|Categories||Biodiversity, Communities, Forests|
|Date||20 Apr 2020|
Gallery forests are of great ecological importance, particularly in Africa where 80% of the population rely in Non-timber forest products. Gallery forest hosts a huge amount of biodiversity. For example, in Benin, gallery forests host 1/3 of the estimated Benin Flora. They harbour many threatened species. Despite the richness of these forests, they are subjected to over-exploitation by local residents, conversion of natural habitats to agriculture, illegal grazing (Sinsin et Kapmann, 2010). As a result, in July 1993, gallery forests, have been recognized as a unique ecosystem (law no. 93-009) and clearance of wood and shrubs is not allowed within 25 m at both sides of any waterway (article 28). Despite the strictness of conservation policies against clearance of gallery forests, gallery forests are increasingly facing probable fragmentation and habitat reduction in the next few years. Yet participatory conservation strategies that take into account both local people perception and ecological conditions are rare. Moreover, gaining an in-depth understanding of the response of these vulnerable ecosystems to human disturbance can help to design sustainable conservation strategies for many reasons.
First, it is important to know if human disturbance is a threat to these vulnerable ecosystems, particularly in situations where restoration and conservation are the aims of a land area’s management.
Second, changes in the abundance of plants species due human exploitation can influence the dynamic of many interacting species, such as animals, fishes, and therefore affect whole community dynamics.
Third, reduction in size of gallery forests will have great consequence on carbon sequestration and global warming.
Finally, involving local people in their own resource management is a sustainable way to conserve natural resource. In this project, we will study the perception and behavior of local people on the destruction of gallery forests. Second, we will estimate and use the rate of gallery forest degradation and their phylogenetic diversity to determine the best practice for community-based nursery and restoration projects.
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