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Characterisation and cartography of plant groups and contribution to the participatory management of the Pendjari hunting zone (Northern Benin)

Nicolas BARBIER student laureate

°1978 Belgium
Agricultural engineer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, 2001

Caractérisation et cartographie des groupements végétaux et contribution à la gestion participative de la zone cynégétique de la Pendjari (Nord Bénin)

Nicolas Barbier’s dissertation was made in the context of a close partnership between the Laboratory of Applied Ecology of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin) and the Laboratory of Systematic Botany and Phytosociology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles; it deals with the issue of how to take into account local populations and their welfare with a view to the preservation of the Pendjari hunting zone in Northern Benin.
The field study of plant groups was conducted during a five-month period, and it was possible to list in that time-span hundreds of records of geo-referenced vegetation. This was followed by high-precision cartography via the remote detection of satellite images. The map obtained makes it possible to establish the spatial distribution of plant formations, damp habitats (of great importance during the dry season), phyto-sociological groups and changes in the environment under the influence of man. It represents a precise summary of habitats and available resources.
A section of social research records the ways in which wood and non-wood resources are used in the protected area, and the anxiety of the locals regarding the strict limitation of cultivable land in the buffer zone.
Based on the map, it is possible to estimate the degree of saturation of inhabited environments, and to acquire concrete facts about participatory management with a view to meeting the needs of the human populations while maintaining the protected status of the Pendjari hunting zone.

report by Prof. Jean Lejoly, Laboratory of Systematic Botany and Phyto-sociology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium