Knowledge, valuation and prioritization of 46 woody species for conservation in agroforestry systems along Ouémé catchment in Benin (West Africa)

Abstract

The Ouémé catchment abounds an important diversity of woody plant species. However, harvesting pressure on these species seems to lead to threats of their sustainability. Despite this fact, few published studies concerning their conservation have been undertaken. In this regard, our study focused on (1) assessment of impact of socio-demographic factors and climatic zones on knowledge and use of the woody plant species; (2) assessment of the use status of each of these species and (3) ranking within each climatic zone these species according to their priority for conservation. A total of 411 randomly selected informants were interviewed through a semi-structured survey followed by a field survey in 69 random plots of 0.15 ha. Data from available literature were used to complete the surveys. Ecological and ethnobotanical parameters were computed, and the highest priority species for conservation were identified. The results showed significant difference in plant use between women and men, ethnic groups and climatic zones. However, age was not a determinant of plant knowledge. The findings also revealed that more than 50% of native species in the study area are underutilized or widely used by few people. Moreover, six species were identified as priorities and need high conservation efforts in the two climatic zones, namely: Parkia biglobosa, Pterocarpus erinaceus, Milicia excelsa, Prosopis africana, Afzelia africana and Khaya senegalensis. Non-governmental organizations, governments and agroforestry research institutions are entreated to incorporate these species in local development strategies aiming at sustainable management and long-term conservation of native species.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by International Foundation for Science (IFS) through a research Grant (No. D/5610-1) provided to the first author. We thank this institution and its donors. Thanks are also due to the local people for their generous hospitality. We are also grateful to the reviewers for their relevant comments.

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Correspondence to Bruno E. Lokonon.

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Lokonon, B.E., Tchandao Mangamana, E., Gnonlonfoun, I. et al. Knowledge, valuation and prioritization of 46 woody species for conservation in agroforestry systems along Ouémé catchment in Benin (West Africa). Environ Dev Sustain 21, 2377–2399 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-018-0142-y

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Keywords

  • Woody plant
  • Local people
  • Knowledge and use
  • Conservation priorities
  • Ouémé catchment
  • Benin