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19 December 2011

Was lebt auf dem Grund der Nordsee – erste flächendeckende Modellergebnisse vorgestellt...

13 December 2011

Neue Schneckenart vor Südenglands Küste entdeckt...

05 December 2011

Mehr Todesopfer durch Schlangenbisse als bisher geschätzt – Experten diskutieren neue Behandlungsmöglichkeiten ...

02 December 2011

Zwei gegen einen Aufsteiger ...

28 November 2011

Vielfalt auf dem Acker als Hoffnungsträger...

24 November 2011

Small forest with big impact: Fragmented rainforests maintain their ecological functionality...

14 November 2011

Die Vermessung der Nachhaltigkeit...

31 October 2011

Welches Potenzial steckt in der biologischen Vielfalt? - Vortrag von Prof. Manfred Niekisch bei Vorlesungsreihe zu Biodiversität, Klimawandel und Gesellschaft...

27 October 2011

Macht uns der Klimawandel krank? - Thementag am 2. November 2011 im Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt am Main...

25 October 2011

Valuing the savanna: Products from savanna generate 39 percent of total household income in Northern Benin (West Africa)...

12 October 2011

Genome of the brown bear is now sequenced - scientists hope to learn about adaptations to climate change...

11 October 2011

Warum geschieht so wenig, obwohl die Zeit davonläuft?...

05 September 2011

It’s all in the head: Songbirds with bigger brains have benefited from the end of communism...

30 August 2011

Diploma thesis about „Forest of the Future“ project has been awarded the P&G sustainability prize...

22 August 2011

Global warming may cause higher loss of biodiversity than previously thought...

21 July 2011

BiK-F plays host to International Climate Protection fellow...

08 June 2011

What's in store for lichens? – Pan-European “Common Garden” Experiment studies the reaction to climate change...

06 June 2011

Ein Land auf dem Trockenen: wie Namibia seinen Wassermangel bekämpft...

23 May 2011

Klimawandel beeinträchtigt die biologische Vielfalt und damit die natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen - auch in Deutschland...

20 May 2011

Alles im Fluss? Neuartige Lebensgemeinschaften in unseren Auenlandschaften – Herausforderungen und Chancen...

16 May 2011

Klimawandel und biologische Vielfalt in Deutschland – was kommt auf uns zu und was können wir tun? Experten tagen in Frankfurt...

09 May 2011

Bis zum letzten Tropfen: Warum und wo das Süßwasser knapp wird...

21 April 2011

Damit auch morgen noch genug Wasser für alle da ist: Vernetztes Wassermanagement im 21. Jahrhundert...

20 April 2011

Hyperdiverse flora in Cape region mainly caused by huge range of soil types ...

15 April 2011

Researchers establish short cut to genetic fingerprint of mahagony species...

08 April 2011

Kleine Menge, große Wirkung – Vortrag „Neue Umweltschadstoffe in den Gewässern“...

25 March 2011

Deutschland zwischen Wolkenbruch und Trockenperiode - Vortrag: Extremniederschläge im Klimawandel – Was wissen wir heute?...

11 March 2011

Von Parasiten und Toxinen: todbringendes Lebenselixier Süßwasser...

28 February 2011

Frankfurt – Stadt, Land, Fluss: Vortrag zur Entwicklung und Zukunft des Mains als Lebensader der Stadt...

17 February 2011

Neues gemeinsames Großprojekt: Die deutsche Mückenlandschaft - Forschung am blutsaugenden Insekt...

14 February 2011

Start der neuen Senckenberg-Vortragsreihe „Wasser! – Lebenselixier, Lebensraum, Lebensgefahr“ ...

08 February 2011

Tropical carriers: Hornbills are long‐distance seed‐dispersal agents in South...

02 February 2011

„Sieben Richtige“ für den BioCampus - Antrittsvorlesung der BiK-F-Professuren an der Goethe-Universität...

28 January 2011

Frankfurter Biodiversitätsforscherin in Nationales Komitee für Global Change Forschung berufen...

11 January 2011

Ancient raindrops reveal development of North American ridges...

