Fruits of Ximenia americana have socio-economic value for the local people in West Africa. Understanding the possible influence of climate conditions on fruit production is a basis for better exploitation planning and sustainable management of the species. This study aims to assess the fruit production of X. americana according to tree size across a climatic gradient. The mean total number of fruits, the mean weight of fruits and the total weight of fruits per tree were calculated based on a sample of 450 trees distributed in five stem diameter classes and three climatic zones. Stem diameter, total height and crown volume were measured for each sampled tree. The global fruit production ranged from 200.37 ± 32.65 to 1027.20 ± 267.72 fruits/tree according to tree size. Trees with larger crown volume produced more fruits with higher total weight than those with smaller crown. The climatic zone significantly affected fruit production (p < 0.0001). The highest fruit weight per tree was recorded in the south-Sudanian phytogeographic zone, with a mean value of 1.49 ± 0.26 kg while the lowest value was observed in the sub-Sahel zone, with 0.67 ± 0.11 kg. The best prediction models of X. americana fruit production included crown volume and climatic zone.
Key words: Fruit production, semi-arid climate, wild fruit tree, non-timber forest product, prediction.
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