Sustainable management of a natural threatened resource: The case study of Vepris heterophylla (engl.) Letouzey (rutaceae) in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Cameroon
Useful trees are believed to be threatened. However most evidence about these concerns is anecdotal. The objectives of the study were to document uses of Vepris heterophylla (Engl.) Letouzey, management patterns, determine its population structure and assess the influence of mountain sides in the sudanosahelian zone of Cameroon. The study was carried out using ethnobotanical and quantitative ecological methods. The results showed that the species was found to be multipurpose and produced six different products and services. The most mentioned services were conservation of the foodstuffs and medicine. Community responses indicated that the species became rare and there were no strategies developed to preserve it. The quantitative inventory supported this community view: the species had a low density (28.8 individuals/ha) and a weak size class distribution with calculated least-squares regression slopes of a1=-0.435 (Sahelian section) and a2=-0.263 (Sudanian section). The opposition of the side had an influence on the population (÷2=33.15; df=9; P <0.001). The species appeared to be threatened by the overexploitation and poor attitude to its conservation. Respondents claimed that they were not interested in conserving it because they lacked propagation materials and skills. The sensitization and the domestication of the plant should be considered urgently.
Keywords: Vepris heterophylla, Threatened species, Sustainable management, Sudano-sahelian zone, Opposition sides.