Energy, Ecology and Environment

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 185–194 | Cite as

Ecosystem services and biomass stock from bamboo stands in central and southern Benin, West Africa

  • Roel Dire Houdanon
  • Sylvanus MensahEmail author
  • Césaire Gnanglè
  • Nourou Soulemane Yorou
  • Marcel Houinato
Original Article


Bamboo is a multi-purpose woody grass with international and national interests accentuated by the promotion of green energy. In Asia, bamboo plantations are being successfully promoted and constitute important carbon sinks, while in Africa, they remain unimproved despite their potential service supply. In this study, we assessed ecosystem services (ESs) and biomass stock from bamboo stands in central and southern Benin. First, we interviewed 264 informants across seven sociolinguistic groups from 10 municipalities to analyse ESs importance across gender and multi-linguistic group spaces and determine trade-offs and synergies between services. Second, we used field plots to quantify biomass stocks in selected bamboo stands. Seven ESs (building material, handicraft material, medicine, firewood, support for agriculture, biological control and cultural dance) were mentioned, with provisioning ESs being the most important. ESs were equally mentioned by women and men, except for firewood and medicine which showed slightly different patterns. Handicraft material, firewood and cultural dance were mostly mentioned by Nago and Fon, whereas biological control and support for agriculture were cited by Toffin and Weme. Handicraft material, firewood and cultural dance were synergistically mentioned, but negatively associated with citations of biological control and support for agriculture, suggesting trade-offs. The estimated biomass density was remarkably low, ranging from 0.54 to 29.7 t/ha, with an average value of 11.1 t/ha. These results show a need for participative management integrating sociolinguistic groups into decision-making processes while promoting extensive bamboo plantations and bamboo carbon farming.


Biomass Cultural valuation Gender Local perception Sociocultural group 



The authors are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the first version of this article. We would like to acknowledge the “Consolidoc” financial support from the Research Division of Stellenbosch University, which facilitated exchange of ideas.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Joint Center on Global Change and Earth System Science of the University of Maryland and Beijing Normal University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecology, Botany and Plant BiologyUniversity of ParakouParakouBenin
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biomathematics and Forest Estimations, Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-Calavi, 03CotonouBenin
  3. 3.Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)Wandegeya, KampalaUganda
  4. 4.Department of Forest and Wood ScienceStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  5. 5.Laboratory of Soil Sciences, Water and Environment, Agricultural Research Centre of AgonkanmeyNational Institute of Agricultural Research, 01CotonouBenin
  6. 6.Laboratory of Applied EcologyUniversity of Abomey-Calavi, 01CotonouBenin

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