Project

Ethnobotany and ecological adaptation of the black plum to climatic conditions in Benin, West Africa: Implications for conservation and domestication

Goal: Improve knowledge on the ethnobotany of Vitex doniana and on the adaptive mechanisms used by the species to fit in various climatic zones of Benin in order to provide baseline information for the implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation approaches using V. doniana to face climate change.

Methods: Plant Ecology, Species Distribution Modeling, Weibull Distribution, Plant Morphology, Quantitative ethnobotany, Tree ring analysis, Wood anatomical analysis

Date: 1 July 2013

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Achille Hounkpevi
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We assessed impacts of climatic variability, land cover and proximity of river on the ecology and population structure of Vitex doniana Sweet in Benin (West Africa) in order to provide relevant information for its sustainable management and conservation in the context of global change. Numbers of contacts and numbers of adult individuals per contact of the species along transects revealed through negative binomial model that even though the species is present in all climatic zones, it does not show preference to a particular zone, but it is more frequent in mosaics of croplands and fallows (MCF) and in areas at less than 500 m to river. Analyses of floristic composition, suggested that V. doniana occurs globally in different woody plant communities regarding climatic zones, land cover types and distance to the closest river. Significant interaction effects of climatic zone and land cover type were noted on structural parameters (mean diameter and basal area) of V. doniana with the highest values in the Sudanian MCF (46.11±23.83 cm and 3.35±3.07 m 2 ha −1). Moreover, diameter structures revealed globally a predominance of relatively young individuals (dbh ≤ 20 cm) of the species. Although studied environmental factors do not have significant effect on densities of the species (adult and regeneration), the relatively low values recorded may lead to a rapid decline of its populations in future. Sustainable management practices should be thought to favour and preserve the regeneration of the species for it conservation.
Achille Hounkpevi
added a project reference
Achille Hounkpevi
added a project goal
Improve knowledge on the ethnobotany of Vitex doniana and on the adaptive mechanisms used by the species to fit in various climatic zones of Benin in order to provide baseline information for the implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation approaches using V. doniana to face climate change.
 
Achille Hounkpevi
added 2 research items
Sustainable management actions are needed for several indigenous agro forestry plant species like the black plum (Vitex doniana Sweet) because they are facing increasing pressures due to the rapid human growth and threats such as climate change. By combining species distribution modelling using the Maximum Entropy Algorithm (MaxEnt) and representation gap analysis, this study accessed the impacts of current and future (2050) climates on the potential distribution of Vitex doniana in Benin with insight on the protected areas network (PAN). The model showed a high goodness-of-fit (AUC = 0.92 ± 0.02) and a very good predictive power (TSS = 0.72 ± 0.01). Our findings indicated annual mean rainfall, annual mean diurnal range of temperature and mean temperature of the driest quarter as the most important predictors driving the distribution of V. doniana. Under current climate, about 85 % of Benin area is potentially suitable for its cultivation. This potential suitable area is projected to increase by 3 to 12 % under future climatic conditions. A large proportion (76.28 %) of the national PAN was reported as potentially suitable for the conservation of the species under current climate with increase projections of 14 to 23 % under future climate. The study showed that V. doniana can be cultivated in several areas of Benin and that the PAN is potentially suitable for its conservation. These findings highlighted some of the opportunities of integrating V. doniana in the formal production systems of Benin and also its potentialities in ecosystems restoration under the changing climate.
There are evidences that plant morphology is shaped by genotype, but local environment mainly climate influences morphology as well. In this study the morphological variability of Vitex doniana, a multipurpose tree species was characterised in relation with climatic parameters in order to provide insights to the species possible responses to future climate change. Morphological data were collected on 102 trees randomly selected along unfixed transects in the three climatic zones of Benin. Data were collected on fruiting trees at three levels: tree (trunk and canopy), leaves and fruits. Variance components were estimated for identification of variability sources regarding leaves and fruits characteristics. The most important discriminant descriptors regarding climatic zones were selected through a stepwise discriminant analysis. Relationship between those discriminant morphological traits and bioclimatic variables were assessed through a redundancy analysis. Our findings confirmed that there is an important variability of morphological traits of the species and climate, mainly some of its extremes parameters plays a non-negligible role. Trees in the Sudanian region are the biggest with fruits producing little pulp while individuals in the more humid Guinean region present a higher amount of pulp whereas Sudano-Guinean trees are the tallest with larger leaves. Although the climate-induced variability of the species is relatively low, the study gives insights in probable effects of climate variability on its morphology. Population genetic studies are required for a better understanding of climatic impacts on V. doniana in order to develop selection and domestication schemes which could contribute to its conservation.