Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 117–128 | Cite as

Genetic Evidence of the Contribution of Ethnic Migrations to the Propagation and Persistence of the Rare and Declining Scrambling Shrub Caesalpinia bonduc L

  • A. E. Assogbadjo
  • B. Fandohan
  • R. Glèlè Kakaï
  • T. Kyndt
  • O. J. Hardy
  • G. Gheysen
  • B. Sinsin


This paper examines the contribution of human migrations to the propagation and maintenance of Caesalpina bonduc by means of an analysis of its population genetics and distribution patterns. One hundred and forty seven sites were surveyed in the three climatic zones of Benin and all individuals of the species were recorded. A set of individuals was randomly selected and sampled from seven populations and morphological variation and genetic diversity were assessed. The study confirmed the presence of the species in all climatic zones but its abundance varied greatly. Morphological variability between populations and zones was low in comparison with the high amount of variation within populations. AFLP and cpDNA fingerprinting revealed an extremely low genetic diversity within populations and a low genetic differentiation, suggesting parental links between populations. The results support the hypothesis of human involvement in Caesalpinia dispersal and persistence in Benin. However, the low genetic diversity may imply high risks for future extinction. We recommend that gene flow among the remaining populations be supported in order to conserve the species.


Benin Caesalpinia bonduc L. Distribution patterns Genetic diversity Morphology 



This work was supported by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (United Kingdom). We thank C. Hessou, H. Adjallala, as well as local informants for their help during our fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. E. Assogbadjo
    • 1
  • B. Fandohan
    • 1
  • R. Glèlè Kakaï
    • 1
  • T. Kyndt
    • 2
  • O. J. Hardy
    • 3
  • G. Gheysen
    • 2
  • B. Sinsin
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  2. 2.Department of Molecular BiotechnologyGhent University (UGent)GhentBelgium
  3. 3.Evolutionary Biology & Ecology Unit, CP 160/12, Faculté des SciencesUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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