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We analyze the contribution of Parkia biglobosa fruit harvesting as source of income for local communities around the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in Benin and the role that this exploitation plays in improving the conservation status of this species. We interviewed 124 farmers in five villages and conducted field surveys on 80 plots of 50 m* 50 m. Results show that P. biglobosa contributes to 53% to family net income during its fructification period. Poorer, intermediate as well as wealthier households rely equally on the species. It appears that land unavailability is an important factor which determines household link with species. Very little evidence could be found indicating that harvesting is damaging the resource. Therefore, for reproducible resources such as P. biglobosa, it would be possible to reconcile conservation and poverty reduction objectives.
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Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R. Br. ex
Benth. harvesting as a tool for
conservation and source of income
for local people in Pendjari Biosphere
Reserve
Fifanou Gbèlidji Vodouhê a , Anselme Adégbidi b , Ousmane
Coulibaly c & Brice Sinsin d
a Laboratory of applied ecology, University of Abomey-Calavi,
02 BP 8033, Cotonou, Bénin E-mail:
b Laboratoire d'étude sur la pauvreté et la performance de
l'agriculture, Faculté des sciences agronomiques, Université
d'Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526, Cotonou, Bénin
c International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 08 BP 0932, Tri
Postal, Cotonou, Bénin
d Laboratory of Applied Ecology, University of Abomey-Calavi,
01 BP 526, Cotonou, Bénin
Published online: 26 Apr 2013.
To cite this article: Fifanou Gbèlidji Vodouhê , Anselme Adégbidi , Ousmane Coulibaly & Brice
Sinsin (2011): Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R. Br. ex Benth. harvesting as a tool for conservation and
source of income for local people in Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, Acta Botanica Gallica, 158:4,
595-608
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12538078.2011.10516297
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Acta Bot. Gallica, 158 (4), 595-608, 2011.
Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R. Br. ex Benth. harvesting as a tool for conser-
vation and source of income for local people in Pendjari Biosphere
Reserve
by Fifanou Gbèlidji Vodouhê(1), Anselme Adégbidi(2), Ousmane Coulibaly(3) and Brice
Sinsin(4)
(1) Laboratory of applied ecology, University of Abomey-Calavi, 02 BP 8033, Cotonou, Bénin;
vodouhefifanou@yahoo.fr
(2) Laboratoire d’étude sur la pauvreté et la performance de l’agriculture, Faculté des sciences
agronomiques, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526, Cotonou, Bénin
(3) International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 08 BP 0932, Tri Postal, Cotonou, Bénin
(4) Laboratory of Applied Ecology, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526, Cotonou, Bénin
Abstract.- We analyze the contribution of Parkia biglobosa fruit harvesting as
source of income for local communities around the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve
in Benin and the role that this exploitation plays in improving the conservation
status of this species. We interviewed 124 farmers in five villages and conduc-
ted field surveys on 80 plots of 50 m * 50 m. Results show that P. biglobosa
contributes to 53% to family net income during its fructification period. Poorer,
intermediate as well as wealthier households rely equally on the species. It
appears that land unavailability is an important factor which determines house-
hold link with species. Very little evidence could be found indicating that harves-
ting is damaging the resource. Therefore, for reproducible resources such as P.
biglobosa, it would be possible to reconcile conservation and poverty reduction
objectives.
Key words : Parkia biglobosa - income generation - conservation - Benin.
Résumé.- Cette étude analyse la contribution de Parkia biglobosa au revenu
des ménages de la Réserve de biosphère de la Pendjari (Bénin) et l’effet de l’ex-
ploitation sur le statut de conservation de l’espèce. Nous avons interviewé 124
producteurs et installé 80 placeaux de 2500 m2pour collecter les données. Les
résultats montrent que l’espèce contribue à 53% au revenu des ménages durant
sa période de fructification. Aucune différence significative n’a été révélée quant
à sa contribution au revenu net des ménages des différentes catégories de
niveau de prospérité. La disponibilité de terres se révèle comme étant l’un des
facteurs déterminant la forte relation du ménage avec l’exploitation de l’espèce.
Les résultats n’ont révélé aucun impact négatif de l’exploitation de l’espèce sur
la structure de sa population. Pour des ressources durables, il est donc possible
de concilier les objectifs de conservation et de réduction de la pauvreté.
