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Wild-edible fruits tree (WEFT) species constitute an important source of nutrients but nowadays, these resources are concentrated in the protected areas. This study aimed to evaluate the diversity and distribution pattern of WEFT species in the Lama Forest Reserve in Benin, to provide basics for designing appropriate conservation strategies. An inventory of WEFT species was carried out in 53 square plots demarcated in the four vegetation types of the reserve. Shannon (H), Pielou (E), Green (GI) indices, and the actual distribution maps of the species were generated. The results revealed 10 WEFT species within the dense forests and young fallow having nine species, while the old fallow had seven species. The diversity indices showed that the reserve had low floristic diversity (H = 2.41 and E = 0.73) in WEFT species. Dialium guineense, Ficus capensis, Mimusops andongensis, and Pancovia bijuga, in the young fallow, Lecaniodiscus cupanioides, and Psidium guajava in the degraded dense forest and L. cupanioides, and P. bijuga in old fallow exhibited an aggregative distribution (GI > 1), suggesting that more effort need to be put on their conservation in these vegetation types. The maps generated in this study can later be used as reference to carry out gap analyses.
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International Journal of Fruit Science
ISSN: 1553-8362 (Print) 1553-8621 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wsfr20
Diversity and Current Spatial Distribution of Wild-
Edible Fruit Trees Species in the Lama Forest
Reserve in Benin
Symphorien Agbahoungba, Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo, Eric Etchikinto Agoyi
& Brice Sinsin
To cite this article: Symphorien Agbahoungba, Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo, Eric Etchikinto Agoyi
& Brice Sinsin (2018): Diversity and Current Spatial Distribution of Wild-Edible Fruit Trees Species
in the Lama Forest Reserve in Benin, International Journal of Fruit Science
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/15538362.2018.1501633
Published online: 30 Jul 2018.
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Diversity and Current Spatial Distribution of Wild-Edible
Fruit Trees Species in the Lama Forest Reserve in Benin
Symphorien Agbahoungba
a,b
, Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo
a
, Eric Etchikinto Agoyi
a,b
,
and Brice Sinsin
a
a
Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou,
Benin;
b
Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
ABSTRACT
Wild-edible fruits tree (WEFT) species constitute an important
source of nutrients but nowadays, these resources are concen-
trated in the protected areas. This study aimed to evaluate the
diversity and distribution pattern of WEFT species in the Lama
Forest Reserve in Benin, to provide basics for designing appro-
priate conservation strategies. An inventory of WEFT species
was carried out in 53 square plots demarcated in the four
vegetation types of the reserve. Shannon (H), Pielou (E),
Green (GI) indices, and the actual distribution maps of the
species were generated. The results revealed 10 WEFT species
within the dense forests and young fallow having nine species,
while the old fallow had seven species. The diversity indices
showed that the reserve had low floristic diversity (H= 2.41
and E= 0.73) in WEFT species. Dialium guineense, Ficus capen-
sis, Mimusops andongensis, and Pancovia bijuga, in the young
fallow, Lecaniodiscus cupanioides, and Psidium guajava in the
degraded dense forest and L. cupanioides, and P. bijuga in old
fallow exhibited an aggregative distribution (GI 1), suggest-
ing that more effort need to be put on their conservation in
these vegetation types. The maps generated in this study can
later be used as reference to carry out gap analyses.
KEYWORDS
Distribution; floristic
diversity; gap analysis; Lama
Forest Reserve; WEFT species
Introduction
Wild-edible fruit tree (WEFT) species are fruit trees that grow spontaneously
in self-maintaining populations in natural or semi-natural ecosystems, and
can exist independently of direct human action (FAO, 1999). They have been
identified as a particularly important means that households in rural Africa
used to cope with food shortage periods (Assogbadjo et al., 2012). As fruit
producing trees, WEFT species are important components in the diet of over
one billion people worldwide (Burlingame, 2000). WEFT species are mostly
available in rural areas and their uses are based on traditional knowledge
CONTACT Symphorien Agbahoungba agbasympho@gmail.com Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Faculty of
Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 P.O. Box 526, Cotonou, Benin
Color versions of one or more of the figures in the article can be found online at www.tandfonline.com/wsfr.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRUIT SCIENCE
https://doi.org/10.1080/15538362.2018.1501633
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
(Arenas and Scarpa, 2007). Most WEFT species tolerate water stress better
than their domesticated relatives (Kayode and Akinluyi, 2016). WEFT species
constitute a low-input and low-cost option for improving nutrition (Jama
et al., 2008); hence, provide great benefits to vulnerable populations such as
poorer households, women, and children, who are often disproportionately
affected by climate events (Fentahun and Hager, 2009). WEFT species con-
tribute to livelihoods and can be available during drought periods or conflict-
driven famine (Strauch et al., 2008). These make WEFT species subject to
overexploitation; hence, most WEFT species are under extinction threat.
