Utilisation and local knowledge of Sclerocarya birrea (Anacardiaceae) by the rural population around the W national park in Karimama District (Bénin)

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... Sclerocarya birrea is an indigenous fruit tree species, and its fruit is subject of a significant trade in the Sahel (Diallo et al. 2006). Although three subspecies are distinguished, fruits, leaves, bark, kernels, and wood of the species are widely used by local people irrespective of subspecies G. N. Gouwakinnou (&) through its distribution range (Glew et al. 2004; Gouwakinnou et al. 2009a; Muok and Owuor 2005; Shackleton et al. 2002). The species is widely described in literature as dioecious. ...
... The kernels are eaten as snack or the oil extracted; the leaves are browsed by livestock and have medicinal uses, as does the bark. The wood is carved into utilitarian items such as mortars, agricultural tools, spoons, and plates as well as decorative animal figures (Glew et al. 2004; Gouwakinnou et al. 2009a; Shackleton et al. 2002). ...
... Although this absence of spatial segregation of sexes in our study can suggest that females do not display specific environmental conditions requirement for performing reproduction function, this investment can be prejudicial to their other physiological functions such as photosynthesis as demonstrated by Wheelwright and Logan (2004) leading to a reduced growth rate for females. Sclerocarya birrea is a multipurpose use species in which the wood, fruits, and bark represent the main used parts of the species (Gouwakinnou et al. 2009a; Shackleton et al. 2002). Currently, local people do not take sex into account for wood harvest for carving activities, and this finding is consistent with the sex ratio found in agroforestry systems. ...
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In Sub-Saharan Africa, indigenous fruit trees play vital roles in nutrition and food security particularly, in food shortage times. Sclerocarya birrea subsp. birrea, an indigenous dioecious fruit tree is such a resource with strong multipurpose use characteristics in semi-arid zones of West Africa. We assessed sex ratio, spatial distribution among male and female adult trees using second-order spatial statistics and assessed folk perception of dioecism among the natural populations in protected areas and surrounding agroforestry systems. A field survey showed that 55% of interviewees were aware of sex separation in the species. Some used bark appearance to make distinction between sexes, but this morphological criterion was not consistent with statistical results. The sex ratio did not deviate significantly from 0.5 in any of the districts or land use types. Bivariate spatial analysis with pair correlation function revealed no spatial association between male and female individuals. Moreover, a strict spatial segregation of sexes was not observed even though some individuals of the same sex could sometimes be found together. Results confirmed the functional dioecy of the species and showed that the species did not display any apparent sex-specific dimorphism outside the reproduction period or any apparent sex-specific requirement for environment conditions. KeywordsAgroforestry–Spatial analysis–Local perception–Dioecious species–Spatial segregation of sexes–Protected area
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The rich body of traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) in Africa has been widely acknowledged as important for its contribution to current global efforts towards sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. While many rural communities in Africa continue to observe their age-old traditions in relation to forests to ensure the provision of their livelihoods, other communities have lost their traditions for many reasons, including their forced or voluntary cultural alienation from forests, reduced dependence on forests for rural livelihoods, and extensive urbanization. Nonetheless, many communities throughout Africa are still living in or near the continent’s diverse range of forest ecosystems and continue to depend on these forests for their livelihoods. A documentation of how communities have successfully managed these forests to provide for their needs until the present day can serve many useful purposes, including for evidence-based sharing of experiences or case studies, research adoption and uptake, and knowledge transfer and training in forestry curricula. In this chapter, we provide a general background on traditional forest-related knowledge in Africa; its historical and present contributions to food security and rural livelihoods; the present ­challenges faced by the holders and users of this knowledge; and opportunities for its preservation, enhancement, and application to help solve pressing environmental, economic, and social challenges, including the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity.
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