Mots clés : Parkia biglobosa - confection de revenus - conservation - Bénin.
received April 12, 2010, accepted February 18, 2011
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I. INTRODUCTION
There is an increasing attention to the role of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) as an
alternative to alleviate poverty while sustaining biological diversity. This interest is due to
several reasons (Nasi & Cunningham, 2001; Arnold & Ruiz-Perez, 2001; Rietbergen et al.,
2002; Fisher & Christopher, 2007; Wunder, 2001; Ambrose-Oji, 2003). NTFPs contribute
to the livelihoods and welfare of populations living in and adjacent to forests. The exploi-
tation of NTFPs is thought to be less ecologically destructive than timber harvesting and
other forest uses (Ros-Tonen, 2000; Campbell & Luckert, 2002). Therefore, it could pro-
vide a sound basis for sustainable forest management. The increase in commercial harvest
of NTFPs adds to the perceived value of forest, thereby increasing the incentives for local
people to retain the forest resource. Therefore, guiding and enhancing the use of NTFPs
are seen as a possible approach to contribute to increasing livelihood security and poverty
reduction, thereby providing incentives for forest conservation and sustainable use.
However, the relationship between poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation
has been the subject to intense debate amongst academics and development practitioners
for several decades, yet consensus on how to reconcile these two disparate goals is far from
being reached (Kepe et al., 2004; Roe 2008). The development assistance community has
collectively identified poverty alleviation as one of the Millennial Development Goals
(Sanderson & Redford, 2003) but Roe and Elliott (2004) rightly suggested that the
Millennial Development Goal and their implementation are unlikely to be effective for
both conservation and poverty reduction. But more recent approaches in research and
development, however, see poverty and biodiversity management as intrinsically connec-
ted (Kamanga et al., 2009).
Concerning the people living close to natural resources, in Africa, relatively few studies
have explored the relationships between NTFPs use and selected socio-economic attributes
of the sample households (Cavendish, 2000; Ntshona, 2001; Twine et al., 2001; Campbell
& Luckert, 2002; Cavendish, 2002; Ambrose-Oji, 2003; Shackleton & Shackleton, 2006).
The application of a pro-poor focused ‘livelihoods approach’ to examining and understan-
ding individual or household economies and the ways in which poor groups of people are
able to improve their standards of living has emphasized the fact that natural resources are
only one set of capital assets available to and used by the poor as part of their livelihood
strategies (Scoones, 1998; Farrington et al., 1999). More strictly, the contributions of
NTFPs to the total livelihood income range from over 50% (Narendran et al., 2001) to less
than 20% (Campbell & Luckert, 2002; Ambrose-Oji, 2003). Therefore, the absolute values
obtained differ between studies in relation to a range of contextual factors, such as proxi-
mity to markets, currency power, diversity of resources available, abundance of key
resources, biodiversity, opportunity costs and the like (Shackleton & Shackleton, 2006).
Many studies show that poor people rely more directly on forest resources than wealthy
households and communities, even if the latter often may have a higher total income from
such resources (Cavendish, 2000; Vedeld et al., 2007; Kamanga et al., 2009). Such findings
also fit into general policy debates over poverty and the environment (Wunder, 2001;
Sunderlin et al., 2005): to what extent poor people and poverty are main cause of environ-
mental degradation and to what extent forest resource can access help alleviate poverty?
In this paper, we examine, through a case-study from the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in
Benin, the potential role of Parkia biglobosa for sustaining the livelihoods of local people
and the effect of species harvesting on its conservation status. The study is focused on the
groups of reserve adjacent people that are most likely to diversify their livelihood strate-
596
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gies based on reserve resources. P. biglobosa (Fabaceae Mimosoideae), also known as néré
in French and locust bean tree in English, is a multipurpose tree indigenous to sub-Saharan
Africa (Teklehaimanot, 2004) and is the most important food tree used in the Pendjari
Biosphere Reserve (Vodouhê et al., 2009). The objectives of the study reported here were
i) to explore whether or not the exploitation of P. biglobosa by people living around the
Pendjari Biosphere Reserve was correlated with household social categories and ii) to ana-
lyze the effect of species use on its conservation status in the area.
II. METHOD
A. Study area
This research was conducted in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in the northwest of the
Republic of Benin (10°30’ to 11°30 N, 0°50’ to 2°00’ E; Fig. 1). We selected five study vil-
lages from the three main socio-
cultural groups in the study area:
Tanongou and Sangou villages for
Gourmantche ethnic group,
Nanebou village for Waama ethnic
group, Dassari and Tiele villages
for Berba ethnic group. These vil-
lages have similar level of access
to the natural resources in the park
and market, but different level of
access to land. Indeed, in contrary
to Dassari and Tiele villages,
Nanebou, Sangou and Tanongou
villages restricted between the pro-
tected area and the mountain chain,
suffer from a lack of land access
(Fig. 1).
With the exception of the
Atakora chain (400-513 m above
sea level) in the South of the reser-
ve, the altitude in the Pendjari
Biosphere Reserve ranges from
150 to 200 m above sea level. The
climate is tropical with a seven
month dry period. Mean annual
rainfall in the area is 1,000 mm.
