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Ethnobotanical study and identification of some promising wild plant species: case of the Malinké of the Department of Séguéla (Côte d'Ivoire)

Guy-Alain AMBÉ researcher laureate

°1969 Belgium
Master’s in botany and plant biology, Université de Cocody, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 1993

Etude ethnobotanique et identification de quelques espèces végétales sauvages prometteuses : cas des Malinké du Département de Séguéla (Côte d'Ivoire)

This thesis is an original contribution to the evaluation of the non-woody forest products of north-western Côte d'Ivoire. The results have a much wider implication, however, and can be applied to the entire Sudano-Guinean zone in West Africa.
Starting from field research Mr Guy-Alain Ambé has inventoried 98 food and 47 medicinal species used by local populations. He has subsequently made an in-depth study of several promising wild plant species and assembled the basic data required to justify and realize their domestication.
In his work he has gone well beyond the usual descriptive stage of ethnobotanical inquiry and has carried out various analyses on selected plants: for example, he presents the protein and amino-acid content of Uraria picta (leguminous plant) and establishes its high nutritional value for the human diet. He has also studied the quantity of water stored by the water liana, Cissus populnea and its chemical composition. He demonstrates the potability of this water, which could thus contribute to the diversification of water sources in the dry season. In addition, he proposes several original syntheses, particularly on the potential nutritional contribution of edible wild fruit and the best use of oleaginous species from the spontaneous flora.
Consequently, this thesis constitutes an important contribution to the problem of sustainable development. It acknowledges the logic of taking local actors into consideration and using their knowledge and environment in decision-making regarding the management and sustained use of natural resources. Mr Ambe has managed to obtain very useful information on a large number of plants used by the populations of his study area, and by subsequently deepening his study of a number of interesting species he can suggest those species that are suitable for cultivation not only to the local populations but also to the tropical rural world.
Finally, the work provides valuable data on 31 under-used and potentially interesting species. These should be taken into consideration in programmes aiming at the long-term maintenance and management of biological diversity.

report by Prof. Dr J. Lejoly, Laboratory of Systematic Botany and Phytosociology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium