Rationale

Forest has been widely acknowledged to play a crucial role in local people livelihoods especially in tropical rural regions. Unfortunately, population growth, extensive agriculture, overgrazing, urbanization, climate change, etc. are exerting important pressure on forest resources. To preserve interests of local people while improving forest resources conditions, innovative research aimed at understanding the relationship between forests and people and consequent management implications are required. The Forest & People research unit of the Laboratory of Biomathematics and Forest Estimations is in line with this issue and undertakes investigations on forest governance approaches, their effectiveness and replicability, their socio-economic and ecological outcomes, decision making process, benefit sharing etc. There also needs to be a closer examination of gender-differentiated impacts of emerging global processes and policies of forest governance. Addressing these issues will be vital to improve forest governance policies, in particular, for the equitable allocation of resources and distribution of benefits and improvement of forest resources. This research unit also effectively support the implementation of NAGOYA protocol in West-Africa for the Convention on Biodiversity.

Foci

  • Ethnobotany;
  • Forest economics;
  • Forest governance;
  • Gender; Agroforestry and Agroecology;
  • Community-based forestry;
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge,
  • Ecosystem services,
  • Forest genetic resources.

PhD research

Homegardens and agro-biodiversity: patterns, opportunities and challenges for sustainable conservation in Benin, West-Africa

Home gardens (HGs) are land use ecosystems, generally adjacent to household or slightly further away but easily accessible. These systems are characterized by small size generally less than 0.5 ha but with important agro-biodiversity. Because of these patterns but also they survive time test, HGs represent valuable perspectives for conservation. Unfortunately, our knowledge on home gardens composition, functioning in agricultural change context is limited and the real potential for conservation of local biodiversity is unassessed in Benin. Thus, this PhD research project aims to the better understanding of the potential of home gardens in agro-biodiversity conservation in special agricultural and cultural context of Benin. Related research questions intended to address (i) the biophysical characterization and typology of HGs, (ii) the seasonal and spatial variation on HGs composition, (iii) the effectiveness of HGs in conservation of local biodiversity, (iv) factors affecting home gardens ownership, diversity and structure (v) ethnobotany and ethnoecology knowledge and maintenance of plant species in HGs and (vi) monetary and non-monetary values of HGs. Findings of this PhD research will provide decision makers and researchers with basic information and directive for the formulation of national strategy of conservation based on home gardens. For more details, contact Castro GBEDOMON

Modelling ethnobotanical value and biomass production of Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) in Benin (West Africa)

Moringa oleifera is an agroforestry food plant native to India. It is highly produced and consumed as vegetables in many countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Compared to all other vegetables, M. oleifera has the highest content in vitamins A and C with good amounts of protein, phosphorous and calcium. M. oleifera trees grow fast in dry areas and in areas where strong winds and long dry spells occur simultaneously causing serious soil erosion. Hence, M. oleifera can play a role in the fight against desertification. To sustainably combat food shortages and mitigate climate change effects, M. oleifera stands as a very simple and readily available opportunity. However, little is known about leaves biomass production of M. oleifera and how this correlates with combined effects of climatic conditions, soils properties and intensities-frequency of leaves harvest. In addition which factors determine local people willingness to grow and consume M. oleifera are seldom documented. Gathering these informations is expected to help effective integration of M. oleifera as a strategy to combat food insecurity and desertification and to sustainably mitigate climate change effects through sound policies. This research project thus aims to sustainably contribute to the improvement of the level of use and cultivation and to a better biomass production of Moringa oleifera in Benin. This will be achieved through (i) quantitative ethnobotany studies; (ii) cultivation and management practices analysis; (iii) morphological characterization; (iv) ecological adaption; (v) performances studies of different accessions under climatic conditions of Benin and (vi) biomass production estimation. For more details, contact Kisito GANDJI