The main types of land-uses in the
region are savannah-land, cultiva-
ted land and fallow land. Most
people in the study areas practis
subsistence agriculture as their
main source of income and food.
Cultivated crops include yams,
maize, sorghum, cowpea, ground-
597
Fig. 1.- Map of the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in the
northern part of Benin (West Africa). It illustrates the
location of surrounding villages within which house-
hold survey was done and different zones as sug-
gested by Biosphere Reserve concept.
Fig. 1.- Carte de la Réserve de biosphère de la
Pendjari au nord du Bénin (Afrique de l’Ouest).
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598
nuts and rice (CENAGREF, 2005). Products from farming are often traded in local mar-
kets weekly where local people exchange their products.
The communities surrounding the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve are estimated at 30,000
inhabitants (CENAGREF, 2005). Local people live their traditional lifestyle and have
extensive knowledge of the wildlife resources of their area (Djossa et al., 2008). NTFPs
play an important role in their livelihood (Sinsin et al., 2002; Djossa et al., 2008; Vodouhê
et al., 2010) although the degree of reliance on them has been unknown.
Nearly 43% of people in Benin live under the poverty threshold and 55% of poor people
would not meet their minimum food requirements in the country (Adégbidi et al., 1999;
INSAE, 2002). The majority of poor people (59.1%) lives in rural area such as our study
areas where we have the largest number of poor people or people vulnerable to poverty in
the country (Adégbidi et al., 1999; Martin, 2000; FIDA, 2006).
B. Data collection
We conducted household survey in five villages bordering the Pendjari Biosphere
Reserve. Since socioeconomic position of household could not be assessed by a single cri-
terion, we asked participants through a participatory rural appraisal exercise to categorize
all households into three different stakeholder groups based on criteria that they consider
to help assess an individual’s socioeconomic position in the village (Adams et al., 1997;
Adhikari et al., 2004). The concept of wealth ranking is based on utilizing local knowled-
ge about people’s levels of wealth. People who live and work in the same village and who
know each other are often a better judge of levels of wealth of a member of the village than
an outsider. In addition, local people may have their own concepts of wealth, which are not
solely based on cash income but other factors such as the amount of land owned, the num-
ber of livestock owned, income from off-farm agriculture etc. In a wealth ranking exerci-
se, key informants from the local communities rank their fellow villagers into different
social categories. The informants decide on their own definitions of wealth and social cate-
gories. In this study local people used household socioeconomic attributes such as the
number of livestock owned, number of yoke owned, level of accessibility to tractor for far-
ming, loans given or received and income from agricultural activities. Informants divided
our sample households into three income categories: poor, intermediate and wealthy. In all,
we visited 124 households (Table I) belonging to the three different income groups using
the household questionnaire survey. The household head retains rights of household acti-
vities, controls household income and expenditure and makes decisions on behalf of the
rest of the family members. In most cases household heads were male; however about 24%
of households were headed by women who were either widows or aged persons.
Table I.- Characteristics of
research sample showing
number of households per
gender, social status and
ethnic groups.
Tableau I.- Caractéristiques
de l’échantillonnage pré-
sentant le nombre de
ménages par type de chef
de ménage, niveau de
prospérité et groupes eth-
niques.
Ethnic groups Gender Household social status Total
Wealthy Intermediate Poor
Berba (n= 42) Male 6 16 10 32
Female 24 410
Wama (n= 40) Male 10 8 16 34
Female 04 26
Gourmanché (n= 42) Male 14 8628
Female 0410 14
Total 32 44 48 124
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599
Two months before the data collection, we tested our questionnaire in Batia, one of the
villages surrounding the park. The interviewers (one per village) were trained on how to
administer the questions. The choice of enumerators living in the studies village makes
data collection and increase participants trust in information that they give. We collected
the data weekly from head of household and, previously, interviewers record information
on the household size, the sex of household head, his age, educational level and activities.
We collected data about the quantity of seeds, pulp, bark, and fruits’ clove collected,
consumed or commercialized each week and the time taken on each activity. We also
conducted a market survey on three local markets (Tanongou, Dasari and Porga) to provi-
de price data to supplement gaps in the household survey.
To assess the effect of exploitation on species, we established 80 plots of 50 m x 50 m
every 200 m along five transects of two kilometres. These plots were established equally
in two different habitat types: farms and fallows. We selected these habitats because parti-
cipants during previous studies identified these habitat types as the most important source
of P. biglobosa products. In the study area, fallows are abandoned farms for more than
three years old (Sinsin, 1994). Within each 50 m x 50 m plot, we recorded every stem of
P. biglobosa, measured their diameter at breast height (DBH) for individuals with DBH >
10 cm and recorded if they had fruits or flowers.