Press Releases

Valuing the savanna: Products from savanna generate 39 percent of total household income in Northern Benin (West Africa)

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, October 25, 2011. The West African savanna is like a supermarket, pharmacy and hardware store where no one has to pay for the goods, because its biodiversity is a free source of food, materials, firewood and traditional medicine. According to a study by the German Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), the value derived from the savanna amounts to 39 % of the average annual income of a rural household in northern Benin. The authors of the socio-economic study, which has been published a short time go in "Ecological Economics", also found that poorer households are the more dependent on savanna biodiversity than wealthier ones.

The Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations (CBD) and most recently the TEEB ("The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity") study have made point of making people aware that one can measure the amount of economic contribution nature and environment make to society. Scientists from the German Biodiversity and Research Centre have now analyzed the value of the savanna in Northern Benin and determined how much income is generated by so-called non-timber forest products (NTFP). These include fruits, seeds, and edible parts of plants, herbs, leaves and fibers. One of the best known are the seeds of the Shea butter tree, which fat is an ingredient of skin care products and is used in the kitchen. Another well-known NFTP are the fruits of the baobab tree, which are processed into juices and sweets. Both products are also available in Europe. For the locals in Benin, NTP’s help to fulfill households’ subsistence and consumption needs, are traded and thus provide cash income and serve as a safety-net in times of crisis.

Large part of income is savanna-sourced
All of the 230 households that were interviewed for the study are engaged in the collection of non-timber forest products. 80 per cent of the households also trade them. While the extraction yields comparatively low returns to labor, extraction sites are mostly categorized by open or semi-open access and only few skills are required for extraction. NFTPs are therefore widely used as a source of income. Katja Heubach, lead author of the study and researcher at the German Biodiversity and Climate Centre (BiK-F) says: "With an average income share of 39 %, income from non-timber forest accounts for the second largest share in total household income. It is only surpassed by the income from crop production. Based on national statistics we determined the per capita income of a person in Benin to be roughly two Euros a day. 80 Cents of this would be a monetary surplus generated by non-timber forest products."

Wealthier households are less dependent, but profit the most
The researchers found that the economic significance of non-timber forest products differs between households with regard to their total household income. The lower the total household income, the higher the share of income generated by non-timber forest products i.e. the higher the relative dependency on savanna products. In quantitative terms, however, households with a higher income gather more non-timber forest products than those with lower income. Wealthier households therefore benefit more from non-timber forest-products and generate higher yields by them than poorer households. The researchers suggest this can be attributed to the fact that poorer households with no land often face longer walking distances to places where they can legally harvest non-timber forest products.

Further restrictions of access to savanna woodland likely to increase poverty
The value of an intact savanna has thus been proven, but keeping its balance intact is likely to be difficult in future due to increasing population sizes. Traditionally the region operates on a cycle where land may lie fallow after cultivation. In case of pressure for agricultural land due to a larger population, fallow periods might get shorter and wild savanna plants would have less time to grow. Furthermore the demand for non-timber forest products is set to increase which might result in overexploitation. The researchers recommend increasing the efficiency of crop production systems and creating robust income opportunities (subsistence-wise and trade-wise) independent of non-timber forest extraction to satisfy the needs of a growing population. Further restrictions on access to savanna woodland are not considered appropriate measures of conservation, because its effect would likely hit poorer households the hardest and increase poverty.

Press images:

Marktfrauen in der Savanne
Women selling shea butter, an important non-timber forest product, Copyright: Katja Heubach, BiK-F [Download in 300 dpi, 1 MB]
Savannelandschaft in Nord-Benin
Savanna in Northern Benin where the study took place , Copyright: Julia Krohmer, BiK-F [Download in 300 dpi, 1 MB] 

Terms of use:  Images may be used for editorial purposes only. Please state the copyright information as given in the image caption. Use of images for commercial purposes prohibited.

For more information please contact:

Dipl. Biol. Katja Heubach
LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Phone +49 69 7542 1876
email: katja.heubach@senckenberg.de

or

Sabine Wendler
LOEWE Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F), press officer
Phone +49 69 7542 1838
email: sabine.wendler@senckenberg.de


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