Ethnicity and gender variability in the diversity, recognition and exploitation of Wild Useful Fungi in Pobè region (Benin, West Africa)
Objective: The ultimate goal of this study is to contribute to the enhancement of the livelihood of rural communities through a sustainable exploitation of Non Timber Forest Products, especially the Wild Useful Fungi (WUF).
Methodology and results: The study was undertaken in Pobè area located in Southeastern part of Benin (West Africa). Ethnomycological surveys were accomplished within three ethnic groups (Nago, Holli, Fon) from five (05) villages notably Ahoyéyé, Akouho, Igana, Issaba and Towe. We applied proportional sampling techniques to select 84 respondents. The semi-structured and unstructured interviews were conducted within the sampled population, using standardized ethnomycological questionnaires. Classical index such as the Reported Value Use of Gomez Beloz (RVU), Ethnobotanical Use Value (EUV) of a species for a use category, Total Ethnobotanical Use Value (TUV), Diversity Index (DI) and Pielou evenness (EI), as well as the Sorensen index (K) were used to assess the diversity, the level of knowledge, use of wild mushrooms and variability among all three ethnic groups. A total of 19 species including 12 edible ones were recorded, with Collybia sp. and Volaviella volvacea as the commonly exploited mushrooms in the study area (TUV between 2,14 and 2,40). All recorded species are used in the study area either as food, drugs or source of cash incomes. The study revealed a great variability of knowledge, expertise and of the level of exploitation among ethnic groups (K < 50% for all three ethnic groups). However, there exists a certain consistency of local know-how among respondents of the same ethnic group (DI = 0,027 < DI max = 37/2). At the opposite, the study suggests that mycological know-how was held by a small group of men and a large group of women (EI < 0,5 : 0,0007 < 0,5 ; 0,004 < 0,5) suggesting a differential use of fungal resources by rural communities.
Conclusion and application of results: This study provides key basic data for a sustainable exploitation of Wild Useful Fungi in Pobè region.
Keywords: Diversity; Know-how,;uses / use value; value chain; ethnic groups; Wild fungi; Pobè; Benin