C. Data analysis
To analyze the contribution of P. biglobosa products (seeds, pulp, bark and clove of
fruit) to the household economy, we determined at the first step the household net income
NI which includes cash revenue and the monetary value of goods produced and consumed
by the household. NI is computed for a month as NI = (RSLG + VNG) - (MC+ LC)
where RSLG = revenue from sales of labour and goods (i.e. crops, P. biglobosa seed or
pulp), VNG = value of non-purchased goods consumed (i.e. crops, P. biglobosa seed or
pulp), MC= material use cash cost, LC= labour opportunity costs. Then, we determined
the contribution of P. biglobosa (Cp) to household NI as Cp = RPB / NI * 100 where RPB
= revenue get from P. biglobosa.
The mean household net income and P. biglobosa contribution values between the dif-
ferent social categories identified were compared using an analysis of variance after appro-
priate transformation as necessary to achieve data normality. For example, because Cp is
a percentage data, we transformed the proportion (between 0 and 1) using Arcsin and see
if it normalizes the residuals. We reported untransformed means and standard of deviation
values for each variable. We used a χ2to test if there was any difference in the number of
households headed by women and the vegetation type exploited by participants between
the three social categories.
We used species density, diameter distribution and mean diameter as indicators of his
population structure in the two vegetation types (farm and fallow). Tree density (in
stems/ha) was computed as the average number of trees per plot. To establish the popula-
tion structure, individuals DBH were grouped into classes of 10 cm interval. For each type
of habitat, we fitted the population structure data to a Weibull distribution (Bailey & Dell,
1973; Maltamo et al., 2000; Feeley et al., 2007). The probability density function of the
Weibull distribution for a random variable x(tree DBH) is f(x) = c/b[(x-a)/b]c-1e-[(x-a)/b]c
where x= tree DBH, ais the location parameter (10 cm in our study), bis the scale para-
meter linked to the central value of diameters and cthe shape parameter. The parameters
of the Weibull function were estimated for each habitat using the maximum likelihood
method and stems diameters. Log-linear analysis was performed in SAS for each habitat
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600
and between habitat to test the adequacy of the observed structure to the Weibull distribu-
tion and to compare the structure of species’ population between the two habitats.
III. RESULTS
A. Household social categories
Wealthier households tend to be large families (13 ± 5.99 members/households for
wealthy groups compared to 12 ± 5.96 members for middle income households and 7 ±
3.34 members/households in the group of poor; F= 17.9; p= 0.0001). The household
members are engaged in many activities. The bigger the household, the more likely its
member participates in more than one income generating activity including agriculture,
livestock and commerce. Wealthy households have more sources of income followed by
intermediate and poorer households (F= 3.8; p= 0.002). It also appeared that households
headed by female tend to be in poorer group than those headed by men 2 = 8.03; p =
0.018).
B. Parkia biglobosa and households well being
Nearly 98% of participants harvest at least two products from P. biglobosa. The two
most harvested products used are the seeds and pulp. The seeds are processed and used as
sauce enhancer. The pulp of fruit is used locally in food and to make juice. Each house-
hold uses a monthly average of 14.4 kg of seeds and 10.6 kg of pulp of P. biglobosa. There
is no significant difference in the mean quantities of seed and pulp used between the three
social categories (F= 0.08; p= 0.810). However, households from the Gourmantche eth-
nic group harvest more seeds and pulp than other ethnic groups (Table II).
Parkia biglobosa contributes 53% to family net income throughout the period of pro-
duction. There is no significant difference in species contribution to the households net
income regardless of family social categories (Table III; F= 1.37; p= 0.185). In average,
poor households make a net cash income of 9,091 CFA and intermediate households make
9,128 CFA. The richest households make the highest net cash income 9,380 CFA ($US 1
~ 500 F CFA). Most of this income is used in household food spending (Fig. 2).
There is also a significant effect of land availability on the household income obtained
from P. biglobosa products harvest (Fig. 3; F= 26.48; p< 0.0001). While households with
easy access to agricultural land earn in average 3,818 F CFA ($US 7.64) per month, those
with limited access to land make in average 9,617 F CFA ($US 19.23) per month from
P. biglobosa product harvest; independently to their social categories.
C. Main habitats for Parkia biglobosa products harvesting
Farms and fallows are the most visited habitats (by 98% of participants) for P. biglobo-
sa products harvest. Independently of their social status, participants harvest more P. biglo-
Table II.- Mean quantity of seeds and pulp har-
vested per households in each ethnic group.
It shows that households from Gourmantche
ethnic group harvested more products than
other ethnic groups.
Tableau II.- Quantités moyennes de grains et
de pulpe exploitées au sein de chaque grou-
pe ethnique.
