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Traditional ecological knowledge-based assessment of threatened woody species and their potential substitutes in the Atakora mountain chain, a threatened hotspot of biodiversity in Northwestern Benin, West Africa

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  • Faculty of Agronomic Sciences | University of Abomey-Calavi

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Background Atakora mountains in Benin are a unique but fragile ecosystem, harboring many endemic plant species. The ecosystem is undergoing degradation, and the woody vegetation is dramatically declining due to high anthropogenic actions and recurrent drought. This study aimed to (i) assess the diversity of threatened woody species and (ii) identify their potential substitutes in the three regions of the Atakora mountains namely East Atakora, Central Atakora, and West Atakora. Methods The data were collected during expeditions on surveyed localities through semi-structured individual interviews. Free-listing was used to record threatened woody species and which were important and why. Alpha-diversity indices were used to assess diversity of threatened and important threatened woody species. A correspondence analysis was used to determine the reason supporting their importance. Differences in species composition were assessed using analysis of similarities. A number of potential substitutes were compared among species using generalized linear models. Results A total of 117 woody species (37 families and 92 genera) were identified. The most prominent families were Fabaceae (19.66%), Combretaceae (12.82%), and Moraceae (10.26%), and the richest genera were Ficus (10 species), Combretum (6), and Terminalia (5). Most threatened species differed across regions (East Atakora, Central Atakora, and West Atakora) and included Afzelia africana, Anogeissus leiocarpa, Borassus aethiopum, Diospyros mespiliformis, Khaya senegalensis, Milicia excelsa, and Pterocarpus erinaceus. Most socioeconomically important species (K. senegalensis, Parkia biglobosa, Vitellaria paradoxa, and V. doniana) were used mainly for food, timber, and fuelwood purposes. Old and adult people, and Dendi and Fulfulde sociolinguistic groups had greater knowledge of threatened woody plant species. High intercultural differentiations in species composition were detected between Bariba-Berba and Bariba-Natimba. Knowledge of substitutes also differed across regions with P. erinaceus, Isoberlinia spp., and A. africana being the most cited substitutes. Conclusion Basic data was provided here to inform decision and guide efficient management of woody resources. There was evidence that immediate conservation measures are required for some high economic value woody taxa which were critically threatened. Ex-situ conservation of these species while promoting their integration into agroforestry-based systems were recommended. Besides, community-based management programs and community led initiatives involving knowledgeable people from different horizons will lead to a long-lasting conservation of these threatened resources. Keywords: Beta-diversity, Atakora mountain chain, Socio-cultural factors, Forest resources, ANOSIM
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R E S E A R C H Open Access
Traditional ecological knowledge-based
assessment of threatened woody species
and their potential substitutes in the
Atakora mountain chain, a threatened
hotspot of biodiversity in Northwestern
Benin, West Africa
Pierre Onodje Agbani
1
, Konoutan Médard Kafoutchoni
2
, Kolawolé Valère Salako
2*
, Rodrigue Castro Gbedomon
2
,
Ahuéfa Mauricel Kégbé
2
, Hahn Karen
3
and Brice Sinsin
1
Abstract
Background: Atakora mountains in Benin are a unique but fragile ecosystem, harboring many endemic plant
species. The ecosystem is undergoing degradation, and the woody vegetation is dramatically declining due to high
anthropogenic actions and recurrent drought. This study aimed to (i) assess the diversity of threatened woody species
and (ii) identify their potential substitutes in the three regions of the Atakora mountains namely East Atakora, Central
Atakora, and West Atakora.
Methods: The data were collected during expeditions on surveyed localities through semi-structured individual
interviews. Free-listing was used to record threatened woody species and which were important and why. Alpha-
diversity indices were used to assess diversity of threatened and important threatened woody species. A correspondence
analysis was used to determine the reason supporting their importance. Differences in species composition were assessed
using analysis of similarities. A number of potential substitutes were compared among species using generalized
linear models.
Results: A total of 117 woody species (37 families and 92 genera) were identified. The most prominent families
were Fabaceae (19.66%), Combretaceae (12.82%), and Moraceae (10.26%), and the richest genera were Ficus (10 species),
Combretum (6), and Terminalia (5). Most threatened species differed across regions (East Atakora, Central Atakora, and
West Atakora) and included Afzelia africana,Anogeissus leiocarpa,Borassus aethiopum,Diospyros mespiliformis,
Khaya senegalensis,Milicia excelsa,andPterocarpus erinaceus. Most socio-economically important species (K. senegalensis,
Parkia biglobosa,Vitellaria paradoxa,andV. doniana) were used mainly for food, timber, and fuelwood purposes. Old
and adult people, and Dendi and Fulfulde sociolinguistic groups had greater knowledge of threatened woody plant
species. High intercultural differentiations in species composition were detected between Bariba-Berba and Bariba-
Natimba. Knowledge of substitutes also differed across regions with P. erinaceus,Isoberlinia spp., and A. africana being
the most cited substitutes.
(Continued on next page)
* Correspondence: salakovalere@gmail.com
2
Laboratoire de Biomathématiques et dEstimations Forestières (LABEF),
Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques (FSA), Université dAbomey-Calavi, 04 BP
1525 Cotonou, Bénin
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
(http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-018-0219-6
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
(Continued from previous page)
Conclusion: Basic data was provided here to inform decision and guide efficient management of woody resources.
There was evidence that immediate conservation measures are required for some high economic value woody taxa
which were critically threatened. Ex-situ conservation of these species while promoting their integration into
agroforestry-based systems were recommended. Besides, community-based management programs and community-
led initiatives involving knowledgeable people from different horizons will lead to a long-lasting conservation of these
threatened resources.
Keywords: Beta-diversity, Atakora mountain chain, Socio-cultural factors, Forest resources, ANOSIM,
Background
Forests represent major intergenerational reservoirs of
resources sustaining local economy, enhancing food se-
curity, providing non-timber forest products and wood,
conserving biodiversity, and offering multiple ecosystem
services [14]. However, forest covers are dramatically
declining in West Africa [5,6], especially in Benin [7,8],
critically threatening the species they host and com-
promising ecosystem services they provide [9]. Located
in the so-called Dahomey Gapwhich is a low-rainfall
dry corridor separating Guinean rainforest blocks [10],
the Republic of Benin does not have as much forest
zones compared to its neighboring countries such as
Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. Nevertheless, more
than 22% of forest areas and 30% of savannah have been
lost in Benin from 1995 to 2006 [8] and according to
FAO [11], it was 50,000 ha. year
1
of forest cover that
has been destroyed in the period from 2000 to 2010. A
study on land use and land cover change in Central and
Northern Benin revealed that land clearance for agricul-
ture, wood extraction, and demographic growth are
major causes of forest depletion [12]. Also, illegal settle-
ments and agricultural encroachment on the protected
forests [13] and expansion of illegal timber trade are
considered as additional threats to the loss of forest re-
sources. Yet, the most serious cause of the extinction of
many woody species in the wild in Benin is undoubtedly
the selective logging to which they may be subjected [2,
7,14]. Atakora mountain chain is a region of great eco-
logical and species diversity in the country [15]. It har-
bors an outstanding flora including three endemic
genera (Vitellaria, Pseudocedrela, and Haematostaphis)
to the Sudanian zones, two plant species endemics to
Benin (Cyperus beninensis (Samain, Reynders & Goetgh)
Huygh and Ipomoea beninensis Akoègninou, Lisowski &
Sinsin), and Thunbergia atacorensis Akoègninou &
Lisowski, an endangered species endemic to the insel-
bergs of Benin and Togo [16,17]. Unfortunately, over--
logging, exploitation of granitic rock plates, and
agricultural exploitation of the mountain chain lead to
the degradation of plant communities and threat the in-
tegrity of this ecosystem. Furthermore, the study of plant
community dynamics across phytogeographical districts
revealed a highly regressive ecosystem in the Atakora
chain [12]. Thereof, particular attention should be de-
voted to this area and conservation efforts should target
multiple taxa.
The traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is a valu-
able component in the sustainable management of
resources and conservation of threatened or rare species
and biodiversity, as well as protected areas [1820].
Indeed, it is well established that the knowledge of local
people, developed upon the experiences acquired over
generations, can complement scientific ecological know-
ledge for sustainable management of forest ecosystems
[21,22]. Actually, based on ecological knowledge of local
people on the decline or the conservation status of dif-
ferent species, many authors have proposed forest
management strategies [2325] and developed methods
for using that knowledge efficiently [26].
As a prerequisite for conservation strategies of the
Atakora chain, the major aim of this study was to pro-
vide the background for efficient management of the
threatened woody species in the Atakora mountain
chain region in Benin. Specifically, the study aims to (i)
assess the diversity of threatened woody species (TWS)
based on localstraditional ecological knowledge (TEK),
(ii) assess the relationship of TEK with socio-
demographic factors of informants (age, gender, and
sociolinguistic groups), and (iii) identify their potential
substitutes in the area.
Methods
Study area
This study was conducted in 2015, and data presented
here were collected over a 6-month period. The study
was carried out in the Atakora mountain chain region in
Benin (6°12°50N and 1°3°40E) (Fig. 1). The Atakora
chain region includes East Atakora (EA), Central
Atakora (CA), and West Atakora (WA) zones. The cli-
mate is of Sudanian type and is influenced by the
Atakora mountain chain in the state district of Atakora
and with a tendency toward a Sahelian climate north-
ward. The rainfall is irregular and unimodal with one
rainy season and a dry season which last up to 7 months.
The annual rainfall varies between 900 and 1300 mm,
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 2 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
and the mean annual temperature is 27 °C [27]. The re-
lief is mountainous with poor sandy, rocky, and
encrusted soils and some shallows. Soil is ferruginous.
The main sociolinguistic groups encountered in the area
are Bariba, Berba, Biali, Dendi, Ditamari, Fulfulde,
Lamba, Natimba, Otamari, and Waama [28].
