Dacryodes edulis is a fruit tree growing naturally in the rainforests of Central Africa. To provide data to scientists and forest managers for the habitat of D. edulis in the wild, the study of ecological niche and environmental adaptation was carried out. The geographical coordinates of 168 collections of wild individuals and 19 climatic parameters were treatedunder Geographical Information System. Potential spatial richness, favourable climatic parameters and elevation of the species were described. The favourable climatic conditionsfor natural growth of D. edulis were mainly revealed in the forests of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. In Cameroon, these conditions were well marked in the regions of Kribi and Bipindi(South), in the forest of Yingui and Yabassi (Littoral), in the Dja Forest (East) and South-West towards the border with Nigeria. The mean of favourable annual precipitation is 2205.26 ± 505.5 mm per year. The optimal annual mean temperatures stretch from 23.5 to 25.5°C. The favourable elevations stretch from 0 to 800 m. These values are smaller than ones for domesticated individuals which represent fundamental climatic niche. Prospect inforest areas with the best favourable climatic conditions and elevation for natural growth ofD. edulis should be encouraged to ensure in situ conservation of wild populations for maintaining genetic diversity.
Key words: Dacryodes edulis, ecological niche, environmental adaptation, in situconservation.
Abbreviations: CEFE, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive; IFORA, IlesForestières Africaines.
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