Because of difficult access to natural forests, these have become the reservoir
of WEFT species (Rigg, 2009). However, the high degradation rate of the
forests does not guarantee a long term protection to WEFT species, if
conservation measures are not undertaken.
In Benin, about 56,667 ha of forest areas were degraded per year between
year 1990 and 2010, due to farming activities, logging, and bush fire (FAO,
2010). This degradation is the most important reason of the scarcity of
WEFT species in nature (FAO, 2011; Kusters et al., 2006). Nowadays, apart
from the rare WEFT species one could meet in the cultivated farms, the
protected areas constitute the last refuge of these plants species in Benin
(Hermans et al., 2004). In southern Benin, the Lama Forest Reserve (LFR) is
a protected area and constitutes one of the last vestiges of natural dense
forests within the country. It is a mosaic of forests and fallows with different
ecological patterns, made up of four vegetation types, including young and
old fallows, a typical dense forest, and a degraded dense forest (Bonou et al.,
2009). The young fallow is characterized by the predominance of Chromolena
odorata L. (75% of its vegetation coverage), whereas the old fallow is char-
acterized by the predominance of Ceiba pentandra L., Ficus capensis Thunb,
and Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Guill. The typical dense forest is dominated
by Afzelia africana Sm., Ceiba pentandra L., Dialium guineense Willd.,
Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst, and Mimusops andongensis Bruce. The
degraded dense forest is dominated by Cynometra megalophylla Harms
(Bonou et al., 2009). These vegetation types are under law protection since
1946 when they have been given the status of reserve.
Ethnobotanical aspects, nutritional and cultural importance, economic
value and pharmacological uses of WEFT species have been widely docu-
mented in Africa (Kebu and Fassil, 2006; Racquel, 2014) and more specifi-
cally in Benin (Assogbadjo, 2000; Chadare et al., 2008; Codjia et al., 2003;
Fandohan et al., 2010). Most of these studies focused on the species in
agroforestry systems. There are limited studies which focused on natural
populations of WEFT species within protected areas. Better understanding
of the diversity and distribution pattern of WEFT species in the protected
areas is crucial to inform natural resource management policies so as to
design appropriate management strategies, increase positive impact of the
2S. AGBAHOUNGBA ET AL.
WEFT species on the dwelling communitys resilience, and monitor the
dynamic of these species in the forest (Termote et al., 2011; Mavengahama
et al., 2013; Termote et al., 2011). The monitoring of the WEFT species
requires knowledge of their floristic diversity and their current spatial dis-
tribution in the forest for comparison in future in order to evaluate the
threats.
The objective of this study was to assess the diversity and the spatial
distribution of WEFT species for sustainable management of these resources
in the LFR in Benin.
Material and Methods
Study Area
LFR is located in southern Benin between 6°55ʹand 7°00ʹNorth latitude and
between 2°4ʹand 2°12ʹEast longitude (Figure 1). The forest was law-enforced
in 1946, and promoted as a forest reserve (Bonou et al., 2009). LFR covers
4,777 ha of which 1,900 ha made up of a typical dense forest and a degraded
dense forest, and 2877 ha of fallows (young and old fallows) (Bonou et al.,
2009). The surrounding area of the reserve is planted with Tectona grandis L.,
Gmelina arborea Roxb, and Khaya senegalensis (Desr.) A. Juss covering
292 ha in total (Djego and Sinsin, 2007). The annual average rainfall
Figure 1. Map showing the location of the Lama Forest Reserve in Benin and the square plots
(EastWest direction) demarcated for the study.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRUIT SCIENCE 3
fluctuates between 1000 mm and 1200 mm, and the relative humidity
averages 74.5%. LFR is located in the depression of Lama which is
60 meter above sea level (m.a.s.l.) on average. The soil is clayey with a
depth of over 2 m (Akpona et al., 2008).
Sampling and Data Collection
Sampling was done along the seven transect lines (walkways in the EastWest
direction) in the LFR, to achieve good coverage and distribute the plots in all
the four vegetation types. Square plots of 45 m Å45 m (Salako et al., 2013)
were systematically demarcated at each kilometer. The first plots were
installed at 1520 m away from each walkway in order to avoid biased
sampling of the trees. In total, 53 squares plots (Figure 1) were obtained in
the four vegetation types, and the coordinates of the plots center were
recorded using Garmin GPS76 (Lapointe, 2005). The plotsdistribution was
as follow: 13 plots in the typical dense forest, 14 in the degraded dense forest,
14 in the young fallow, 8 in the old fallow, and 4 in the surrounding
plantations. Within each plot, all the WEFT species were inventoried and
their geographical coordinates recorded using Garmin GPS76 (Lapointe,
2005).
Data Analysis
Floristic Diversity of WEFT Species
An exhaustive list of the WEFT species was first established and their
taxonomy identified in order to evaluate the LFR floristic composition in
WEFT species. The floristic diversity was estimated using parameters such as:
specific richness (S), Shannon index (H), and Pielous equitability index (E).
The specific richness (S) is the total number of WEFT species in the
community studied. It was computed for each vegetation type and for the
whole reserve.
Shannon index (H) is computed as follows (Shannon, 1949):
H¼X
s
i¼1
Ni
Nlog2ðNi
NÞ
 (1)
where N
i
is the number of individuals for a given species Iand Nis the
number of individuals for all the species recorded and log
2
is the logarithmic
function base 2.
This Shannon index ranges generally from 1 to 5. H> 3.5 indicates a high
diversity within the vegetation type while the conditions of the station are
favorable for a large number of species in quasi-equal proportion. H< 2.6
4S. AGBAHOUNGBA ET AL.
(low diversity) indicates that the conditions of the station are unfavorable
and cause a high specialization of species (Assongba et al., 2013).
Pielous equitability index (E) is given as follows (Pielou, 1969):
E¼H
log2S(2)
where His the Shannon index evaluated in Equation (1) and Sis the specific
richness (number of species in total). Evalues ranged between 0 and 1. When
Evalue is close to 0, the quasi-totality of the individuals belong to only one
species and when its value is close to 1, all the species have almost the same
coverage (Assongba et al., 2013).
These index values (Hand E) have been computed for each vegetation
type and the overall value of these indices has been computed for the LFR by
considering all the vegetation types.
Spatial Distribution of WEFT Species
Tree density D(trees/ha) is the average number of trees per hectare and is
calculated as follows (Krajicek et al., 1961):
Dij ¼Nij 10000
S(3)
where D
ij
is the tree density for WEFT species in a given plot ifor a given
vegetation type j, N
ij
is the total number of individuals of WEFT species in a
given plot ifor a given vegetation type j, S is the surface of a plot (in m
2
), and
S= 45 m x 45 m = 2025 m
2
.
To detect the spatial distribution pattern of each WEFT species in the
forest, green index (GI) is calculated as follows (Green, 1966):
GI ¼
S2
m1
n1(4)
where mis the average density of a given WEFT species, S
2
is the variance of
the densities in the different vegetation types, and nis the total number of
trees counted for the species under consideration in a given vegetation type.
S
2
¼PðdimÞ2
n1with di the density of a given WEFT species iin the different
vegetation types: m¼Pdi
plots number per vegetation type
GI was computed for each WEFT species in each vegetation type, and the
overall value was computed for each WEFT species in the LFR by consider-
ing all the vegetation types.
Values of GI vary from 0 (random distribution) to 1 (aggregative
distribution). But this index could display values that were greater than
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRUIT SCIENCE 5
1, in the case of large variability in density values within the plots in the
various vegetation types or when the environment is disturbed (Green,
1966).
To generate the maps of WEFT species, the geographical coordinates of
each WEFT species were converted into shape files format and projected on
the Lama Forest topographic map obtained from the National Geographic
Institute of Benin (IGN, 1922), using Arcgis 10.3 software (ESRI
[Environmental Systems Research Institute], 2010). An image obtained
from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRMT, 2007) served as basic
image. The maps were realized such a way that the WEFT species that had
high trees density were combined with those which had a low trees density in
the different vegetation types in order to reduce the number of maps in the
manuscript and to avoid crowded maps.
Results
Floristic Diversity of WEFT Species in Lama Forest Reserve
A total of 10 WEFT species belonging to 10 genera and 8 botanical families,
were recorded in the LFR (Table 1). The WEFT species inventoried belonged
to the following families: Anacardiaceae, Ebenaceae, Euphorbiaceae,
Fabaceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, Sapotaceae, and Sapindaceae. The plant
families, Fabaceae and Sapindaceae, had two species each while the other
families had only one species each (Table 1). The two most frequent WEFT
species were Dialium guineense WiIld (41.45%), and Diospyros mespiliformis
Hochst. (21.46%) while the rare species were Ficus capensis Forssk (1.71%),
and Pterocarpus santalinoides LHér. ex De. (0.08%) (Figure 2).
Table 1. Plant families, individual number and floristic diversity indices of wild-edible fruits trees
species per vegetation types in Lama Forest Reserve in Benin.
WEFT species Families
Individuals number of WEFTs
TDF DDF YF OF Total number
Dialium guineense WiIld Fabaceae 317 116 20 78 531
Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst. Ebenaceae 202 41 13 19 275
Drypetes floribunda Hutch. Euphorbiaceae 169 7 9 1 186
Ficus capensis Forssk. Moraceae 1192 0 22
Lecaniodiscus cupanioides Planch. Sapindaceae 40 18 6 20 84
Mimusops andongensis Bruce. Sapotaceae 80 16 8 1 105
Pancovia bijuga Willd Sapindaceae 10 8 8 0 26
Psidium guajava L. Myrtaceae 1 11 3 12 27
Pterocarpus santalinoides LHér. ex De. Fabaceae 1000 1
Spondias mombin L. Anacardiaceae 0 4 8 12 24
Floristic diversity index overall values
Specific richness (S) 9997 10
Shannonindex (H) 2.15 2.39 2.92 1.96 2.41
Pielou Equitability index (E) 0.68 0.75 0.92 0.70 0.73
TDF = typical dense forest; DDF = degraded dense forest; YF = young fallow; OF = old fallow.
6S. AGBAHOUNGBA ET AL.
The specific richness of WFET species in the different vegetation types
were nine species in the typical dense forest (TDF), nine species in the
degraded dense forest (DDF), nine species in the young fallow (YF), and
seven species in the old fallow (OF). The young fallow (YF) exhibited the
highest values for both Shannon index (H) and Pielouequitability index (E).
The Shannon index (H) ranged from 1.96 in the OF to 2.96 in the YF. The
overall value of Shannon index was (2.41) in the LFR (Table 1). With regard
to Pielouequitability index (E), its value ranged from 0.68 in the TDF to 0.92
in the YF. The overall value of that index was 0.73 in the LFR (Table 1).
Spatial Distribution of WEFT Species in Lama Forest Reserve
In order to depict the spatial distribution pattern of each WEFT species,
the GI was calculated. The results showed that all the WEFT species
roughly presented a random distribution (IG< 1) considering the overall
GI calculated in the LFR (Table 2). However, four species, D. guineense, F.
capensis, Mimusops andongensis Bruce., and Pancovia bijuga Willd, pre-
sented an aggregative distribution with a GI value greater than 1 in the
young fallow (GI = 2.46; GI = 1.00; GI = 1.44; GI = 3.03, respectively)
(Table 2). Similar observation was made in the DDF for Lecaniodiscus
cupanioides Planch (GI = 1.16), and Psidium guajava L. (GI = 1.82) and in
the OF for L. cupanioides (GI = 1.92), and P. bijuga (GI = 1.60). An
aggregative distribution was observed for Spondias mombin L. (GI = 1.00)
in the TDF (Table 2).