Ethnic groups Mean quantity of Mean quantity of
seeds used (kg) pulp used (kg)
Berba 50.8 ± 54.13 25.1 ± 25.3
Gourmantche 54.0 ± 44.16 46.9 ± 34.8
Waama 14.4 ± 14.15 8.6 ± 9.32
F= 6.33 F= 13.2
p= 0.003 p= 0.0001
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601
bosa products from farmlands than fallows (Fig. 4; χ2= 5.7; p< 0.050), although P. biglo-
bosa is less abundant in farms (7 stems/ha) than in fallows (10 stems/ha) and with smaller
trees in farms (mean diameter d = 28.6 cm) than in fallows (d = 39.5 cm; t= -2.1; p=
0.036). The number of the mature tree (tree in production) of P. biglobosa in farmlands is
not significantly different from those in fallows (Fig. 5 a,b; F= 0.6; p= 0.451).
D. Structure of Parkia biglobosa population
In the two habitats, the log-linear analysis indicates a good fit of the observed distribu-
tion to the Weibull theoretical distribution 2= 0.34, p= 0.562 and χ2= 0.29, p= 0.588
in farmlands and fallows respectively). The left dissymmetric distribution observed (1 < c
< 3.6) mean a predominance of individuals with small diameter in each population (c=
Table III.- Contribution of income got
from P. biglobosa to household net
income in each social categories
($US 1 ~ 500 F CFA). This contribu-
tion didn’t vary between households
from different prosperity group.
Tableau III.- Contribution des revenus
obtenus de P. biglobosa au revenu
net des ménages de chaque catégo-
rie de niveau de prospérité.
Social Income got from Contribution to
categories P. biglobosa (F CFA) households’ net income (%)
Poor 5,028 ± 5,977 54
Intermediate 5,030 ± 6,244 54
Wealthy 4,936 ± 4,575 51
F= 1.37
p= 0.1849
Fig. 2.- Contribution of income got from P.
biglobosa to household well-being. The
large proportion of income got from the
species is used in household food spen-
ding.
Fig. 2.- Contribution du revenu obtenu de
P. biglobosa au bien-être des ménages.
Fig. 3.- Relationship between land availa-
bility and household link with the spe-
cies. Household limited in access to land
rely more on the species independently
of their social categories (F= 26.48; p<
0.0001).
Fig. 3.- Relation entre la disponibilité de
terre et le lien du ménage avec l’espèce.
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602
Fig. 4.- Main habitat types for P. biglobosa pro-
ducts harvested. Participants harvest more P.
biglobosa in farmlands than fallows, indepen-
dently of their social status 2= 5.7; p<
0.050).
Fig. 4.- Principaux habitats visités pour l’exploita-
tion de P. biglobosa.
Fig. 5 a, b.- Relative proportion of fruiting tree in each habitat type. No statistical differences
were found between the number of tree in production in farmlands comparatively to fal-
lows (F= 0.6; p= 0.451).
Fig. 5 a, b.- Proportion relative d’arbres en fructification dans chaque type d’habitat.
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603
1.408 and 1.683 in farmlands and fallows respectively: cis the shape parameter of the
Weibull distribution). Young individuals from 10 to 30 cm and from 10 to 40 cm DBH res-
pectively in farmlands and fallows are the most represented (Fig. 6 a,b). Especially in
farmlands, P. biglobosa individuals with more than 30 cm dbh are less represented and
beyond 70 cm DBH they are very scarce. However, there is no significant difference in the
structure of population between fallow and farmlands 2= 0.20; p= 0.65).
IV. DISCUSSION
A. Household social status and use of Parkia biglobosa products
Most households in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve were involved in more than one
income generating activity. This diversification in sources of income may be an important
livelihood strategy to have money over time or to prevent households from falling deeper
into poverty (Mahapatra et al., 2005; Howell et al., 2008). In rural areas in many develo-
ping countries, with decreasing agricultural income, farmers are involved in many other
lucrative activities such as NTFP collection. In the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, wealthy
households with their large size were able to diversify their sources of income more than
poor households did. This supports findings from Shackleton & Shackleton (2006) and
Kamanga et al. (2009) that households with more members had higher total income.
Therefore, the diversification of the source of income could be an important strategy to
Fig. 6 a, b.- Diameter structure of P. biglobosa in farmlands and fallow adjusted to the 3-
parameter-Weibull distribution. The observed diameter in the two habitat types shows a
left dissymmetric; characteristic of monospecific populations with predominance of indivi-
duals with small diameter.
Fig. 6 a, b.- Structure de diamètre de P. biglobosa dans les champs et jachères ajustée à la
distribution de Weibull.
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604
fight against rural poverty.
As in many other developing countries (Ellis, 2000; Osemeobo, 2005; Kamanga et al.,
2009), our result revealed that households headed by female tended to be poor. These
women were either widows or too old with limited access to land. Most of their income
source come from gifts and harvesting NTFPs such as P. biglobosa products.