Sampling and data collection
Twelve state districts belonging to the study regions
were selected, and in each district, 2 to 12 localities were
randomly selected for the survey (Fig. 1). A total of 267
informants were surveyed throughout the study area,
taking into account the geographical location, gender,
age, and sociolinguistic group (Table 1). Only informants
relatively aged who are expected to have experience and
knowledge on the dynamic of woody resources over time
were considered. Age of interviewees ranged from 25 to
120 years. The data were collected during expeditions
using individual semi-structured interviews and field
visits in the selected localities. The questionnaire for the
interviews comprised two parts. The first was related to
the socio-demographic data of the respondents (name,
age, sex, sociolinguistic group, locality) while the second
concerned the respondents knowledge on the TWS
using the free-listing technique. In each locality, inter-
viewees were randomly selected among men and women
in different households. However, because of social
constraints that made women not very accessible, the
study ended up sampling a lot more men than women
(16 women and 251 men). Each informant was asked
first to list as much threatened woody species s/he
knows. In assigning a woody species to as threatened
versus not threatened, informants were asked to mainly
consider the availability of the woody species through (i)
whether they travel more distances or spent more energy
to find a particular species that they used to find easily
in the past and (ii) whether the extent of the distribution
of the woody species has shrunk as compared to its pas
extent of distribution. These criteria used for rigorous
Fig. 1 Map showing the study area and indicating the surveyed localities
Table 1 Sample composition according to location, gender, age,
and sociolinguistic groups
Zone Total
EA CA WA
Gender Women 3 1 12 16
Men 101 86 64 251
Age Age < 40 2 15 14 31
40 age 60 41 36 31 108
Age > 60 61 36 31 128
Sociolinguistic group Bariba 75 12 0 87
Berba 0 0 43 43
Dendi 17 2 0 19
Fulfulde 12 5 0 17
Natimba 0 15 15 30
Otamari 0 23 18 41
Waama 0 30 0 30
Total 104 87 76 267
EA East Atakora, CA Central Atakora, WA West Atakora
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 3 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
IUCN assessment [29] are also commonly used to assess
species availability in ethnobotanical study (see de
Albuquerque [30]). Finally, the informant was asked to
mention whether or not each species s/he cited is im-
portant and to give the reason of its importance in terms
of category of uses. Individual interviews were followed
by field visits accompanied with key informants to
collect species specimens.
Data analysis
Collected plant samples were identified at the botanical
garden at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin, using
field herbariums. Data processing consisted in grouping
interviewees by sociolinguistic group, gender, age, and
zone, then computing descriptive statistics (frequencies,
percentages, means ± standard error) for species, genera,
and botanical families to draw barplots and generate ta-
bles at different levels. Three age groups were created:
(a) 40 years old hereafter called young,(b) from 40
to 60 years called adultfrom now on, and (c) 60 years
referred to as oldfrom now on. This age categorization
followed the United NationsWorld Population Aging
2013 [31] where children and adolescents are under the
age of 20 years; young adults (youngin this study) are
between 20 and 39 years of age, middle-aged adults
(adultin this study) are aged from 40 to 59 years, and
older persons (oldin this study) are aged 60 years or
over. To compare the number of threatened, and im-
portant species cited by the respondents among age
groups, zones and sociolinguistic groups, analysis of
variance (ANOVA) or Kruskal-Wallis test was per-
formed when appropriate. ANOVA and the Student
Newman Keuls (SNK) post hoc test were used when
normality and homoscedasticity assumptions were met,
and Kruskal-Wallis test and the Dunn post hoc test
when normality and homoscedasticity assumptions were
not met [32]. The Dunn test was used as post hoc test
instead of the Tukey-Kramer-Nemenyi test because it is
appropriate for groups with unequal sizes [33].
Normality and homoscedasticity assumptions were
tested using Shapiro-Wilk and Levenes tests, respect-
ively. The Dunn post hoc test was performed using the
package FSA [34] in R software [35]. Since the number
of women in the study (16) was very unbalanced for
making robust inference [36], no statistical comparison
was made regarding gender, although descriptive statis-
tics have been reported. To assess the reason supporting
the importance of threatening woody species, a corres-
pondence analysis was applied on the contingency table
of categories of use and important species. A corres-
pondence analysis was performed using the FactomineR
package [37]. To determine the most threatened woody
species mentioned by the respondents in each zone, the
average order of citation was computed for each species
and plotted against the frequency of citation of the spe-
cies. The rationale of using this method relied on the
fact that when people are asked to freely list items, they
tend to mention the most prominent one first [38,39].
Most threatened species are species with high frequency
of citation and low-average order of citation while least
threatened species are species with low frequency of
citation and high-average order of citation. Analysis of
similarities (ANOSIM) [40] was used to test for differ-
ences in threatened and important woody species
composition among age group, region, and sociolinguis-
tic group. ANOSIM analysis was performed based on
Jaccard dissimilarity distance and 1000 permutations in
the package vegan [41]. Generalized linear models
(GLM) with Poisson (or quasi-Poisson) error distribu-
tion were performed to test for differences among
regions as regards the average number of substitutes
cited by respondents. Relative frequency of citation of
substitutes were computed by region and for each of the
most threatened woody species in order to determine
the most cited substitutes per region and for each TWS.
A non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) was
used to assess the degree of distinctiveness of the substi-
tute species across the three regions. NMDS was per-
formed in the vegan package using the function
metaMDS and based on Bray distance [42]. Finally, we
looked at whether the potential substitutes belong to the
same functional group as the substituted species in term
of life forms. This was done to assess flexibility in identi-
fying substitutes but also understand whether locals can
go over functional group and why.
Results
Taxonomic diversity of threatened woody species
A total of 117 species belonging to 92 genera and 37
families were collected and identified as threatened
woody species in the study area (Table 2). The most
represented family in East Atakora (EA) was Fabaceae
with 18 species, followed respectively by Moraceae (9
species), Malvaceae (7 species), Rubiaceae, Meliaceae,
and Combretaceae (5 species each) (Fig. 2). In Central
Atakora (CA), the richest family was also Fabaceae (17
species), followed by Moraceae (5), and Malvaceae (5).
In West Atakora (WA), Fabaceae (13 species) and Com-
bretaceae (12 species) stood respectively first and second
as the families with the highest species richness (Fig. 2).
Overall, in the study area, the most represented families
were Fabaceae (23 species), Combretaceae (15 species),
Moraceae (12 species), Malvaceae (7 species), Anacardia-
ceae (6 species), Rubiaceae (5 species), Meliaceae (5
species), and Arecaceae (5 species), and other families
had less than 5 species (Fig. 2). Twenty-six families were
represented by only one species (Table 2). The richest
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 4 of 19
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Table 2 Threatened woody species collected in the Atakora mountain chain region in Benin
No. Voucher
specimen
code
Botanical family Species Frequency of citations (%) CS
EA
(n= 104)
CA
(n= 87)
WA
(n= 76)
Whole
(n= 267)
Benin IUCN
1 2005 Anacardiaceae Haematostaphis barteri Hook. fil. 0.00 5.75 0.00 1.87 nf nf
2 2617 Anacardiaceae Lannea acida A. Rich. 8.65 0.00 2.63 4.12 nf nf
3 1528 Anacardiaceae Lannea barteri (Oliv.) Engl. 1.92 0.00 2.63 1.50 nf nf
4 1388 Anacardiaceae Lannea microcarpa Engl. & K. Krause 14.42 1.15 35.53 16.10 nf nf
5 2399 Anacardiaceae Sclerocarya birrea (Sond.) Kokwaro 0.00 5.75 38.16 12.73 nf nf
6 823 Anacardiaceae Spondias mombin Jacq. 0.00 5.75 0.00 1.87 nf nf
7 1996 Annonaceae Annona senegalensis Pers. 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
8 1749 Annonaceae Hexalobus monopetalus (A. Rich.) Engl. & Diels 8.65 3.45 0.00 4.49 nf nf
9 372 Annonaceae Uvaria chamae P. Beauv. 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37 nf nf
10 1818 Apocynaceae Holarrhena floribunda (G.Gon) T. Durand & Schinz 7.69 0.00 0.00 3.00 nf nf
11 4640 Apocynaceae Saba comorensis (Bojer) Pichon 4.81 5.75 0.00 3.75 nf nf
12 3680 Apocynaceae Strophanthus hispidus A.P. De Candolle 9.62 9.20 0.00 6.74 nf nf
13 344 Araliaceae Cussonia arborea Hochst. Ex A.Rich. 6.73 0.00 0.00 2.62 nf nf
14 4158 Arecaceae Borassus aethiopum Mart. 83.65 81.61 28.95 67.42 VU LC
15 4190 Arecaceae Elaeis guineensis Jacq. 41.35 28.74 0.00 25.47 nf LC
16 3547 Arecaceae Hyphaene thebaica (L.) Mart. 0.00 0.00 17.11 4.87 nf nf
