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Valuation of local preferred uses and traditional ecological knowledge in relation to three multipurpose tree species in Benin (West Africa)


  • Houehanou, Thierry D.
  • Assogbadjo, Achille E.
  • Kakaï, Romain Glele
  • Houinato, Marcel
  • Sinsin, Brice


Afzelia africana Sm., Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir. and Khaya senegalensis (Desv.) A. Juss are multipurpose trees widely used in Africa, but endangered in their natural environments. Therefore, there is an urgent need to define and promote conservation strategies for these key species. In this study we analyzed the current patterns of their use preferences by means of a cultural importance index. Local ecological knowledge on their conservation was investigated among local people living around Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in Benin. In total, 160 informants belonging to four ethnic groups (Gourmantche, Waama, Berba and Peulh) were interviewed in twelve villages. Male and female informants, aged between 20 and 90Â years, were randomly selected in each ethnic group. For each species, a cultural importance index was calculated combining frequency and importance of use. This index allowed us to identify differences in use intensity within and among ethnic groups. Traditional ecological knowledge was tested as a dependent variable of ethnicity. A. africana was widely used as medicine, fodder and crafting by most communities, whereas P. erinaceus was the preferred source of fodder for all local people. K. senegalensis was mostly used as medicine and fuel wood by most communities, except by the Peulh who preferably used it as fodder. The use of these trees as source of fuel wood was mostly reported by women while religious uses of these species were reported by old men from the Gourmantche ethnicity. Medicinal and fodder use of A. africana, fodder use of P. erinaceus and medicinal use of K. senegalensis had the highest overall cultural importance index value. Knowledge related to local extinction of the target species and their sustainable use varied among socio-cultural groups. The findings of the present study should be considered in future management plans towards an effective conservation of these tree species.

Suggested Citation

  • Houehanou, Thierry D. & Assogbadjo, Achille E. & Kakaï, Romain Glele & Houinato, Marcel & Sinsin, Brice, 2011. "Valuation of local preferred uses and traditional ecological knowledge in relation to three multipurpose tree species in Benin (West Africa)," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(7), pages 554-562, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:13:y:2011:i:7:p:554-562

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vodouhê, Fifanou G. & Coulibaly, Ousmane & Adégbidi, Anselme & Sinsin, Brice, 2010. "Community perception of biodiversity conservation within protected areas in Benin," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(7), pages 505-512, September.
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