Biodiversity and Cultural Importance of Wild Edible Trees in Benin (West Africa)

The present research aimed at assessing the biodiversity of wild edible trees and cultural values that support their maintenance in the traditional agroforesty systems of Benin. A number of selected sites in each of the 3 climatic zones of the country were surveyed and data were collected through a field exploration and a semi-structured survey among 435 selected households throughout the country, using a questionnaire. A total of 43 wild edible trees were found in the traditional agroforestry systems of Benin. Three main reasons support peasant ambition to conserve or to grow wild edible trees in their field. The first one is the contribution of species as food followed by its use in traditional medicine and ceremonies. Another important reason supporting the choice to conserve wild edible trees in traditional agroforestry is the farmer’s perception of the availability of species in natural vegetation. At the end, cultural communities’ based conservation of wild edible trees has been discussed.
La présente étude avait pour objectif d’évaluer la biodiversité des espèces ligneuses alimentaires et les valeurs culturelles qui déterminent leur maintien au niveau des systèmes agraires au Bénin. Des sites ont été sélectionnés dans les 3 zones climatiques du Bénin et les données ont été collectées à travers des explorations au niveau des systèmes agroforestiers. Des enquêtes semi-structurées ont été également réalisées auprès de 435 ménages distribués dans tout le pays. Au total 43 espèces ligneuses alimentaires ont été inventoriées dans les systèmes agroforestiers traditionnels. Trois principales raisons expliquent la conservation de ces espèces par les populations locales. Les deux premières raisons sont les utilisations alimentaire et médicinale des espèces suivies de la perception qu’ont les populations sur leur disponibilité dans ses habitats naturels. Enfin,les stratégies de conservation endogènes de ces espèces basées sur leur valeur culturelle ont été discutées à travers le document.
Extended abstracts submitted under Enhancing Natural Resource Management
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Region Focus: 
West Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
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Open Access
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Printed resource


The 2012 RUFORUM Biennial Conference is the third in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. The third Biennial Conference was attended by 657 participants.This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme of Enhancing Natural Resource Management