17 578 Arecaceae Phoenix reclinata Jacq. 13.46 0.00 0.00 5.24 nf nf
18 4437 Arecaceae Raphia sudanica A.Chev. 36.54 14.94 0.00 19.10 nf DD
19 3178 Bignoniaceae Kigelia africana (Sprague) Bidgood & Verdc. 47.12 14.94 0.00 23.22 VU nf
20 4284 Burseraceae Commiphora africana (Rich.) Engl. 2.88 1.15 0.00 1.50 nf nf
21 4459 Cannabaceae Celtis integrifolia Lam. 4.81 1.15 0.00 2.25 nf nf
22 940 Cannabaceae Chaetachme aristata Planch. 0.00 5.75 0.00 1.87 nf nf
23 1531 Chrysobalanaceae Maranthes polyandra (Benth.) Prance 3.85 0.00 0.00 1.50 nf nf
24 375 Clusiaceae Pentadesma butyracea Sabine 3.85 5.75 0.00 3.37 VU nf
25 1053 Combretaceae Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Guill. & Perr. 49.04 64.37 92.11 66.29 nf nf
26 637 Combretaceae Combretum adenogonium Steud. ex A. Rich. 0.00 0.00 15.79 4.49 nf nf
27 1146 Combretaceae Combretum collinum (Kotschy) Okafor 0.00 0.00 15.79 4.49 nf nf
28 2583 Combretaceae Combretum glutinosum Perr. Ex DC. 0.00 0.00 15.79 4.49 nf nf
29 1226 Combretaceae Combretum micranthum G. Don 7.69 4.60 17.11 9.36 nf nf
30 2456 Combretaceae Combretum molle R. Br. Ex G. Don 0.00 0.00 10.53 3.00 nf nf
31 1295 Combretaceae Combretum platypterum (Welw.) Hutch. & Dalz. 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
32 Combretaceae Combretum spp 0.00 0.00 15.79 4.49 nf nf
33 2560 Combretaceae Guiera senegalensis J.F.Gmel. 0.00 0.00 15.79 4.49 nf nf
34 701 Combretaceae Pteleopsis suberosa Engl. & Diels 2.88 9.20 2.63 4.87 nf nf
35 2010 Combretaceae Terminalia avicennioides Guill. & Perr. 7.69 0.00 22.37 9.36 nf nf
36 1568 Combretaceae Terminalia laxiflora Engl. 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75 nf nf
37 1055 Combretaceae Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr. 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75 nf nf
38 3639 Combretaceae Terminalia mollis M. Laws. 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75 nf nf
39 5228 Combretaceae Terminalia superba Engl. & Diels 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 VU nf
40 3127 Dipterocarpaceae Monotes kerstingii Gilg 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37 nf nf
41 497 Ebenaceae Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst. Ex A.DC. 50.96 54.02 86.84 62.17 nf nf
42 2488 Euphorbiaceae Alchornea cordifolia (Shumach. & Thonn.) Müll.Arg. 0.00 0.00 9.21 2.62 nf nf
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 5 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Table 2 Threatened woody species collected in the Atakora mountain chain region in Benin (Continued)
No. Voucher
specimen
code
Botanical family Species Frequency of citations (%) CS
EA
(n= 104)
CA
(n= 87)
WA
(n= 76)
Whole
(n= 267)
Benin IUCN
43 3138 Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia poissonii Pax 2.88 1.15 0.00 1.50 nf nf
44 3537 Fabaceae Acacia nilotica (L.) Willd. & Delile 9.62 0.00 13.16 7.49 nf nf
45 1560 Fabaceae Afzelia africana Pers. 93.27 93.10 42.11 78.65 EN VU
46 2191 Fabaceae Albizia zygia (DC.) J.F.Macbr. 1.92 4.60 0.00 2.25 nf nf
47 2091 Fabaceae Andira inermis (Wright) DC. 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37 nf nf
48 5163 Fabaceae Bauhinia reticulata DC. 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
49 1723 Fabaceae Bauhinia thonningii Schum. 0.00 0.00 6.58 1.87 nf nf
50 2518 Fabaceae Berlinia grandiflora (Vahl) Hutch. & Dalziel 6.73 9.20 0.00 5.62 nf nf
51 686 Fabaceae Burkea africana Hook. 9.62 11.49 2.63 8.24 nf nf
52 2299 Fabaceae Cassia sieberiana DC. 5.77 11.49 6.58 7.87 nf nf
53 629 Fabaceae Daniellia oliveri (Rolfe) Hutch. & Dalziel 19.23 1.15 0.00 7.87 nf nf
54 1816 Fabaceae Detarium microcarpum Guill. & Perr. 0.00 0.00 23.68 6.74 nf nf
55 226 Fabaceae Entada africana Guill. & Perr. 3.85 0.00 0.00 1.50 nf nf
56 1816 Fabaceae Erythrina senegalensis DC. 1.92 9.20 0.00 3.75 nf nf
57 2500 Fabaceae Faidherbia albida (Delile) A. Chev. 0.00 1.15 9.21 3.00 nf nf
58 1277 Fabaceae Isoberlinia doka Craib & Stapf 32.69 11.49 23.68 23.22 nf nf
59 6038 Fabaceae Isoberlinia tomentosa (Harms) Craib & Stapf 27.88 11.49 23.68 21.35 nf nf
60 4198 Fabaceae Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) G. Don 44.23 70.11 65.79 58.80 nf nf
61 1845 Fabaceae Pericopsis laxiflora (Baker) Meeuwen 12.50 4.60 0.00 6.37 nf nf
62 1054 Fabaceae Prosopis africana (Guill. & Perr.) Taub. 14.42 19.54 43.42 24.34 nf nf
63 1690 Fabaceae Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir. 80.77 88.51 85.53 84.64 EN nf
64 3516 Fabaceae Swartzia madagascariensis Desv. 0.00 3.45 0.00 1.12 nf nf
65 1715 Fabaceae Tamarindus indica L. 37.50 13.79 26.32 26.59 nf nf
66 1788 Fabaceae Tephrosia vogelii Hook.f. 0.00 1.15 0.00 0.37 nf nf
67 1851 Gentianaceae Anthocleista djalonensis A. Chevalier 7.69 9.20 0.00 5.99 nf nf
68 876 Lamiaceae Vitex doniana Sweet 37.50 47.13 60.53 47.19 nf nf
69 2053 Loganiaceae Strychnos innocua Delile 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75 nf nf
70 2269 Malvaceae Adansonia digitata L. 33.65 17.24 40.79 30.34 nf nf
71 3984 Malvaceae Bombax buonopozense Beauv. 21.15 18.39 0.00 14.23 nf nf
72 1765 Malvaceae Bombax costatum Pellegrin & Vuillet 48.08 51.72 51.32 50.19 nf nf
73 1710 Malvaceae Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. 62.50 18.39 5.26 31.84 nf nf
74 4206 Malvaceae Cola gigantea A. Chevalier 7.69 0.00 0.00 3.00 nf nf
75 1549 Malvaceae Sterculia setigera Del. 7.69 3.45 0.00 4.12 nf nf
76 2100 Malvaceae Triplochiton scleroxylon K. Schum. 2.88 0.00 0.00 1.12 EN LC
77 1934 Meliaceae Ekebergia capensis Sparrm. 6.73 0.00 0.00 2.62 nf nf
78 2136 Meliaceae Khaya grandifoliola C. DC. 19.23 8.05 0.00 10.11 EN VU
79 2436 Meliaceae Khaya senegalensis (Desv.) A. Juss. 97.12 98.85 98.68 98.13 EN VU
80 834 Meliaceae Pseudocedrela kotschyi (Schweinf.) Harms 21.15 8.05 2.63 11.61 nf nf
81 1299 Meliaceae Trichilia emetic Vahl 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37 nf nf
82 B163 Moraceae Antiaris toxicaria (Engl.) C. C. Berg 30.77 42.53 46.05 38.95 nf nf
83 910 Moraceae Ficus glumosa Del. 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
84 1275 Moraceae Ficus gnaphalocarpa Steud. ex Miq. 0.00 0.00 26.32 7.49 nf nf
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 6 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
genera in EA were respectively Ficus (7), Lannea (3),
Khaya (2), Isoberlinia (2), Combretum (2), and Bombax
(2). In CA, the most represented genera were respect-
ively Ficus (3), Khaya (2), Isoberlinia (2), and Bombax
(2) while in WA, the most represented genera were
Combretum (6), Terminalia (4), Lannea (3), Isoberlinia
(2), and Ficus (2). Overall, Ficus stood as the first genera
with 10 species, followed by Combretum (6 species),
Terminalia (5 species), Lannea (3 species), and Khaya,
Isoberlinia, Bombax, and Bauhinia each one represented
by two species (Fig. 3).
In EA, Khaya senegalensis (Meliaceae), Afzelia
africana (Fabaceae), Milicia excelsa (Moraceae),
Borassus aethiopum (Arecaceae), Pterocarpus erinaceus
(Fabaceae), Ceiba pentandra (Malvaceae), and Diospyros
mespiliformis (Ebenaceae) were respectively the most
cited woody species (cited by at least 50% of informants),
while in CA, the most cited threatened woody species
Table 2 Threatened woody species collected in the Atakora mountain chain region in Benin (Continued)
No. Voucher
specimen
code
Botanical family Species Frequency of citations (%) CS
EA
(n= 104)
CA
(n= 87)
WA
(n= 76)
Whole
(n= 267)
Benin IUCN
85 2670 Moraceae Ficus ingens (Miq.) Miq. 0.00 1.15 0.00 0.37 nf nf
86 1017 Moraceae Ficus ovata D. Don 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37 nf nf
87 5183 Moraceae Ficus platyphylla Del. 2.88 20.69 5.26 9.36 nf nf
88 2430 Moraceae Ficus sur Forssk. 3.85 0.00 0.00 1.50 nf nf
89 859 Moraceae Ficus thonningii Bl. 0.00 9.20 0.00 3.00 nf nf
90 994 Moraceae Ficus trichopoda Bak. 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
91 1226 Moraceae Ficus umbellata Vahl 4.81 0.00 0.00 1.87 nf nf
92 2380 Moraceae Ficus vallis-choudae Del. 4.81 0.00 0.00 1.87 nf nf
93 1476 Moraceae Milicia excelsa (Welw.) C. C. 93.27 72.41 13.16 63.67 EN VU
94 3350 Myrtaceae Syzygium guineense Keay 17.31 0.00 0.00 6.74 nf nf
95 518 Ochnaceae Lophira lanceolata Van Tiegh. ex Keay 9.62 11.49 0.00 7.49 nf nf
96 2666 Ochnaceae Ochna schweinfurthiana F. Hoffm. 0.00 18.39 0.00 5.99 nf nf
97 1316 Olacaceae Olax subscorpioidea Oliver 2.88 18.39 0.00 7.12 nf nf
98 4284 Oleaceae Chionanthus niloticus (Oliv.) Stearn 9.62 8.05 0.00 6.37 nf nf
99 1477 Opiliaceae Opilia amentacea Roxb. 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
100 2032 Phillanthaceae Uapaca togoensis Pax 4.81 1.15 0.00 2.25 nf nf
101 346 Phyllanthaceae Margaritaria discoidea (Baill.) G.L.Webster 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75 nf nf
102 2208 Poaceae Oxytenanthera abyssinica (A.Rich.) Munro 15.38 25.29 3.95 15.36 nf nf
103 196 Polygalaceae Securidaca longipedunculata Fresen. 9.62 4.60 0.00 5.24 nf nf
104 2240 Proteaceae Protea madiensis (Beard) Chisumpa & Brummit 7.69 0.00 0.00 3.00 nf nf
105 2065 Rubiaceae Breonadia salicina (Vahl) Hepper & J.R.I.Wood 6.73 2.30 0.00 3.37 nf nf
106 688 Rubiaceae Crossopteryx febrifuga (Afzel. ex G. Don) Benth. 3.85 0.00 0.00 1.50 nf nf
107 2541 Rubiaceae Gardenia erubescens Stapf & Hutch. 1.92 1.15 0.00 1.12 nf nf
108 2089 Rubiaceae Mitragyna inermis (Willd.) Kuntze 1.92 9.20 35.53 13.86 nf nf
109 2463 Rubiaceae Sarcocephalus latifolius (Sm) E.A.Bruce 6.73 9.20 3.95 6.74 nf nf
110 1911 Rutaceae Afraegle paniculata (Schum.) Engl. 18.27 54.02 35.53 34.83 EN nf
111 4500 Rutaceae Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Lam.) B. Zepernick & F.K.
