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Ethnoapicultural investigation to improve conservation status of threatened melliferous agroforestry species with high medicinal and food values in Benin

Dassou G.A., Ogouchoro D., Vodouhe F.G., Dassou H.G., Dansi A., Tixier P.. 2020. AgroForestry Systems, 94 (2) : p. 539-553.

DOI: 10.1007/s10457-019-00423-2

In northern Benin, several agroforestry species are nectar-producing, with high medicinal and food values. These species are currently threatened by the destruction of their habitats caused by deforestation and agriculture, mainly cotton production. Considering their importance for humans and beekeeping, this investigation was carried out in one of the most important honey production areas in Benin. Individual interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to identify the medicinal and food plants associated with honey production. Data were collected on food and medicinal uses, beekeepers' preferences in the choice of melliferous species and constraints faced for honey and medicinal species conservation in the areas studied. From these data, 46 species of medicinal and food species were identified as melliferous. Thus, nine new species were added to the list of melliferous species in Benin. Most of the species are also used as sources of human food or medicine in traditional set up. Species preferred by beekeepers were those that provide large amounts of sweet, fragrant hone. It appears that honey from 11 plant species with a high use value was clearly recognized by beekeepers who are involved in various human diseases' treatment. The constraints hampering the management of these melliferous species are extensive farming, animal husbandry, anarchic logging. This study brings us the avenues for modernization of beekeeping and the possibility of producing therapeutic honey.

Mots-clés : conservation des ressources; systèmes agroforestiers; agroforesterie; apiculture; Éthnobotanique; dégradation des forêts; plante mellifère; plante alimentaire; plante médicinale; espèce en danger; bénin

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