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Vascular plants of Ewe-Adakplame Relic Forest at Kétou in Benin, West Africa

Citation

Houngnon, Alfred; Adomou, Aristide Cossi (2022), Vascular plants of Ewe-Adakplame Relic Forest at Kétou in Benin, West Africa, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.z8w9ghxbg

Abstract

Covering 560.14 hectares in the south-east of Benin, the Ewe-Adakplame Relic Forest (EARF) is a micro-refugium that shows insular characteristics within the Dahomey Gap. It is probably one of the last remnants of tropical rain forest that would have survived the late Holocene dry period. Based on intensive field investigations through 25 plots (10 m × 50 m size) and matching of herbarium specimens, a checklist of 185 species of vascular plant belonging to 54 families and 142 genera is presented for this forest. In addition to the name for each taxon, we described the life form following Raunkiaer’s definitions, chorology as well as threats to habitat. The Rubiaceae family was the richest (20 species) followed by the Fabaceae (15 species). Life forms showed the preponderance of phanerophytes (88%). The Chorological spectrum was dominated by Guineo-Congolean species (66%).  Species richness estimated were 200.52 ± 9.2808 for Bootstrap; 217.62 ± 14.5972; 224.16 ± 15.3725 and 242.67 respectively for Chao, Jacknife1 and Jacknife2. Bootstrap appears to be the estimation closer to the field records. In Benin, EARF is home for Rinorea species described as West African forest bio-indicators and single location for Nesogordonia papaverifera, Mansonia altissima, Englerophytum oblanceolatum, Octolobus spectabilis, Vitex micrantha and most of Drypeteae tribe species (Drypetes aframensis, Drypetes afzelii, Drypetes gilgiana and Drypetes leonensis) recorded in Benin. Our results provides baseline information for further in-depth analysis of vegetation history in Benin by raising the question on the past floristic connection of the Dahomey gap and community engagement in conservation.

Methods

The inventory of Ewe-Adapklame Relic Forest (EARF) plant species was conducted from February 2014 to December 2017. The forest investigation was based on a vegetation map divided into 250,000 m² (500 m × 500 m) grids following 6 transects, each of 500 m width and 3000 m length. Transects were oriented south-north. The floristic sampling covered different components of the EARF. At each stand, a topometer (Chaining Buddy, Fremaco Devices, Canada) with disposable filament was used to delimit quadrats of 10 m × 50 m. The observation stands were set out at intervals of 100 m along each transect line and there was one quadrat per plot of 250,000 m². In total, 25 forest quadrats of 500 m² were floristically surveyed. To set a preliminary list of EARF flora, species identification was fist based on our self-background during the sampling field work with photo captures (Olympus Digital Camera SP-620 UZ Silver and Samsung Galaxy S7 Android 6.0.1). This approach was combined with description session (on field and at the National Herbarium). Voucher specimens were systematically collected for specimens whose determination is confused. They were compared with voucher specimens of the national Herbarium. To access the systematic information notes, the botanical nomenclature followed the Analytical Flora of Benin (Akoègninou et al. 2006). The list of plant species recorded was compared to online resources such as the “Catalog of life” (Hassler 2020) and the Benin National Red List (Neuenschwander et al. 2011) in order to access botanical information notes and the conservation status of species.

Usage Notes

Take into account the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group Families, Genus and Species names update.

Funding

Rufford Foundation