Timler
3.85 28.74 19.74 16.48 VU nf
112 309 Salicaceae Oncoba spinosa Forssk. 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75 nf nf
113 872 Sapindaceae Blighia sapida Koenig 14.42 16.09 0.00 10.86 nf nf
114 261 Sapindaceae Zanha golungensis Hiern 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37 nf nf
115 1806 Sapotaceae Vitellaria paradoxa C.F.Gaertn. 49.04 55.17 44.74 49.81 VU VU
116 1845 Ximeniaceae Ximenia americana L. 13.46 0.00 0.00 5.24 nf nf
117 2575 Zygophyllaceae Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Delile 4.81 0.00 18.42 7.12 nf nf
EA East Atakora, CA Central Atakora, WA West Atakora, CS conservation status, VU vulnerable, EN endangered, LC least concern, DD data deficiency, nf not found
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 7 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Fig. 2 Richer families of threatened woody species in the Atakora mountain region
Fig. 3 Richer genera of threatened woody species in the Atakora mountain region
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 8 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
were respectively K. senegalensis,A. africana,P. erina-
ceus,B. aethiopum,M. excelsa,Parkia biglobosa
(Fabaceae), Anogeissus leiocarpa (Combretaceae),
Vitellaria paradoxa (Sapotaceae), Afraegle paniculata
(Rutaceae), D. mespiliformis (Ebenaceae), and Bombax
costatum (Malvaceae). In WA, the threatened woody
species most mentioned by respondents were respect-
ively K. senegalensis,A. leiocarpa,D. mespiliformis,P.
erinaceus,P. biglobosa,Vitex doniana (Lamiaceae), and
B. costatum. Three species were commonly more cited
in the three regions: K. senegalensis,P. erinaceus, and D.
mespiliformis (Fig. 4).
Most threatened woody species
The most threatened woody species in East and Central
Atakora (K. senegalensis,A. africana,M. excelsa,P.
erinaceus,and B. aethiopum) were different from those
identified in West Atakora which were K. senegalensis,
A. leiocarpa,P. erinaceus,and D. mespiliformis (Fig. 5).
Therefore, people from East and Central Atakora regions
mentioned different woody species as the most threat-
ened compared to people from West Atakora region, ex-
cept for K. senegalensis that was considered as one of
the most threatened woody species in all regions.
Taxonomic diversity of threatened woody species perceived
as socio-economically important
Among the inventoried threatened woody species, those
that were important for the informants also varied
across regions as presented on Fig. 6. For people in East
Atakora (EA), K. senegalensis was the most important
threatened woody species (cited by at least 50% of re-
spondents). The species mentioned as the most import-
ant in Central Atakora (CA) were respectively K.
senegalensis,P. biglobosa, and V. paradoxa. In West
Atakora region (WA), K. senegalensis,V. doniana, and P.
biglobosa were the most important. Irrespective of re-
gions, Khaya senegalensis was the most important
threatened woody species (Fig. 6).
Result from the correspondence analysis performed on
important TWS and their use categories indicated that
the two first axes encountered for 79.49% of the total
variation in the data. The first axis opposed food use cat-
egory (negative pole) to timber and fodder use categories
(positive pole). The second axis was formed by fuelwood
use-category in the positive pole (Fig. 7). Projection of
the important threatened woody species into the axis
system identified three groups of species. The first group
included the species used mainly for food which were
Adansonia digitata,B. costatum,B. aethiopum,Blighia
sapida,Elaeis guineensis,P. biglobosa,Sclerocarya
birrea,V. paradoxa,V. doniana, and Zanthoxylum
zanthoxyloides. The second group was formed by species
such as A. africana,Bombax buonopozense,K. grandifo-
liola,K. senegalensis,andP. erinaceus not only used
mainly for timber and fodder purposes but also as ser-
vice wood and for medicinal purposes. The third group
formed by species mostly used as fuelwood, included
Prosopis africana,A. leiocarpa,D. mespiliformis,I. doka,
I. tomentosa, and Lophira lanceolata (Fig. 7).
Threatened and socio-economical important woody
species: gender, generation, geographical location,
and sociolinguistic group differences
The number of threatened woody species (TWS) cited
per respondent varied significantly among age categories
(ANOVA; p= 0.030). Adult (14.82 ± 0.45) and old (14.57
Fig. 4 Top 20 more cited threatened woody species
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 9 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
± 0.47) informants cited more species than younger ones
(12.19 ± 0.54; Fig. 8). Men cited 14 ± 0.31 species, and
women informant mentioned 11.38 ± 0.81 threatened
woody species. The number of species was not
compared between genders. Respondents from EA men-
tioned more threatened species (15.58 ± 0.51) compared
to those from CA and WA (13.79 ± 0.49 and 13.47 ± 0.5,
respectively). The number of TWS cited per respondent
varied also among the sociolinguistic groups (Kruskal-
Wallis test; p= 0.003). Dendi (16.58 ± 0.59) and Fulfulde
(16.59 ± 1.5) people cited higher number of species while
Natimba (13.07 ± 0.57), Otamari (12.59 ± 0.57), and
Fig. 5 Most threatened woody species in the Atakora chain region of Benin
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 10 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Waama (12.8 ± 0.51) cited less species. Bariba (15.28 ±
0.62) and Berba (14.56 ± 0.78) people cited average num-
ber of species (Fig. 8).
The number of TWS rated as socio-economically
important was not influenced neither by age (Kruskal-
Wallis test; p= 0.798) nor by region (Kruskal-Wallis test;
p> 0.05). Women mentioned 5.56 ± 0.13 species as im-
portant while men mentioned 5.42 ± 0.1 species. The
number of TWS important to people also varied among
sociolinguistic groups (Kruskal-Wallis test; p= 0.006).
Bariba (5.52 ± 0.18), Berba (5.23 ± 0.17), Dendi (6 ± 0.67),
Waama (5.6 ± 0.42), and Fulfulde (5.41 ± 0.12) men-
tioned significantly higher number of TWS as socio-
economically important than Otamari (5.44 ± 0.13)
people. Natimba (4.93 ± 0.11) mentioned less important
threatened woody species (Fig. 8).
The similarity among socio-demographic factors (age,
zone, and sociolinguistic group) as regards the compos-
ition of TWS cited by respondents was revealed by the
matrix of Jaccards similarity coefficient (Table 3).
Threatened species composition varied significantly
among age categories (R= 0.057, p= 0.0009). Coefficient
of similarity between young and old people (0.374) was
significantly lower resulting in a high difference between
the species mentioned by younger and older informants.
Moreover, the composition of TWS mentioned by re-
spondent was very similar between adult and old, and to
some extent between young and adult (Jaccards coeffi-
cients of 0.783 and 0.431, respectively). Analysis of simi-
larity among regions was globally significant (R= 0.221,
p= 0.0009). Threatened woody species mentioned by
people from West Atakora (WA) were significantly dif-
ferent from those cited either by people from Central
Atakora (CA) and people from East Atakora (EA)
(Jaccards coefficients of 0.318 and 0.368, respectively,
Table 3). About half of the species cited by people from
WA were also cited by respondents from CA (Jaccards
coefficient of 0.576). On the other hand, TWS compos-
ition also varied significantly among sociolinguistic
groups (ANOSIM; R= 0.206, p= 0.0009). Analysis of
similarity coefficient matrix revealed that TWS cited by
Bariba informants were significantly different from those
cited by Berba (0.275) and Natimba (0.272); meanwhile,
species mentioned by the two latter were relatively more
similar from each other (0.418; Table 3). Species cited by
Berba were significantly more different than similar to
Dendi, Fulfulde, Otamari, and Waama (Jaccards similar-
ity coefficients of 0.358, 0.333, 0.355, and 0.306, respect-
ively). Likewise, there was a highly significant difference
between Bariba and Otamari (0.319), and Fulfulde and
Otamari (0.370). At least 40% of the species cited by
Dendi people were similar to those mentioned by
Natimba (0.418) and Otamari (0.466) informants. There
was no significant difference between Bariba, Dendi,
Fulfulde, Otamari, and Waama regarding the species
mentioned. Consequently, these sociolinguistic groups
knew the same TWS. Overall, there was a great intercul-
tural difference as regards the TWS mentioned by
respondents and the greater differentiation was detected be-
tween Bariba and Berba, and between Bariba and Natimba.
Similarity matrix based on Jaccards coefficient
showed significant differences in the composition of
important woody species among age categories (R=0.050;
p= 0.0020), zones (R=0.109; p= 0.0009) and sociolinguis-
tic groups (R=0.130; p=0.0009; Table 2). Species
Fig. 6 Top 20 threatened woody species more mentioned as important
in the Atakora mountain region
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 11 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
mentioned as important by middle-aged informants were
very similar to those cited by older people (Jaccardscoef-
ficient of 0.703). Therefore, adults knew as much import-
ant species than old people while young informants knew
lesser important woody species compared to adults and
older informants (Jaccards coefficients of 0.403 and 0.328,
respectively). The coefficient of similarity between East
and West Atakora was significantly lower (0.299) likewise
between EA and CA (0.362). The coefficient of similarity
between Central and the West Atakora was the highest
(0.452). Thus, people from EA knew very different import-
ant species compared to people from WA, and the latter
knew more similar species than informants from CA. The
analysis of similarity (Table 3) revealed that species cited
by Bariba people as important were highly different from
those cited by Berba and by Waama informants. Species
composition as mentioned by respondents was moderately
similar among Bariba, Berba, Dendi, Fulfulde, Natimba,
and Otamari (Jaccards coefficient between 0.305 and
0.429). Almost half of the species mentioned by Waama
people were similar to those mentioned by Berba,
Natimba, Otamari, and Dendi. Therefore, there was high
to moderate differences in the important woody species
composition with respect to sociolinguistic groups and the
higher differences were found between Bariba and Berba,
and between Bariba and Waama.
