Indigenous knowledge and local practices concerning the endemic plant Ipomoea beninensis Akoègn., Lisowski & Sinsin (Convolvulaceae): an initial assessment for its conservation in Benin
Keywords:Ipomoea beninensis, Resident’ knowledge and perceptions, negative practices, endemism, conservation, Benin.
Ipomoea beninensis Akoègn., Lisowski & Sinsin (Convolvulaceae) is the only endemic plant known for Benin. To date, no data exist on its usages, distribution, abundance, and threats. An improved understanding of indigenous knowledge and of local practices can provide insight into how the species could be sustainably conserved. We interviewed 114 local residents for collecting ethnobotanical and ethnoecological data in six sites known to host the species. Data were processed by calculation of descriptive statistics and variance and multivariate analyses. A total of twelve uses were reported. Among them, treatment of varicella (19%), malaria (18%) and fodder (17%) were the most recurrent. These mainly involve use of the species rootstock. Almost all respondents mentioned decline of the species in natural habitats. None of them was aware about the endemic status of the species. Consequently, negative practices toward the protection of I. beninensis were prevalent among local residents. Several conservation measures are proposed to ensure the longterm survival of I. beninensis.
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