Disturbance and population structure of Vitex doniana Sw. in northern Benin, West Africa
Vitex doniana Sw. (black plum) is a species known to have socio-economic potentialities due to its food, therapeutic and cultural uses. The structure and natural regeneration of this species were studied in Banikoara district, in northern Benin. The main objective was to develop strategies for conservation and sustainable use of this species. Collected data focused on diameter, height, number of individuals and regenerations in plots of various sizes according to habitats considered. Degree of threat and the endogenous uses and methods of conservation were also assessed. The results showed that V. doniana presented, in general, an aggregative distribution (Blackman Index = 10.84) which was related to its dissemination type and a random distribution in agroforestry parklands (Blackman Index = 0.34) related to management type. The density values of mature and natural regeneration were low. The species suckered well in all habitats and have a relatively stable structure in natural areas. However, V. doniana presented a degree of threat respectively equivalent to 62.27% and 95.65% in disturbed riparian landscape and in parklands. The various uses showed that fruits and leaves were the most used parts in feeding and in traditional medicine. They are sold in local markets and are not subject to industrial processing.
Keywords: Structure, regeneration, black plum, conservation, Banikoara, Benin.