Fig. 7 Projection of important threatened woody species in the correspondence analysis system axes formed by use categories
Fig. 8 Number of threatened and socio-economically important species mentioned according to socio-demographic factors
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 12 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Potential substitutes of threatened woody species:
between-region differences
Differences in substitute species were assessed for the
most threatened woody species common to the three re-
gions (Table 4). Overall, average number of substitute
species significantly differed among regions for K. sene-
galensis,B. aethiopum, and A. africana (GLM; p0.05;
Fig. 9). In East Atakora (EA), the average number of
substitute species was highest for K. senegalensis (0.6 ±
0.12), followed by V. paradoxa (0.21 ± 0.08), A. africana
(0.16 ± 0.06), and B. aethiopum (0.12 ± 0.07), while in
Central Atakora (CA), K. senegalensis (0.59 ± 0.08), B.
aethiopum (0.53 ± 0.12), and A. africana (0.27 ± 0.05) re-
spectively had the higher number of substitute. In West
Atakora (WA), K. senegalensis (0.25 ± 0.05) had the
greater average number of substitute, followed by A.
africana (0.21 ± 0.11) while no substitute was mentioned
for B. aethiopum. Therefore, informants from EA and
those from CA knew more substitutes of K. senegalensis
than those from WA. Moreover, people from CA knew
in average more substitute of B. aethiopum than people
from the other regions. Although the average number of
substitutes of A. africana cited by informants were rela-
tively similar among regions, people from CA mentioned
more substitute species than those from WA and EA re-
spectively. Average number of substitute species did not
vary for V. paradoxa,P. biglobosa,P. erinaceus,A. toxi-
caria,D. mespiliformis, and B. costatum (GLM; p> 0.05;
Fig. 9). No substitute species was cited for V. doniana
and A. leiocarpa in the three regions.
Most of substitutes were also woody species except for
Glycine max and Arachis hypogaea, two herbs that were
substitute for P. biglobosa and V. paradoxa respectively
(Fig. 10, Table 5). Substitute species more cited by re-
spondents varied across regions. P. erinaceus was mainly
mentioned as substitute of A. africana in EA (25.29% of
respondents) and to some extent in the CA (5.77%)
while T. indica was mostly cited in WA (3.95% of infor-
mants, Table 5). Khaya spp. and P. erinaceus were
equally more cited as substitute of B. aethiopum in CA
(cited by 14.94% of informants). More cited substitute
species for K. senegalensis were I. doka (19.24%) and I.
tomentosa (13.46%) in EA, P. erinaceus and A. africana
in CA (40.23 and 14.94%, respectively), and P. erinaceus
in WA (23.68%). The most cited substitute species for P.
biglobosa was A. digitata in the Atakora chain (2.30%),
while A. digitata and G. max were respectively more
cited in WA (5.26 and 2.63%). For V. paradoxa, people
mentioned more P. butyracea as substitute in EA
(6.73%) and in CA (4.60%) while A. hypogaea was most
cited in WA (2.63%; Table 5). Overall, P. erinaceus was
the most cited substitute species, mentioned by 38.2% of
informants. The species was mainly mentioned as substi-
tute for K. senegalensis,A. africana, and B. aethiopum
(22.47, 10.49, and 5.24% of respondents, respectively).
The second more cited substitute species was Isoberlinia
doka (7.49% of all informants), followed by A. africana
(6.74%), both mentioned for K. senegalensis.
There was a weak discrimination of substitute species
across regions (Fig. 11). A full overlap of confidence el-
lipses was observed between EA and CA indicating a
high similarity between substitute species mentioned in
these two regions. In contrast, overlapping of confidence
ellipse was partial between WA and EA or CA indicating
that substitute species composition was relatively dis-
tinct between WA and CA or between WA and EA.
Discussion
This study assessed the traditional knowledge on threat-
ened woody species (TWS) in the Atakora mountain
chain region of Benin and its relationship with socio-
demographic attributes of locals. It further evidences the
substitute species as resource depletion adaptation.
The diversity of TWS in the Atakora chain region is
estimated at 117 species, representing about 4.17% of
the national flora of Benin estimated at 2807 species
[43]. About 12% of the identified TWS are red listed in
Benin and in IUCN list, with Afraegle paniculata,Afze-
lia africana,Khaya grandifoliola,K. senegalensis,Milicia
excelsa,Pterocarpus erinaceus,andTriplochiton
Table 3 Similarity matrix (Jaccards coefficients) among sociolinguistic groups as regards the threatened and important woody species
Bariba Berba Dendi Fulfulde Natimba Otamari Waama
Bariba 0.233
***
0.317
**
0.164 ns 0.224 ns 0.305
***
0.283
**
Berba 0.275
***
0.324
**
0.304 ns 0.370
***
0.387
***
0.483
***
Dendi 0.424 ns 0.358
***
0.345
***
0.484
*
0.405
**
0.444 ns
Fulfulde 0.412 ns 0.333
***
0.558 ns 0.421
*
0.269 ns 0.320 ns
Natimba 0.272
*
0.453
***
0.418
**
0.457
*
0.429
***
0.538
**
Otamari 0.319
***
0.355
***
0.466
**
0.370
**
0.449
***
0.484
***
Waama 0.360 ns 0.306
***
0.491 ns 0.511 ns 0.447
**
0.415 ns
Data in italics are Jaccards coefficients of important woody species
ns non-significant
*
Pvalue 0.05,
**
Pvalue 0.01,
***
Pvalue 0.001. Differences were tested using Analysis of Similarities (ANOSIM)
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 13 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
scleroxylon, highly endangered in the country, the others
being vulnerable [16]. These observations are supporting
the status of Atakora region and its mountain chain,
known to be a hotspot of biodiversity in Benin [15],
hosting three endemic genera (Vitellaria,Pseudocedrela,
and Haematostaphis) to the Sudanian zone, the two
Benineses endemic plant species (Cyperus beninensis
and Ipomoea beninensis), as well as Thunbergia atacor-
ensis, an endangered species endemic to the inselbergs
of Benin and Togo [16,17].
The identified TWS are of different socio-economic
importance to local people in Atakora region. K. senega-
lensis,P. biglobosa,V. paradoxa, and V. doniana were
reported to be of high socio-economic importance to
local people due to their use for multiple purposes
including food, medicine, and culture, congruently to re-
cent observation of Heubach [44]. Indeed, in the
Atakora region, K. senegalensis is abundantly used as
timber, fodder, and service wood and to some extent as
medicine [45]. P. biglobosa is reported to contribute to
up to 53% of income of nearly all households in the re-
gion of Atakora chain. Its fermented seeds are even
richer in protein than meat [46] and are highly sought
for seasoning soup [1]. V. doniana is a popular leafy
vegetable with high economic importance, which sweet
prune-like fruits are largely consumed and even sold
whereas other parts of the plant are used in the treat-
ment of various ailments [47]. V. paradoxa fruits pulp is
edible and widely consumed by local people. The shea-
butter obtained by processing its kernels is used in trad-
itional medicine and cosmetic industry and is at the core
of important national and international economic activ-
ities while its tree serves as fuelwood and building
material [48]. However, the traditional ecological know-
ledge of TWS and their related socio-economic import-
ance were influenced by geographical location, generation,
and sociolinguistic group, supporting the general assump-
tion that the relative importance of species and forest
products to populations is context dependent [49]. In this
study, there was a relatively higher traditional knowledge
on TWS in East Atakora in comparison to other parts of
the Atakora region. This discrepancy may be related to
the availability of plant resources [30] and suggests that
woody species might be more diverse and abundant in the
East region than the others. Similarly, K. senegalensis and
P. biglobosa were found to be most important TWS in the
East Atakora while V. paradoxa and V. doniana were
reported to be the most important in Central and West
Atakora. The discrepancy in traditional ecological know-
ledge and its related importance were also observed within
regions, ruled by age and sociolinguistic groups. With re-
gard to age categories, the traditional knowledge on TWS
was found to be higher with older people, evidencing a life
learning process [50]. Finally, as also observed by
Fandohan et al. [51]forTamarindus indica in the same
region, the traditional knowledge related to TWS varied
among sociolinguistic groups, evidencing thus cultural-
specific knowledge on TWS. As a result, future strategies
for the conservation of TWS should account for
geographical location, age, gender, and sociolinguistic
groups to copy with the differences.
Although local people in Atakora region showed ex-
tended knowledge on TWS, paradoxically, not all the
TWS are of socio-economic importance to local people.
Table 4 Most threatened woody species common to the three
zones
Threatened woody species Zones
EA CA WA
Afzelia africana Pers. x x x
Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Gill. & Perr. x x x
Antiaris toxicaria (Engl.) C. C. Berg x x x
Bombax costatum Pellegrin & Vuillet x x x
Borassus aethiopum Mart. x x x
Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst. Ex A.DC. x x x
Khaya senegalensis (Desv.) A. Juss x x x
Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.)G.Don x x x
Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir. x x x
Vitellaria paradoxa C.F.Gaertn x x x
Vitex doniana Sweet x x x
Ceiba pentandra (L) Geartn x x
Elaeis guineensis Jacq. x x
Milicia excelsa (Welw.) C.C. Berg x x
Adansonia digitata L. x x
Tamarindus indica L. x x
Isoberlinia doka Craib & Stapf x
Isoberlinia tomentosa (Harms) Craib & Stapf x
Kigelia africana (Sprague) Bidgood & Verdc x
Raphia sudanica A. Chev. x
Afraegle paniculata (Schum.) x x
Prosopis africana (Guill. & Perr.)Taub. x x
Bombax buonopozense Beauv. x
Ficus platyphylla Del. x
Oxytenanthera abyssinica (A.Rich.) x
Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Lam.)
B.Zepernick & F.K. Timler
x
Detarium microcarpum Guill. & Perr. x
Ficus gnaphalocarpa Steud. Ex Miq. x
Lannea microcarpa Engl & K. Krause x
Mitragyna inermis (Willd.) Kuntze x
Sclerocarya birrea (Sond.) Kokwaro x
EA East Atakora, CA Central Atakora, WA West Atakora
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 14 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
These observations suggest that the threats to some
woody species in Atakora regions may not be from
direct pressure (overexploitation) from local people, but
rather likely from indirect anthropogenic actions (e.g.,
forest degradation, urbanization), from global change
(climate change, large conversion of landscape into
farmlands), or from external sources (users from other
regions, riparian to Atakora regions). Therefore, future
strategies should take into account these diverse and
specific threats to TWS.
Whatever the threat sources, the TWS are under pres-
sure with declining populations. Local people in Atakora
develops TWS depletion adaptation strategy by using
substitute plant species. The number of potential substi-
tutes to TWS was particularly higher for some species
(e.g., K. senegalensis,A. africana, and B. aethiopum), in-
dicating a relatively high level of uses of these resources
in this region and their ongoing rarefaction due to high
human pressure. The substitutes to a given TWS varied
with regions. For instance, P. erinaceus and T. indica
Fig. 9 Potential substitutes for the common more threatened woody species across regions. p=pvalue from the generalized linear model (GLM)
of Poisson/quasi-Poisson
Fig. 10 Number and life form of the potential substitutes for each common more threatened woody species
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 15 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Table 5 Frequency of substitute mentioned by respondents for each more threatened woody species
Common more
threatened species
Substitutes LF Zones (%)
EA (n= 104) CA (n= 87) WA (n= 76) Whole (%)
Afzelia africana Khaya spp Tree 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75
Tectona grandis L.f. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Eucalyptus spp Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.)de Wit Tree 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75
Pterocapus erinaceus Poir. Tree 5.77 25.29 0.00 10.49
Isobelinia spp Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Tamarindus indica L. Tree 0.00 0.00 3.95 1.12
Anogeissus leiocarpa 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Antiaris toxicaria Pterocapus erinaceus Poir. Tree 0.00 1.15 0.00 0.37
Bombax costatum Daniellia oliveri (Rolfe)Hutch. & Dalziel Tree 0.00 1.15 0.00 0.37
Borassus aethiopum Elaeis guineensis Jacq. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Gill. & Perr. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Khaya spp Tree 0.96 14.94 0.00 5.24
Afzelia africana Pers. Tree 0.96 1.15 0.00 0.75
Pterocapus erinaceus Poir. Tree 0.96 14.94 0.00 5.24
Isobelinia spp Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Diospyros mespiliformis Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir. Tree 0.00 1.15 0.00 0.37
Khaya senegalensis Acacia sieberiana DC. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Afzelia africana Pers. Tree 4.81 14.94 0.00 6.74
Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir. Tree 6.73 40.23 23.68 22.47
Khaya spp Tree 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Borassus aethiopum Mart. Tree 0.00 2.30 0.00 0.75
Ekebergia capensis Sparrm. Tree 19.23 0.00 0.00 0.75
Isoberlinia doka Craib & Stapf Tree 13.46 0.00 0.00 7.49
Isoberlinia tomentosa (Harms) Craib & Stapf Tree 4.81 0.00 0.00 5.24
Tectona grandis L.f. Tree 5.77 0.00 0.00 2.25
Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.)de Wit Tree 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75
Pseudocedrela kotschyi (Schweinf.) Harms Tree 6.73 0.00 0.00 2.62
Parkia biglobosa Adansonia digitata L. Tree 0.00 2.30 5.26 2.25
Glycine max (L.)Merr. Herb 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75
Prosopis africana (Guill. & Perr.)Taub. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Acacia auriculiformis A.Cunn. ex Benth. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Pterocarpus erinaceus Acacia sieberiana DC. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Isoberlinia spp. Tree 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75
Tectona grandis L.f. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Khaya spp Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.)de Wit Tree 1.92 0.00 0.00 0.75
Vitellaria paradoxa Anacardium occidentale L. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Mangifera indica L. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Arachis hypogaea L. Herb 0.00 0.00 2.63 0.75
Pentadesma butyracea Sabine Tree 6.73 4.60 0.00 4.12
Acacia sieberiana DC. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Prosopis africana (Guill. & Perr.)Taub. Tree 0.96 0.00 0.00 0.37
Vitex doniana 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
LF life form, EA East Atakora, CA Central Atakora, WA West Atakora
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 16 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
were substitutes to A. africana in EA and WA, respect-
ively, suggesting then that the mechanism of TWS sub-
stitution is spatial, probably driven socio-cultural
considerations, availability and abundance of the substi-
tute, and capacity of the substitute to adequately com-
pensate and maximize the utility devoted to the primary
TWS. In addition, the mechanism of TWS substitution
appears to be temporally dynamic. Indeed, P. erinaceus
reported to be substituted to A. africana and K. senega-
lensis during this study is getting very rare in the
Atakora region with high conservation issues [52] and
being replaced by Isoberlinia doka and I. tomentosa
(Fabaceae) also mentioned as substitutes.
From this study, the substitute species were selected
mostly among the same pool of life form (tree and
woody species), genera, or families to maximize the
utility of the substitute. However, while guarantying the
satisfaction, plant selection from the same pool may re-
duce the freedom level of choice and contribute to the
selective depletion of plant groups (genera or families).
To be sustainable, the mechanism of TWS substitution
may go beyond the same pool and explore other func-
tional groups. For instance, in Atakora regions, P.
biglobosa was substituted with the soybean Glycine max
while V. paradoxa was replaced by Arachis hypogea.The
substitution pattern of P. biglobosa makes sense as soy-
bean is rich enough to compensate the protein supply of
the fermented and processed seeds of P. biglobosa which
is a popular ingredient locally used in sauce.
Overall, the substitution mechanism is not always a sus-
tainable panacea for controlling the depletion of TWS, es-
pecially by selecting in a same pool of threatened species.
However, the substitution of a perennial woody species by
an annual plant could represent a sustainable alternative
to slow down the decline of the TWS.
Conclusion
The study provides data on the diversity of, and local
ecological knowledge on, threatened woody species cur-
rently found in the Atakora mountain chain region in
Benin. Their families and genera vary with respect to the
zone and informants showed a good level of knowledge
about these species. Therefore, community-based man-
agement programs involving people from different areas,
cultures, and ages for gender-sensitive experience
sharing will be a judicious strategy for sustainable con-
servation of those threatened woody resources and their
ecosystem in the study area. The most threatened spe-
cies including Khaya senegalensis,Pterocarpus erinaceus,
Borassus aethiopum,Anogeissus leiocarpa, and Diospyros
mespiliformis need urgent conservation actions. We rec-
ommend ex-situ conservation of these species while pro-
moting their integration into agroforestry-based systems.
Local communities rely on a variety of substitutes as
adaptation measure to the rarefaction of daily used spe-
cies. The choice of surrogate is dynamic and evolves in
space and time. Therefore, a threatened and socio-
economically important species in one region may be a
Fig. 11 Ordination diagram of a NMDS of substitutes of 11 threatened woody species in three zones. The stress value was 0.002, and confidence
ellipses were built at 95% confidence level
Agbani et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:21 Page 17 of 19
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
potential substitute in another, and minor species of
today will likely become of great importance in the fu-
ture. However, people develop unsustainable practices
that compromise the survival of minor species which are
prone to extinction, and in doing so, they may run out
of substitutes later. Strategies for conservation of woody
species should then target not only the socio-
economically important threatened species but also the
minor species, for the next generations. Furthermore,
the central government, scientists, NGOs, and actors at
different levels must be aware of their responsibility and
crucial role in educating people to conserve nature as
our universal common inheritance.
Abbreviations
ANOSIM: Analysis of similarities; ANOVA: Analysis of variance; CA: Central
Atakora; EA: East Atakora; FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization;
GLM: Generalized linear model; IUCN: International Union for Conservation
of Nature; NMDS: Non-metric multidimensional scaling; SNK: Student
Newman Keuls; TEK: Traditional ecological knowledge; TWS: Threatened
woody species; WA: West Atakora
Acknowledgements
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of informants who
participated in this research.
Funding
Not applicable
Availability of data and materials
The datasets supporting the conclusions of this article are included within
the article and its additional files.
Authorscontributions
PA designed the study with advice from HK and SB and collected the data.
KMK, KVS, and PA designed the manuscript structure with the contribution
of RCG. KMK and AMK analyzed the data under the supervision of KVS. KMK
and AMK drafted the manuscript. KVS and RCG revised and critically improved
the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
No ethical approval was needed for this study. Prior to data collection, the
participants gave oral consent to participate in the study.
Consent for publication
The respondents were informed that their opinions were to be published in
a scientific paper and gave their approval.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
PublishersNote
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published
maps and institutional affiliations.
Author details
1
Laboratoire dEcologie Appliquée (LEA), Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques
(FSA), Université dAbomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526 Tri postal Cotonou, Bénin.
2
Laboratoire de Biomathématiques et dEstimations Forestières (LABEF),
Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques (FSA), Université dAbomey-Calavi, 04 BP
1525 Cotonou, Bénin.
3
Botanical Institute, J. W. Goethe-University Frankfurt,
Siesmayerstr.70, 60054 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Received: 31 December 2017 Accepted: 5 March 2018
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... These trees were selected randomly and georeferenced using the Global Positioning System (GPS). Since the species were somewhat rare in the study area because of the anthropogenic pressure (Lawin et al., 2016;Agbani et al., 2018), apparently adult trees presenting no morphological deformation were systematically considered. Data collecting was performed on the fruits and leaves of the species. ...
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Although Bobgunnia madagascariensis is an important tree species known in traditional medicinal with a well-recognized galactogenic properties, it remains poorly documented. In Benin, little information is available on this species which is highly threatened in its natural habitat. In this study, the morphological variability of 51 trees of B. madagascariensis from Sudanian (28 trees) and Sudano-Guinean zones (23 trees) of Benin was evaluated using 20 descriptors, including 7 qualitative and 13 quantitative traits. A hierarchical ascending classification followed by principal component analysis, analysis of variance and quantitative traits correlation analysis were used to describe the intraspecific diversity of B. madagascariensis in the study areas. Analysis of morphometric data revealed the existence of three morphological groups within the species with a distinct morphological organization among the trees sampled. The discriminating morphological descrip-tors included the total height of the tree, the diameter at 1.30m, the bole height, the leaf length, the number of leaflets of the leaf, the fruit weight, the fruit length and width, as well as the seed length and weight. Individuals in group 3 had the highest values for nine of the 10 most discriminating traits. A significant and positive correlation was found between trees' total height and seed length, as well as between fruit traits (fruit weight, fruit length) and seed traits (seed weight, seed length). In addition, the diameter at 1.3 m was positively correlated with the leaf width. The results also revealed a significant difference between the trees observed in the Sudanian zone and those in the Sudano-Guinean zone with the number of leaflets, the petiole length, the fruits width, the seeds weight and length as discriminating traits. This study provided preliminary data on the morphological variability of B. madagascariensis and will serve as basis for a selection, conservation and domestication program. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of SAAB.
... Orthotrope, plagiotrope, mixte, agéotrope Bien que le taux d'endémisme spécifique soit très faible, dans l'état actuel des connaissances, quelques espèces -comme Ipomea beninensis, Cissus kouandenensis (Adjanohoun et al., 1989), Thunbergia atacoriensis (Akoegninou et Lisowski, 2004 ;Akoegninou et al., 2006) -sont signalées comme en danger et endémiques aux inselbergs du Bénin et du Togo (Neuenschwander et al., 2011 ;Dourma et al., 2012 ;Agbani et al., 2018). Ces espèces endémiques sont toutes des lianes qui pourraient jouer le rôle de plantes ornementales dans les jardins publics, espaces verts prisés, ruelles et maisons des cités urbaines. ...
... In the sub-Sahelian zone, Ouedraogo et al. [35] confirm high vulnerability of Adansonia digitata, Diospyros mespiliformis, Faidherbia albida, Khaya senegalensis, Lannea microcarpa, Parkia biglobosa, Pterocarpus erinaceus and Vitellaria paradoxa. All the 10 most used species of this study are also considered endangered by local populations of northern Benin [66]. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of plant species in Burkina Faso insufficient data are available for a full IUCN assessment [11,27]. ...
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Context In Burkina Faso, Sudanian savannas are important ecosystems for conservation of plant diversity. Due to desertification and insecurity, population migration from the North has increased human density and anthropogenic pressure on southern savannas. This study aims to investigate knowledge of local populations on ecosystem services (ES) and perception of their conservation. Method Individual semi-structured interviews about knowledge on ES and ecosystem conservation issues were conducted. Informants were selected according to sociocultural groups and sex in three areas of different land use intensity: the communal area of Dano (CAD), the Total Wildlife Reserve of Bontioli (TWRB) and the Game Ranch of Nazinga (GRN). The use value and vulnerability index of each plant species were determined. A cluster analysis and a principal component analysis were carried out to identify the particular knowledge of different ethnic groups. Results Overall, 163 plant species were cited for fifteen ES. Provisioning services were most frequently cited (100%), regulating services second most frequently (92.47%). Entire plants were exclusively used for ES with non-material benefits (protection against wind, for shading, soil fertility, erosion prevention, tourism and religion). The ten species contributing most to ES provision were Vitellaria paradoxa , Parkia biglobosa , Diospyros mespiliformis , Adansonia digitata , Lannea microcarpa, Faidherbia albida , Khaya senegalensis , Afzelia africana, Ficus sycomorus , Pterocarpus erinaceus. Seven of them were identified as highly vulnerable. Around GRN, migrants and natives shared the same knowledge, while migrants in TWRB used the ES only to a small extent due to restricted contact with the native population. Migrants and natives of GRN had more knowledge on tourism and crafts services while the natives of CAD and TWRB made use of the services that sustain the quality of the agricultural land and meet their primary needs. To reduce further degradation, different communities suggested unanimously raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. The most quoted motivations to preserve ecosystems were vegetation sustainability and village development. Conclusion This study documented important local knowledge-based information to guide cultivation of local multipurpose species and initiation of communities to practice best management strategies for sustainable conservation of biodiversity.
... Thus, the importance of the plant in the livelihood of people is still unappreciated. Agbani et al. (2018) reported that at Atakora Mountain Range, P. erinaceus is Ouinsavi et al. 201 used by the people to substitute others threatened woody species, such as Khaya senegalensis (Desv.) A. Juss, Afzelia africana Smith ex Pers., Borassus aethiopum Mart., but they do not provide quite details about the local uses of P. erinaceus. That is required to understand the importance of the plant for the people life, its specific uses, and which potential risk for the conservation and restoration of relict stands. ...
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Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir, a spontaneous species from Guinean savannahs of West Africa, functions as socioeconomic and cultural livelihood in rural areas of Benin. This study improved the knowledge of people about the uses of P. erinaceus organs connected to the sociolinguistic diversity in Benin, intending to enhance the pathways of conservation and sustainable management of the species. A total of 506 respondents from nine big sociolinguistic groups were interviewed using a survey questionnaire. To show the diversity of the organs/parts used as well as the categories of uses, principal component analyzes were performed to matrices including the relative frequencies of citation grouping the socio-demographic factors and the categories of uses, together under the packages FactoMineR and factoextra. The results revealed the use of all P. erinaceus organs in various forms of use for various purposes and make it an important species of livelihood for the local people. Sixty-four diseases, symptoms, or pathologies are cured by using P. erinaceus organs. These various uses of P. erinaceus varied among the sociolinguistic groups. The results of the study suggest the need to define conservation strategies for the natural stands of P. erinaceus to ensure sustainable management of the species.
... C.C.Berg, and Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir. (Agbani et al. 2018). Traditional knowledge is also often relevant for managing natural resources for conservation purposes (Liu et al. 2002). ...
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Background and aims – Many Aloe species are globally threatened due to overharvesting for trade and habitat destruction. CITES regulates their international trade. In Tanzania, 50% of all existing Aloe species had previously been assessed, though some of these assessments were Data Deficient. For those with sufficient data, an update is required as the rate of decline has rapidly increased over the last years. Material and methods – We estimated Area of Occupancy (AOO), Extent of Occurrence (EOO), and number of locations for 22 Tanzanian Aloe species using the Geospatial Conservation Assessment software (GeoCAT). We assessed the reasons leading to their decline based on direct field observations and community perceptions. Key results – We revised the conservation status of 22 Aloe species; two were assessed as Critically Endangered, ten as Endangered, five as Vulnerable, and five as Least Concern. We re-discovered the Critically Endangered Aloe boscawenii, which had not been seen in Tanzania for more than six decades. We propose to downgrade the endemic Aloe dorotheae, Aloe leptosiphon, and Aloe flexilifolia from Critically Endangered to a lower threat level. The community perception on Aloe species availability did not accurately reflect their categorisation based on the IUCN criteria B. We identified agricultural activities and climate change effects as the two main threats to Tanzanian Aloe species.Conclusion – We conclude that overall numbers are declining for 22 Aloe species in Tanzania, mainly due to human activities. We recommend the implementation of laws and policies to protect their natural habitats.
... Despite its occurrence in more than 10 West and Central African countries, the only proper ethnobotanical investigations conducted on the species were limited to some sociolinguistic groups in Benin [22,23] and only sparsely documented information existed on its uses from Nigeria, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire [24,25]. Consequently, there is a paucity of information on the species' traditional ecological knowledge, that is, the body of knowledge accumulated on the species by local communities through history, by means of direct experience and contact with nature and transmitted from generation to generation [26,27]. The information is necessary to gauge the sustainability of exploitation and contribute to profiling adequate conservation measures [28,29], especially in the centre of origin of the species. ...
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Despite the growing interest in the miracle plant worldwide due to its numerous applications, the threats and the wild harvest of the species hamper its sustainable utilisation. Moreover, traditional knowledge so far documented on the species is limited to a narrow geographical coverage of its natural distribution range, which is West and Central Africa. This study analysed the use variation and knowledge acquisition pattern of the miracle plant among West African sociolinguistic groups and deciphered the drivers of populations’ willingness and readiness to engage in cultivating the species. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 510 respondents purposively selected from nine sociolinguistic groups in Benin and Ghana using the snowball sampling approach. Information was collected on respondents’ socio-demographic profile, miracle plant ownership, plant parts used and preparation methods, knowledge of the species bioecology, perceived threats on the species, willingness to cultivate, maximum acreage to allocate to the species and maximum price to pay for a seedling. Descriptive statistics, generalized linear models, classification and regression tree models were used for data analysis. The miracle plant ownership mode depended on the age category. Sociolinguistic affiliation, level of schooling, migratory status and religion significantly affected the number of trees owned. We recorded 76 uses belonging to six use categories. The overall use-value of the miracle plant significantly varied according to the respondent sociolinguistic affiliation, main activity and religion. Men were the main source of knowledge and knowledge is mainly acquired along the family line. Knowledge related to food and social uses was mostly acquired from parents and people of the same generation, while magico-therapeutic and medicinal use-related knowledge were inherited from parents and grandparents. Sociolinguistic affiliation, awareness of taboos and market availability were the most important drivers of respondent willingness to cultivate the miracle plant. While the respondent’s level of schooling and perception of plant growth rate determined the maximum acreage they were willing to allocate to the species in cultivation schemes, their main activity, sociolinguistic affiliation and knowledge of the species time to fruiting drove the maximum purchase price they were willing to offer for a seedling of the species. Our findings provide key information for the promotion of miracle plant cultivation in the study area.
... De Oliveira et al. 2007;Conde et al. 2017) or by directly asking local people which species are most threatened (e.g. Suárez et al. 2012;Agbani et al. 2018). ...