All the three social categories in our study region relied similarly on P. biglobosa pro-
ducts for their livelihoods. This is contrary to results from previous works which suggest
that poorer households in rural communities make greater use of, and are more reliant upon
NTFPs than are wealthier households (Ambrose-Oji, 2003; Adhikari et al., 2004; Snel,
2004; Mahapatra et al., 2005; Osemeobo, 2005; Shackleton & Shackleton, 2006; Fisher &
Christopher, 2007; Howell et al., 2008; Kamanga et al., 2009). This difference in results
may be explained in part by the fact that our study focused on a single species that is the
most used NTFP by people in our study areas (Vodouhê et al., 2009), while the previous
findings considered all NTFP species used by targeted community. For example,
Shackleton and Shackleton (2006) in their study in the Kat River valley in South Africa
show that a greater proportion of poor households were involved in the sale of one or more
NTFPs and they sold a greater number per household, compared to wealthy and interme-
diate households. In the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, P. biglobosa is an important econo-
mic good and all people used it either for their daily consumption or commercialize it
regardless of their status. The seeds and pulp, the most important products harvested from
P. biglobosa, are available at the end of dry season when everyone faces critical food shor-
tage. This result confirms findings from Burke (2001) and Dalle & Potvin (2004) that
important resources are similarly used by every level of the community. In the other hand,
one would expect the wealthy families that also have more members to be able to harvest
more and get more income from P. biglobosa. But their involvement in many income gene-
rating activities reduce their link with NTFPs.
The equal access to the species in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve may be also one rea-
son for the non-significant difference in the link of different social categories of P. biglo-
bosa products. Contrary to results that there is an unequal access to forest from which
NTFPs were harvested between different components of a community (Adhikari et al.,
2004; Osemeobo, 2005), populations in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve have equal oppor-
tunities to P. biglobosa products. Apart from farmlands in which only land owners can
allow collectors to harvest, P. biglobosa trees in fallows are under less restrictions. This
allows poor households as well as other types of households to harvest the products as nee-
ded. This type of land tenure or land access based on an equal access to a resource could
be an important strategy in reducing income inequality between households in rural areas
in developing countries.
Our study clearly show that land availability have important effect on household link
with P. biglobosa. In areas where people have limited access to land, they harvest more
products to compensate their agricultural revenue. This explains why households from
Gourmantche ethnic group harvested more seeds and pulp of P. biglobosa than other eth-
nic groups. Indeed, people from Gourmantche ethnic group are restricted between the pro-
tected area and the mountain chain and suffer from a lack of land access for agriculture
(Fig. 1). The conversion of land in the protected area for agriculture is not allowed, while
land in the Atakora chain is stony and unfit for agriculture. This finding is consistent with
reports from Murniati et al. (2001), Adhikari et al. (2004) and Kamanga et al. (2009) that
land unavailability is one of the most important factors that determine the degree of linka-
ge between people and forest resources. Thus, the sustainable harvest of P. biglobosa pro-
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605
ducts may be an important source of income for people and will help them to compensate
the decreasing revenue got from agriculture.
B. Structure of Parkia biglobosa population
To understand the effects of human disturbances on forest ecosystems, it is necessary to
predict how these disturbances will affect individual species (Bunker et al., 2005). The
assessment of human impacts on plant population dynamics is complicated by the need for
long-term monitoring data on population trends (Shackleton et al., 2005). For key species
such as P. biglobosa whose fruits (seeds and pulp) are important source of income and
food, it is interesting to use proxy method such as population structure to infer on the dyna-
mics of their population. Our study of the population structure of P. biglobosa shows the
predominance of individuals of small diameter in the two habitats we studied. This sug-
gests good recruitment in lower diameter classes within species populations in the two
most harvested habitat types. According to the previous findings, the high density of small
stems may be also the result of the high capacity of savanna trees to regrow after chopping
via coppice stems (Shackleton & Shackleton, 2000; Luoga et al., 2000; Shackleton et al.,
2005). However, despite the high density of P. biglobosa in fallows contrary to farmlands,
the harvest of these species products is more intense in farmlands. Indeed, P. biglobosa
trees in fallows are under common property regime and it is difficultfor harvesters to maxi-
mize their fruits harvest from these trees. Therefore, they prefer to rely on farmlands trees
where they can exercise their property right. Tree on farmlands benefit more protection
from land owners who only can allow collectors to harvest it. These findings reinforce the
suggestion that users can often self-manage their commons without outside regulation
(Ostrom, 1999; Burke, 2001).
