Modelling socioeconomic determinants for cultivation and in-situ conservation of Vitex doniana Sweet (Black plum), a wild harvested economic plant in Benin
Cultivation is the most appropriate management option when both demand and harvesting of wild plant species increase beyond natural production levels. In the current study we made the assumption that, besides the intrinsic biological and ecological characteristics of the species, the decision to cultivate and/or to conserve an overharvested wild plant species is triggered by the socioeconomic factors such as land tenure and size, origin of respondents, gender, and users’ knowledge of the plant phenology. We carried out semi-structured interviews with 178 informants involved in V. doniana exploitation. The data collected were related to socio-demographic characteristics of informants’ household situation, knowledge of the biology and propagation of the species, willingness to cultivate the species, in-situ maintenance of populations, and costs associated with management of the species. From our findings we conclude that future management and conservation initiatives for V. doniana should first target specific user groups for sustainable exploitation of the species. Also, the Cultivation Opportunity Ratio is an important indicator for quick determination of the likelihood of farmers to engage into cultivation and conservation of the species.