Human Ecology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 881–889 | Cite as

Botanical Knowledge and its Differentiation by Age, Gender and Ethnicity in Southwestern Niger

  • Augustine A. AyantundeEmail author
  • Mirjam Briejer
  • Pierre Hiernaux
  • Henk M. J. Udo
  • Ramadjita Tabo


Indigenous knowledge is unevenly distributed. Individual knowledge level may be affected by many factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, profession, religious and cultural beliefs, abundance and usefulness of the species. This study documents indigenous knowledge of herbaceous and woody plant species of farmers and herders in southwestern Niger. Specifically, we examine the effects of age, gender, and ethnicity on knowledge of local vegetation. Results from the study showed that on average a higher proportion of woody species was identified by the respondents compared to herbaceous species. Both gender and ethnicity had a significant effect on the identification of herbaceous species but no effect on identification of woody species. Respondents in lower age group (10 to 30 years) identified lower number of species compared to other age classes. There seems to be a curvilinear relationship between age of respondents and number of plant species identified. Results from this study reaffirm the uneven distribution of indigenous knowledge within a given area due to social factors. The main challenge is how to incorporate these social differences in knowledge of native plant species into sustainable management and conservation of community natural resources.


Indigenous knowledge Ethnobotany Vegetation Gender West African Sahel Niger 



This study was carried out under the Desert Margins Programme (DMP) project on arresting land degradation and conservation of biodiversity in the desert margins of sub-Saharan Africa, partly funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augustine A. Ayantunde
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mirjam Briejer
    • 2
  • Pierre Hiernaux
    • 3
  • Henk M. J. Udo
    • 2
  • Ramadjita Tabo
    • 4
  1. 1.International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), ILRI/ICRISATBamakoMali
  2. 2.Animal Production Systems GroupUniversity of WageningenWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère (CESBIO)Toulouse Cedex 4France
  4. 4.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)NiameyNiger

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