Ethnobotany and endogenous conservation of Irvingia gabonensis (aubry-lecomte) baill. In traditional agroforestry systems in benin

  • CJ Vihotogbé
  • GLR Houessou
  • Q Ponette
  • E Le Boulengé
  • R Vihotogbé
Keywords: <i>Irvingia gabonensis</i>, ethnobotanic knowledge, endogenous conservation.


The bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis) is a multipurpose species Dahomey gap. Its fruits (even nonmatured) are systematically gathered for consumption and marketing. Few studies have been done on the ethnobotany and endogenous practices determining its conservation of the species in Benin. This study aims to produce a database on those aspects in Benin. Two hundred and sixty-three people from the six major socio-cultural groups were interviewed for ethnobotanical knowledge capitalization. Moreover, six hundred and twenty-six hectares of farmland belonging to two hundred and ten peasants were explored to characterize three hundred and thirty-three trees of I. gabonensis for potential endogenous conservation factors. Twenty-five various uses were identified in rural construction (four per cent), in food (eight per cent), energetic (eight per cent), socio-cultural (twelve per cent) and therapeutic (sixty-eight per cent) ways. Global knowledge's levels vary significantly between socio-cultural groups (P < 0,0001). Global knowledge's uses also vary significantly (P < 0,0001) and knowledge of the socio-cultural groups varies significantly according to uses (P < 0,0001). In Benin, 49,25% of I. gabonensis trees are well protected in the traditional agroforestry systems after their first fructification. Moreover, four factors influence significantly their conservation: (i) the parasitism level of fruits and trees (X² = 116,57; P < 0,0001), (ii) the département, origin of peasants (X² = 78,92; P < 0,0001), (iii) the principal agriculture of the peasant (X² = 54,73; P < 0,0001) and (iv) the endogenous perception on the fruits \'ideotypes\' produced by the trees (X² = 4,48; P = 0,0343).

Keywords:Irvingia gabonensis, ethnobotanic knowledge, endogenous conservation.

Indilinga Vol. 6 (2) 2007 pp. 196-209

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eISSN: 1683-0296