However, comparing the population of P. biglobosa in the two habitat types, there is less
sub-adults and adults individuals in farmlands due to farmers’ management practice that
consists of cutting of the oldest trees on farmlands. According to their experience which is
supported by previous studies (Kessler, 1992; Tomlinson et al., 1995), the maintenance of
adults P. biglobosa trees in the farmland precludes the normal development of annual crops
in their immediate environment. Farmers interviewed believe that crops grown in the area
where that species was removed yield very well. This supports the findings from
(Tomlinson et al., 1995; Teklehaimanot, 2004) that P. biglobosa is important in improving
soil fertility by increasing litter fall from the tree. Where trees have recently been cut or
have died, crop yields are often higher than in the open field, apparently as a result of the
combination of relatively high soil fertility and an absence of shading (Kessler, 1992;
Tomlinson et al., 1995). Therefore, the high density of large stems in fallows contradicto-
ry to farmlands supposes the reconstitution of the species population in this habitat type.
Knowing the high pressure on the land in the area and the importance of farmlands as sour-
ce of species products, it will be important to assist farmers to increase the species densi-
ty in their farms.
With regard to our results, very little evidence is found indicating that harvesting is
damaging the resource. Indeed, despite the decrease of trees density from fallows to farm-
lands, there is no statistical difference concerning tree production. The quasi-totality of
trees in farmlands and those in fallows are in production during the field data collection.
This means that species fruit harvesting has not affect tree production. But the harvesting
of seeds or fruits needs to be undertaken with caution, since heavy harvesting could have
long-term detrimental effects on recruitment of new individuals (Shackelton et al., 2005).
Boot and Gullison (1995) and Peters (1999) have voiced concern over harvesting of fruits
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606
from species in South America, arguing that even species that produce fruit in abundance
have shown marked reduction in recruitment and changes in size structure profile as a
result of fruit harvesting. However, detailed studies and modelling of other species have
concluded the opposite, i.e. a large proportion of fruit can be harvested (e.g. Guédjè et al.,
2003; Emanuel et al., 2005).
V. CONCLUSION
In short, the linkage between people and natural resources in relation to household social
status amongst rural communities should be subjected to critical assessment. We have
shown through the present study that when a resource gets importance all fringe of popu-
lation are interested to use it. Therefore, when conservation ideas will concern species with
high used importance, it will be useful to engage all fringes of the communities.
Concerning the conservation status of the species, very little evidence could be found indi-
cating that harvesting was damaging the resource. Therefore, for renewable resources such
as P. biglobosa it would be possible to reconcile conservation and poverty reduction objec-
tives. But as showed by Shackelton et al. (2005), the harvesting of seeds or fruits needs to
be undertaken with caution, since heavy harvesting could have long-term detrimental
effects on recruitment of new individuals
Acknowledgements - This research was supported by the International Foundation of Sciences, Stockholm,
Sweden through a grant to Fifanou G. Vodouhê (N. D/4158-1). We also thank the Maison des sciences de l’homme
Ange-Guépin and Man and Biosphere – UNESCO for their financial and technical assistance. We thank Orou Gaoue
whose useful comments and fruitful suggestions improved the manuscript considerably. Thanks are also due to
Uzoma Okechukwu, Romain Glèlè-Kakaï, Achille Assogbadjo and Wilfried Bonou for their helpful advice.
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... This trend could be explained by the intensive domestic use and the high economic value reported for the species in West Africa (Koura et al. 2011). Indeed, most of the papers in West Africa addressed traditional uses and socio-economic aspects (Ouédraogo 1995;Vodouhê et al. 2011). This is why scientists should address the sustainable management policies with necessary conservation and domestication actions to ensure P. biglobosa successful cultivation as new crop for improving the livelihoods of rural communities in Africa. ...
... As a result, the marketing chain of P. biglobosa is at two Fig. 6 Overview of traditional uses from different parts of Parkia biglobosa in Africa stages including the sale of the dry seeds and that of the processed seeds (food condiment) (Lamien et al. 2011). A study by Vodouhê et al. (2011) in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in Benin, revealed that P. biglobosa can contribute up to 53% to family net income during its fructification period. However, the processing and production of condiment from the seeds have remained very tedious and traditional with little or low technology input. ...
... Indeed, previous studies point out that trade in IFTs contribute significantly to the rural livelihoods through income generation. Thus, Vodouhê et al. (2011) noted that harvesting of P. biglobosa products (seeds, pulp) accounts for about 53% of the total cash income of the rural households in Pendjari Biosphere Reserve of Benin. However, the livelihood maintenance is related not only to social attributes (e.g. ...
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... E.S.P. Assédé, et al. Acta Oecologica 107 (2020) 103599 construction, and is often the only means for forest dwellers to enter a cash economy (Vodouhê et al., 2009(Vodouhê et al., , 2011. Woodlands also offer bulk of fodder for vast livestock, fuel wood for drying major agricultural crops and fish, construction material for homes and fences in both rural and urban areas, precious woods, raw materials for packaging the wares used in homes and in harvesting farm produce. ...
