathleen Prinz
    • 5
  • Achille E. Assogbadjo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christian S. G. Adjahossou
    • 1
  • Frank Hellwig
    • 5
  • Marcel R. B. Houinato
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Appliquée, Faculté des sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey-CalaviCotonouRepublic of Benin
  2. 2.Faculty of AgronomyUniversity of Parakou (FA/UP)ParakouRepublic of Benin
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Biomathématiques et d’Estimations Forestières, Faculté des Sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey CalaviCotonouRepublic of Benin
  4. 4.Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du BéninCotonouRepublic of Benin
  5. 5.Institute for Systematic BotanyFriedrich-Schiller-University JenaJenaGermany

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