Nairobi, Kenya
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August Temu B.,International Center for Research in Agroforestry | Rudebjer G.P.,Bioversity International | Chakeredza S.,ANAFE
Scientific Research and Essays | Year: 2010

Small-scale farmers integrate biophysical factors with social, economic, cultural and environmental considerations in their day-to-day decisions to manage complex farming systems. This approach contrasts with the traditional organization of knowledge and institutional structures at universities, where reductionist approaches prevail, leading to production of graduates with insufficient competence in the analysis of complex systems. Three decades of agroforestry research has developed a series of tools for understanding integrated systems: The landscape analysis framework is used by the alternatives to Slash-and-Burn initiative; participatory domestication of tropical fruits in Africa; and modeling tools such as WANULCAS that enable us generate future scenarios of integrated land use systems. Although new agroforestry education programmes in the tropics are putting such tools into use in learning systems, there are still constraints to their adoption. The rising demand for food, fibre, energy and environmental services is likely to lead to transformation of farming landscapes into complex mosaics, shaped by farmers through agroforestry. Universities need to pay increased attention to understanding integrated systems. Our experiences in Africa and Southeast Asia show that agroforestry education contributes to better understanding of integrated approaches in the learning system. This innovation prepares future graduates to understand, and advise farmers on integrated production systems. © 2010 Academic Journals.

Glele Kakai R.,University Abomey Calavi | Akpona T.J.D.,University Abomey Calavi | Assogbadjo A.E.,University Abomey Calavi | Gaoue O.G.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | And 4 more authors.
African Journal of Ecology | Year: 2011

The ecological adaptation of shea butter trees was assessed based on their dendrometric and production traits in four shea butter tree parks occurring in different climatic zones of Bénin. A total of 99 rectangular plots of 50×30m were established within the four parks according to a random sampling scheme. In each plot, all trees with a diameter at breast height (dbh) >10cm were inventoried and measured for stem and crown diameters, and total height. The production of 120 productive shea butter trees was quantified. Collected data were used to compute structural parameters for each park. Moreover, stem diameter and height structures of the trees were established. Principal component analysis was performed on the dendrometric variables, and the first three components were correlated with the climatic parameters. Results revealed significant differences between parks in most of the dendrometric and production parameters of shea butter trees. For all the four parks, stem diameter and height structures present a Gaussian shape with left dissymmetry. In the Guinean zone, shea butter trees develop large crowns but produce little quantities of fruits, whereas in the Sudanian regions, the opposite trend was observed. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Salako V.K.,University Abomey Calavi | Fandohan B.,University Abomey Calavi | Fandohan B.,CAS Beijing Institute of Geographic Sciences and Nature Resources Research | Kassa B.,University Abomey Calavi | And 6 more authors.
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution | Year: 2014

Despite growing literature supporting the importance of home gardens (HG) as biodiversity hotspots, knowledge of patterns of their contribution to conservation of threatened species and crop wild relatives (CWR) across climate and culture in Africa is still limited. This investigation was conducted across three climatic zones to assess the floristic diversity of home gardens and the extent to which they contribute to conservation of threatened species and CWR. Overall, 240 home gardens were sampled and their floristic diversity assessed. The ecological importance of recorded species was determined per climatic zone using the importance value index (IVI). A cluster analysis was performed to group the species according to their IVI-values and a principal component analysis helped to identify the most important species. 285 species were inventoried throughout the study area. Home garden species' diversity globally declined from the drier to the wetter zone but was highest in the transition zone. The average number of species found per HG was 10.1 and varied weakly across zones (9.07, Guineo-Congolean zone; 10.77, Sudano-Guinean zone; and 10.53, Sudanian zone). The most important home gardens species in the Sudanian, the Sudano-Guinean and the Guineo-Congolean zones were respectively: Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench and Hibiscus asper Hook.f.; Solanum lycopersicum L. and Zea mays L.; Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. and Senna occidentalis (L.) Link. They were mainly vegetables and used as food and/or medicinal plant species. Twenty CWR and twelve threatened species were recorded and were also mainly used for food and medicinal purposes. Thorough research on socioeconomic factors supporting possession of HG and choice of managed species as well as indigenous management strategies of HG and dynamic of traditional knowledge related to HG may help to deeply assess home gardens' effectiveness in biodiversity conservation. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013.

Dadjo C.,University Abomey Calavi | Assogbadjo A.E.,University Abomey Calavi | Fandohan B.,University Abomey Calavi | Kakai R.G.,University Abomey Calavi | And 4 more authors.
Fruits | Year: 2012

Introduction. Black plum (Vitex doniana) is an indigenous fruit tree species important for the livelihoods of rural populations. Currently, there is renewed national and international interest in black plum, and it has emerged as a priority species for domestication in Africa. The present work addressed farmers' indigenous knowledge of the use and management of the species among different socio-cultural groups in Benin, taking into account gender differences. The specific objective of this work was to study the knowledge, uses, local gathering practices and management systems of V. doniana that are part of the traditions of the communities in Southern Benin. Materials and methods. A total of 150 participants randomly selected from three socio-cultural groups provided survey responses. Information collected mainly referred to the motivation of respondents to conserve black plum trees on their land, the local uses and the management practices to improve the regeneration and production of the black plum. Results and discussion. The study showed that knowledge of black plum is well distributed in the community. However, people have different interests in using black plum and there is variable knowledge of use and management practices. The food and medicinal categories were the most important uses. There were no significant differences in knowledge of the management and utility of black plum between men and women, or across socio-cultural groups. Conclusion. Given its value to the communities in southern Benin, black plum should be prioritized for domestication. © 2012 Cirad/EDP Sciences.

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