Structural and ethnobotanical characterization of velvet tamarind (Dialium guineense willd), a multipurpose tree species
The velvet tamarind (Dialium guineense Willd) is one of the key species for domestication in Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to help the sustainable management and conservation of this species, its structural characteristics and ethnobotanical traits were studied in the 4 vegetation types (typical dense forest, degraded dense forest, young fallow and old fallow) of the Lama forest reserve. A forest inventory was carried out in 100 randomly selected squared plots of one ha each in the 4 vegetation types. One rectangular plot of 0.15 ha was set up within each 1 ha plot for their structural description. Moreover, 10 squared plots of 10 m side were established on one of the diagonal in each one ha plot in order to estimate regeneration density. An ethnobotanical survey was also carried out among 100 randomly selected people of the Holli, Fon and Adja sociocultural groups living adjacent to the forest. Results showed that there were significant differences between the 4 vegetation types according dendrometric parameters. Stem diameter structure showed a nonnormal shape. Ethnobotanical survey revealed that D. guineense is an agroforestry species and most of ethnobotanical knowledge is held by men of Holli sociocultural group.
Key-words: Benin, Dialium guineense, structure, ethnobotany, Lama forest reserve, vegetation types.