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Trait diversity is crucial in undertaking the domestication of useful species such as Vitellaria paradoxa which makes a significant contribution to the rural household economy in Africa. This study aims to document the criteria farmers use to distinguish shea trees; how they vary according to age, education level and sociolinguistic group; and their perception of trees’ abundance and production. We surveyed 405 respondents across shea parklands in Benin using a semi-structured questionnaire. We used the Kruskal-Wallis test to evaluate the influence of sociodemographic attributes on relative criteria citation frequency and principal components analysis to characterize farmers’ perception on morphotypes’ abundance, fruits, and butter yields. The five most cited criteria were fruit size (55.5%), tree fertility (15.40%), bark colour (10.51%), timing of production (5.38%), and pulp taste (3.42%). The citation frequency of criteria varied significantly depending on the sociodemographic factors considered. Trees having small fruit (‘Yanki’) were reported to be widespread and high fruit/nuts and butter producers. Farmers perceived five important traits with variable importance depending on the sociocultural factors studied. This finding is a key step toward the development of a shea improvement program that could focus on the morphotype Yanki reported to potentially be a high fruit and butter producer.
... First, the low diversity is perhaps due to the strong selective practice of farmers who prefer to conserve large size trees which provide fodder, fruits as famine food and several other non-timber forest products for local communities. Two main species are spared as a result, including Vitellaria paradoxa for its fruits and seeds used for shea butter and seeds of Parkia biglobosa used to make traditional mustard 37,39,40 . Small diameter trees, considered as non-desirable for this purpose, are instead harvested for fuelwood directly extirpating these species from the assemblages. ...
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The conversion of natural systems into farms and agroecosystems is the main cause of biodiversity loss. In human-dominated landscapes, understanding the interactions between agroforestry systems and adjacent natural vegetation is fundamental to developing sustainable agricultural systems. Species can move between these two systems with natural systems providing the regional pool of species that shape the agricultural values and conservation value of the agroforestry systems. We investigated the influence of neighboring natural habitats on traditional agroforestry systems in the buffer zone of Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in Benin to understand the contribution of regional processes on the quality of agroforestry systems. We expected that agroforestry parklands adjacent to natural vegetation with high species diversity will also have higher plant species diversity. We found no similarity in plant species composition between agroforestry systems and adjacent natural habitats. A small proportion of species in adjacent natural habitats were found in agroforestry systems. The proportion of shared species was not significantly influenced by plant diversity in adjacent natural habitats or the distance from the agroforestry systems to the natural adjacent habitat. However, plant diversity in agroforestry systems was strongly associated with site ethnobotanical values indicating that farmers act as a supplemental but severe environmental filter of the regional species pool. Our study suggests that promoting the plantation of plants with high ethnobotanical use-value is a potentially viable strategy for sustainable agriculture and ecological restoration in Biosphere reserves.
... To this end, rural communities' knowledge of their environmental resources has proven vital for conservation but also for domestication of wild tree species with high economic potential [6]. Indigenous knowledge of species traits can serve as a valuable starting point for understanding natural variations in key phenotypic traits [7]. Based on these traits, farmers recognize different morphotypes, or locally de ned taxa or classi cations for a given species [8]. ...
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Background: Local knowledge and perception are crucial to undertake the domestication of useful species such as Vitellaria paradoxa that makes significant contribution to rural household economy in Africa. This study aims to document shea morphotypes diversity based on folk knowledge especially the main criteria farmers used to distinguish shea trees and to examine the influence of sociodemographic characteristics on that knowledge. Methods: 405 respondents were surveyed across shea parklands in Benin using semi-structured questionnaire. We used the relative citation frequency of criteria followed by Kruskal-Wallis test to evaluate the influence of sociodemographic attributes on local knowledge of Shea morphotypes variation. Factorial Correspondence Analysis described the links between the different morphotypes and parklands, and Principal Components Analysis was used to characterize farmers perception on morphotypes’ abundance, fruits and butter yields. Results: Respondents identified 13 morphotypes based on the five most cited criteria which are fruit size (55.5%), tree fertility (15.40%), bark colour (10.51%), timing of production (5.38%) and pulp taste (3.42%). The citation frequency of classification criteria varied significantly depending on the age, the education level and the sociolinguistic group of the respondent. The Bembèrèkè zone shea parkland revealed higher diversity of morphotypes traits. The small fruit type (‘Yanki’) was reported to be widespread. It produces higher fruit and butter yields according to respondents. Conclusions: From our findings, farmers perceived an important diversity of shea traits that are used to classify morphotypes with economic or sociocultural importance. The revelation of that natural variation in shea tree is a key step toward the development of shea improvement program that could focus on the morphotype Yanki reported to be potentially high in fruit production and butter yield.
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