Indigenous tree species have multiple functions and the strong pressure exerted on them threatens their populations. The study aims to investigate the main uses of Balanites aegyptiaca and assess its population structure in the Sahelian zone of Cameroon. The study was carried out using ethnobotanical and quantitative ecological methods. The results showed that the species is multipurpose and produces six different products and services. The first three most mentioned were food, firewood and handicraft. The fruits and leaves were the most appreciated parts of the species. In all, 1026 individuals were recorded and it occurred at a density of 114 individuals.ha-1. Individuals belonging to 5-15 cm dbh were most important (49.55%) and the adult trees (>75 cm dbh) represented only 3%. An analysis of population structure showed that the population was essentially young and presented an "L" shape. The absence of old individuals in the area showed that the regeneration and the management of this species were unsustainable. Studies on the forestry of the species are necessary to satisfy the local population needs because the vulgarization of knowledge on the species can lead to its exploitation at a large scale.
Key words: Balanites aegyptiaca, regeneration, medicinal plant, Sahelian zone, Cameroon.
Copyright © 2018 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0