This spatial distribution pattern was confirmed by the maps of the
WEFT species in the LFR. The WEFT species D. guineense (Figure 3),
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
Frequency (%)
WEFT species
Figure 2. Relative frequencies of the wild-edible fruits trees species in Lama Forest Reserve in Benin.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRUIT SCIENCE 7
D. mespiliformis (Figure 4), L. cupanioides (Figure 4), and M. andogensis
(Figure 5) were recorded in all the plots demarcated in the different
vegetation types and were randomly distributed in the different vegetation
types while the WEFT species F. capensis (Figure 3), D. floribunda
(Figure 4), P. santalinoides (Figure 4), P. guajava (Figure 5), P. bijuga
(Figure 5), and S. mombin (Figure 5) were recorded in few number of
plots (1, 9, 1, 6, 8, and 7 plots, respectively) from the 53 plots demarcated
in the LFR, these species all presented an aggregative distribution. In
addition, among the aggregately distributed species F.capensis, D.
Figure 3. Distribution map of Dialium guineense (high density) and Ficus capensis (low density) in
Lama Forest Reserve in Benin.
Table 2. Green index of each wild-edible fruit trees species per vegetation type in Lama Forest
Reserve in Benin.
WEFT species
Green index
TDF DDF YF OF Overall values
Dialium guineense 0.16 0.35 2.46* 0.38 0.01
Diospyros mespiliformis 0.4 0.21 0.44 0.99 0.02
Drypetes floribunda 0.26 0.26 0.13 0 0.06
Ficus capensis 0 0.05 1.00* 0 0.45
Lecaniodiscus cupaniodes 0.32 1.16* 0.29 1.92* 0.03
Mimusosps andongensis 0.39 0.28 1.44* 0 0.06
Pancovia bijuga 0.11 0.03 3.03* 1.60* 0.03
Psidium guajava 0 1.82* 0.5 0 0.08
Pterocarpus santalinoides 0 0 0.14 0 0
Spondias mombin 1.00* 0.08 0.14 0.72 0.06
TDF = typical dense forest; DDF = degraded dense forest; YF = young fallow; OF = old fallow. Green index
greater than 1 are denoted by *.
8S. AGBAHOUNGBA ET AL.
Figure 4. Distribution map of Diospyros mespiliformis (high density), Drypetes floribunda (low
density), Lecaniodiscus cupaniodes (low density), and Pterocarpus santalinoides (low density) in
Lama Forest Reserve in Benin.
Figure 5. Distribution map of Mimusops andogensis (high density), Pancovia bijuga (low density),
Psidium guajava (low density), and Spondias mombin (low density) in Lama Forest Reserve in
Benin.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRUIT SCIENCE 9
floribunda,S.mombin,andP.guajavawere concentrated at the periphery
of the young and old fallows in the LFR (Figures 35).
Discussion
The study assessed the diversity and the distribution of WEFT species
within the LFR. The inventory showed 10 WEFT species belonging to 10
Genera and 8 plant families in the LFR. Actually, the equilibrium disrup-
tion of the LFR due to the high degradation of its structure in certain
locations (degraded dense forest and fallows), coming from human activ-
ities, explained the low WEFT specific richness (10 species) in this forest
(Djodjouwin and Sinsin, 2007). Results of WEFT species inventory in
other ecosystems in Benin revealed 52 WEFT species belonging to 45
genera and 37 families in the Pendjari biosphere in 2009 (Vodouhê
et al., 2009) and 115 WEFT species belonging to 92 genera and 48 families
in Bassila reserve in 2014 (Segnon and Achigan-Dako, 2014). This differ-
ence in diversity of WEFT species among ecosystems could be attributed
to the area covered by the forests (4777 ha in LFR) compared to Pendjari
biosphere (282635 ha) and Bassila reserve (2500 ha). The type of soils,
deep clay soil in the LFR (> 2 m in depth) that causes flood during rainy
seasons and cracks in dry seasons, and which, according to Emrich et al.
(1999), leads to a relatively poor flora in the forests compared to the
sandy loam soil in Pendjari biosphere and silty clay soil in Bassila reserve,
may also be in question. The results also revealed that the old fallows had
less WEFT species compared to the dense forests and young fallows. This
low floristic diversity in the old fallows could be explained by the fact that
this vegetation type was the main living area of riparian populations
before the protection act, and most of these species were under harvest
pressure by the population as reported by Bonou et al. (2009)intheLFR.
