Haematostaphis barteri Hook.f. is an endemic plant species with a high economic potential that mostly grows on rocky soils in the Sudanian zone from Ghana to Sudan. In Bénin, the species is found only around the commune of Natitingou, but there is little knowledge on its uses by the local populations and how these uses potentially affect its conservation status. This study aimed to evaluate the vulnerability of H. barteri in its natural range in Benin, based on the assessment of its indigenous uses and its population inventory. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted in eight villages of the commune of Natitingou from eighty people belonging to the Bètammaribè and Waaba ethnic groups, to identify their knowledge and usage of the species. The species population inventory was also carried out to estimate the frequency and density of H. barteri populations. The species' vulnerability score was determined using results from the ethnobotanical survey, population inventory and information in the literature. Rural populations in Natitingou use H. barteri mainly for food (100% of interviewees), traditional medicine (76.3%) and wood fuel (37.5%). Most of the respondents (91.3%) usually harvest immature fruits so as to preserve them, both for their consumption and for commercialization. Twenty-nine populations of H. barteri were identified with densities averaging 46.6 adult individuals per hectare and a regeneration of 9.7 individuals per hectare. The average vulnerability score for H. barteri was estimated at 2.4 on a scale of 1 (not vulnerable) to 3 (highly vulnerable). H. barteri is thus a vulnerable species that deserves to be included in Benin’s list of endangered species.
Key words: West Africa, Atacora mountains, ethnobotany, endemic species, exploitation, vulnerability, non timber forest products (NTFP).
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