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Forest restoration projects involving active planting should prioritize species that are useful to local communities, while also considering species' threat status and resistance to local stress factors, but scientific knowledge on these criteria is scarce, especially in understudied tropical ecosystems. We hypothesized that local ecological knowledge can help to fill this gap. Through interviews with 47 local experts and 197 randomly selected households in 8 rural communities of the tropical dry forests of northwestern Peru and southern Ecuador, we identified the species perceived as most useful, most threatened and most resistant to local stress factors. To better understand the studied local ecological knowledge, we also explored the following research questions and their implications for species selection decisions: (a) How does species' potential usefulness compare to their active use? (b) How does species' perceived threat status relate to their usefulness? (c) Does local knowledge on species' resistance to local stress factors corroborate scientific knowledge? We found large differences between the potential and active use of species and illustrate how data on both can yield useful insights. Further, we found that species' perceived threat status was mainly linked to their usefulness for construction wood, and that the vast majority of local perceptions on species' threat status and stress resistance coincided with scientific knowledge. Our findings illustrate the large potential of local ecological knowledge for improving species selection strategies and thereby increasing the success of forest restoration efforts worldwide. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Thus, some species used for several purposes (K. senegalensis, and P. erinaceus) are in threatened status in Benin (Agbani et al., 2018;Lokonon et al., 2018). ...
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Ethnopharmacological relevance: Plant parts are often used by local people to treat their affections. This study addressed the classification of diseases treated with woody species in Benin and the dependence of medicinal use of woody species on climatic zones. Aim of the study: It reports (i) the main diseases categories treated with woody species in Benin and changes across climatic zones, and (ii) the woody species involved and their treatment according to climate conditions. Materials and methods: Ethnobotanical interviews were undertaken using a semi-structured questionnaire. Five hundred and ninety medicinal plant professionals (healers, traders…) were interviewed in the whole country. Frequency of citation and informant consensus factor were calculated to highlight the main human international diseases categories and woody species used for their treatment. A principal component analysis was performed to determine the occurrence of diseases categories in different climatic zones. Results: About 77.27% of international diseases categories were treated using woody species in Benin. One hundred diseases in 17 international diseases categories were identified. Among them, six diseases categories were highlighted as important. In the Guineo-Congolean zone, the highest rate of diseases categories was observed, and the lowest was found in the Sudanian zone. The epidemiological status of some phytodistricts was worrisome. In our study, 128 woody species belonging to 96 genera and 36 families were reported, and among them, 7 were the most used as treatments. Conclusions: There is a lack of consensus among traditional healers about which woody species to use. Many different species were used to treat a given diseases category. Also, information concerning their organ composition was not available in the literature, for the majority of species. Biological and chemical investigations are thus needed for a better valorization of the most frequently used plants in the future.
... African locust bean is a good source of woody products and, most importantly, rich in nutrition and medicine. The pods containing-seeds are highly nutritious and rich in protein (Agbani et al., 2018;Ouédraogo et al., 2012;Tringali, Spatafora, & Longo, 2000). Locally, the seeds are processed into spicy food/condiments in soups while the pods and husks are sources of animal feed (Fetuga, Babatunde, & Oyenuga, 1974; Rendu, Saleun, & Auger, 1993). ...
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Parkia biglobosa, commonly called African locust bean, is rich in nutrition and pharmacological properties that can be explored in the food and drug industry. However, its cultivation and production is declining and genetically threatened in its natural ranges. This study determined the genetic diversity among 19 landraces of P. biglobosa collected from different agroecological areas (AEAs) in Nigeria using microsatellite markers. Genomic DNA was extracted using the modified sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) protocol, while amplification was performed using five primer pairs of PbL02, PbL03, PbL04, PbL05, and PbL09. Genetic diversity was analyzed using descriptive statistics and a dendrogram. The five markers were highly polymorphic, with a mean of 70.25 %. The polymorphic information content (PIC) was relatively high, ranging from 0.51 to 0.89, with a mean of 0.72. The allelic richness per locus ranged from 5 to 15, while major allele frequency ranged from 0.26 to 0.63 with a mean of 0.41. The gene diversity within a population (Hs) was quite low, with a mean of 0.28 ± 0.01, while the estimate of gene flow among the landraces was relatively high (17.50-2.03). The Coefficient of gene differentiation (Gst) of 0.10 indicates that about 10 % of the total genetic divergence was among populations and 90 % within the populations. The dendrogram based on the UPGMA method classified the 19 landraces into three distinct genetic clusters that shared quite some alleles and allocated landraces from different AEAs into the same cluster except cluster II. The study identified four genetically distinct landraces (Pb18, Pb16, Pb17, and Pb19) that are potentially good as parental lines for heterosis crossing. In contrast, cluster I with diverse landraces could be exploited for commercial cultivation, and conservation purposes.
... African locust bean is a good source of woody products and, most importantly, rich in nutrition and medicine. The pods containing-seeds are highly nutritious and rich in protein (Agbani et al., 2018;Ouédraogo et al., 2012;Tringali, Spatafora, & Longo, 2000). Locally, the seeds are processed into spicy food/condiments in soups while the pods and husks are sources of animal feed (Fetuga, Babatunde, & Oyenuga, 1974; Rendu, Saleun, & Auger, 1993). ...
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Parkia biglobosa, commonly called African locust bean, is rich in nutrition and pharmacological properties that can be explored in the food and drug industry. However, its cultivation and production is declining and genetically threatened in its natural ranges. This study determined the genetic diversity among 19 landraces of P. biglobosa collected from different agroecological areas (AEAs) in Nigeria using microsatellite markers. Genomic DNA was extracted using the modified sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) protocol, while amplification was performed using five primer pairs of PbL02, PbL03, PbL04, PbL05, and PbL09. Genetic diversity was analyzed using descriptive statistics and a dendrogram. The five markers were highly polymorphic, with a mean of 70.25 %. The polymorphic information content (PIC) was relatively high, ranging from 0.51 to 0.89, with a mean of 0.72. The allelic richness per locus ranged from 5 to 15, while major allele frequency ranged from 0.26 to 0.63 with a mean of 0.41. The gene diversity within a population (Hs) was quite low, with a mean of 0.28 ± 0.01, while the estimate of gene flow among the landraces was relatively high (17.50-2.03). The Coefficient of gene differentiation (Gst) of 0.10 indicates that about 10 % of the total genetic divergence was among populations and 90 % within the populations. The dendrogram based on the UPGMA method classified the 19 landraces into three distinct genetic clusters that shared quite some alleles and allocated landraces from different AEAs into the same cluster except cluster II. The study identified four genetically distinct landraces (Pb18, Pb16, Pb17, and Pb19) that are potentially good as parental lines for heterosis crossing. In contrast, cluster I with diverse landraces could be exploited for commercial cultivation, and conservation purposes.
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Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) make a major contribution to the livelihoods and diets of rural households in the savanna ecosystems of West Africa. However, land use change and climatic variability might affect their availability in the future. Based on a survey among 227 households in Northern Benin, we investigated local substitution patterns for the seeds of the three socio-economically most important NTFP-species in the region, Vitellaria paradoxa, Adansonia digitata and Parkia biglobosa, being major sources for protein, fat, and micronutrients in local daily diets. Our study compared substitution patterns between, firstly, three income groups, to assess whether a households’ socio-economic status has an influence on the choice of surrogates (low cost vs. more costly options). Secondly, we compared substitution patterns between the five major ethnic groups in the study region (the Fulani, the Bariba, the Ditammarie, the Kabiyé and the Yom). The choice of substitutes differed significantly across income groups. However, the poorest households clearly show to be the most vulnerable: up to 30 % of the sampled households stated they would lack an adequate replacement for the NTFPs in question. Furthermore, ethnic affiliation showed to have a considerable impact on the preferred alternative products due to underlying cultural traditions of plant use. Subsequently, aiming at maintaining – and enhancing – the local supply of V. paradoxa, P. biglobosa and A. digitata in order to secure their contributions to local diets, local land use policy should have a particular focus on their ethnic-conditioned use and particularly the specific requirements of the poorest community members.
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This study assessed ecological consequences of anthropogenic pressure on Wari-Maro Forest Reserve (WMFR). The dynamics of forest cover has been assessed using a diachronic analysis of land cover maps from the Landsat satellite images of 1986, 1995 and 2006. Structural patterns of the forest has been described using forest inventory data with twenty five 1ha plots having two 50 m x 30 m plots set up inside and positioned at the opposite corners of the leading diagonal within each 1 ha plot. Established plots allowed identifying the most targeted species in illegal logging. Plots of 0.15 ha established inside each 1 ha plot helped assessing the volume of trees from which we derived carbon stock and carbon loss using conversion and expansion factors. For the two periods 1986 to 1995 and 1995 to 2006, there was a decline in forest cover which slowed down in the second decade (0.196 %.year-1 and 0.083 %.year-1 respectively). The two vegetation types of the WMFR were mainly distinguished by Lorey's mean height (12.81 m in woodland and 12.44 m in tree-savannah). Top five targeted species in illegal logging activities were: Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir., Afzelia africana Sm., Isoberlinia spp., Anogeissus leiocarpa Guill. and Daniellia oliveri (Rolfe) Hutch. & Dalziel. Results also showed mean values of carbon stock and carbon losses for the whole forest of 147.84 tons C.ha-1 and 17.57 tons C.ha-1 respectively and did not depend on vegetation type. Results from this study suggest that management strategies should focus on selectively logged species. Monitoring should also be enhanced to ensure conservation of resources of the reserve which are at high risks of extinction due to selective logging rates. Keywords: anthropogenic pressure, forest cover, structure, carbon stock, Wari-Maro forest reserve, Benin.
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A general rule in using the central limit theorem is based on a sample size being greater or equal to 30. Since there are various shapes of probability distributions, this generalized criterion may not be suitable. We determine the sample size required for the Weibull distribution, while using the central limit theorem. Some computer simulations are carried out to study the practical choices of the least required sample size for this distribution.
Chapter
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the methods and techniques most widely used to elicit information from informants or interviewees, many of which are derived from anthropology. We will thoroughly describe such methods and critically appraise their advantages and limitations based on our personal experience and the published literature. Interviews are the main tool that researchers have to elicit information from study populations. Many techniques are available to conduct interviews, ranging from individual approaches to research conducted with groups of people.
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