In addition, the high nutritional value, and the good organoleptic quality
of WEFT species such as D. guineens, F. capensis, P. guajava, P. bijuga, P.
santalinoides, and S. mombin may also explain their overexploitation in the
fallows prior to the protection by law as reported by Debella et al. (2011)in
semiarid parts of East Shewa zone, in Ethiopia. On the other hand, the low
floristic diversity in the old fallows could be due to management practices in
the different vegetation types, and ecology of some of the species which may
thrive well in more dense ecosystems than the fallows. For instance, few
number of D. guineense and D. mespiliformis were recorded in the fallows
compared to the dense forests and could be attributed to the fact that they
were intensively harvested in the fallows and the enrichment programs of the
fallows were not focused on these species compared to the dense forests
under lower extraction pressures in the LFR. Similar results on D. guineense
were reported by Assongba et al. (2014) in the LFR whereby, a high density
10 S. AGBAHOUNGBA ET AL.
of D. guineense has been found in the dense forests compared to the fallows.
The highest number of individuals for P. guajava and S. mombin recorded in
the fallows could be explained by the fact that P. guajava and S. mombin
(which originate from South America) have been introduced by the riparian
population in the fallows prior to the protection by law.
The specific diversity index evaluated in the forest for the WEFT species
showed a Shannon index value of 2.41 (H< 2.6) suggesting that the condi-
tions of the station are unfavorable to a large number of species and caused a
high specialization of some species. It was observed relatively low values of
Shannon index (1.96 < H< 2.92 bits) compared to the range [15] (Table 1),
indicating a low diversity and the presence of a dominance phenomenon in
the LFR. This is exemplified by D. guineense being the most dominant WEFT
species (41.45%) followed by D. mespiliformis (21.46%), with D. guineense
carrying alone almost half of the total coverage. Similar results on D.
guineense and D. mespiliformis were reported by Hounkpèvi et al. (2011)in
the LFR while evaluating the structure and ecology of the D. mespiliformis
and D. guineense in the LFR, whereby D. mespiliformis (32%) and D. gui-
neense (94%) dominated the phytocenoses identified. Pielous equitability (E)
ranged from 0.68 to 0.92 in the vegetation types with an overall value of 0.73
in the LFR (Table 1) indicating that the vegetation types were diversified with
a regularity in the distribution of the individuals of species.
Based on the distribution patterns, the WEFT species presented in general
a random distribution (GI< 1) throughout the LFR (Table 2), but when the
distribution was considered per vegetation type, four species presented an
aggregative distribution in the YF, four species in the DDF, two species in the
OF and one species in the TDF with a GI value greater than 1 (Table 2). For
instance, the aggregative distribution of some species in the dense forests
could be explained by the large variation in the speciesdensities due to the
difference in the light repartition among plots within the dense forests while
the aggregative distribution observed in the fallows for some species could be
due to the exploitation of some WEFT species by the riparian population at
the expenses of others. It could also due to the unequal repartition of water
and soil nutrients important in regulating species distributions (Mangan
et al., 2010; Wiegand et al., 2007). The random distribution of the WEFT
species in the typical dense forest except for S. mombin, suggested a relative
stability in the ecology of that vegetation type. Similar spatial pattern was
observed by Hounkpèvi (2010) in the TDF, where a random distribution
pattern of D. mespiliformis, M. andogensis and Lonchocarpus sericeus (Poir.)
Kunth ex DC was observed. The WEFT species distribution pattern observed
in the YF is consistent with the findings of Djodjouwin et al. (2011) in the
LFR whereby D. guineense, M. andongensis, and P. bijuga presented a value of
GI greater than unity in the YF. In the present study, most of the WEFT
species that presented an aggregative distribution were concentrated in the
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FRUIT SCIENCE 11
DDF and fallows leading the species to a high vulnerability to the threats. For
instance, the WEFT species presenting an aggregative distribution (GI > 1)
could be subjected to an over collection of fruits, selective cutting for con-
struction and technology, fuel wood collection, uncontrolled fire setting and
may also become susceptible to diseases. Therefore, more efforts needs to be
put on the conservation of the WEFT species with an aggregative distribution
like D. guineense, F. capensis, M. andongensis, and P. bijuga, in the YF, L.
cupanioides, and P. guajava in the DDF and L. cupanioides, and P. bijuga in
OF. These could also be introduced in the plantation program and the
populations farms in order to reduce the human pressure on the reserve.
The WEFT speciesdistribution maps generated in this study, revealed that
WEFT species D. guineense, D. mespiliformis, L. cupanioides, and M. ando-
gensis were present in all the plots demarcated in the different vegetation
types and were randomly distributed in the different vegetation types; hence,
less vulnerable to threats while F. capensis, D. floribunda, P. santalinoides, P.
guajava, P. bijuga, and S. mombin were recorded in few number of plots
(Figures 35) suggesting that they are the most vulnerable to threats (over
collection of fruits, selective cutting for construction and technology, fuel
wood collection and uncontrolled fire setting). In addition, F. capensis, D.
floribunda, S. mombin, and P. guajava were concentrated at the periphery of
the LFR and need a strict protection acts from the policy makers to avoid
their extinction in the reserve by the riparian population since these species
are mostly appreciated by the population because of their easy access and
good organoleptic qualities (Agbahoungba et al., 2016). Therefore, the fol-
lowing strategy and action plan for the conservation and sustainable utiliza-
tion of the WEFT species will improve and enhance the conservation of these
species: (1) Proper mechanism for the harvesting of the fruits need to be
developed. (2) Population assessment of the species under high pressures
(like the species presenting an aggregative distribution and concentrated at
the periphery of the LFR) from people needs to be done to understand the
quantum availability of the species in the reserve. (3) The areas/habitats
supporting high diversity of sensitive and commercially viable species need
to be protected to ensure the in-situ conservation of the species. (4)
Appropriate agrotechniques for the species under high pressures (D. flori-
bunda, P. santalinoides, P. bijuga, S. mombin, F. capensis and P. guajava)
from people need to be developed to ensure their ex-situ conservation. (5)
Education and awareness among different stakeholders of the region for the
conservation of WEFT species need to be created.
The WEFT speciesdistribution maps generated are very helpful tools for
forest management and conservation purposes, because these could be used
in future as reference maps for gap analyses. They may be used for ecological
gaps which is related to the current diversity of the WEFT species that exists
within the LFR compared to a future inventory of the WEFT species in the
12 S. AGBAHOUNGBA ET AL.
same ecosystem (Fox et al., 2010). In addition, these maps may also be used
for the management gaps in the situations where the current distribution of
the species will be compared with the future distribution pattern of these
species in the reserve in order to verify if the forest is providing an adequate
protection to these species (Gavin et al., 2009). It is recommended to main-
tain permanent the plots established in the forest in order to follow the
dynamic of these WEFT species and evaluate in future, the level of threat on
these species in the LFR.
Conclusion
The LFR harbors 10 WEFT species belonging to 10 genera and 8 plant
families. The species D. guineense, D. mespiliformis were identified as the
most frequent species while the rare species were F. capensis and P. santali-
noides in the four vegetation types of the forest. The floristic diversity index
showed a low diversity in WEFT species and the presence of a dominance
phenomenon in the LFR. This study also revealed that the WEFT species
presented in general a random distribution in the LFR but some species like
D. guineense, F. capensis, M. andongensis, and P. bijuga, in the young fallow,
L. cupanioides, and P. guajava in the degraded dense forest and L. cupa-
nioides, and P. bijuga in old fallow presented an aggregative distribution
leading to a vulnerability status to the threats, and request more protection
efforts in these vegetation types. The WEFT speciesmaps produced in this
study may serve as material for gap analysis in the future. It is commended to
maintain permanent the plots established in the forest in order to follow the
dynamic of these WEFT species.
Acknowledgments
A word of thanks goes to CUD [Coopération Universitaire pour le Développement] which
financed this study and Dr. Bello Daouda for his assistance during the mapsrealization.
Funding
This work was supported by Coopération Universitaire pour le Développement (CUD)
through the Master RESBIO Program of the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences of the University
of Abomey-Calavi (Benin).
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