Products of a managed landscape: non-timber forest products in the parklands of the Bassila region, Benin



The sustainable use of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is often put forward as a means for ensuring the conservation of forest vegetation types. This paper presents the results of research carried out in the savanna zone of Benin, which highlights the fact that the majority of species yielding important NTFPs are, in fact, located in the fields and fallows. The paper describes how the presence of villages affects the distribution of different vegetation types and how farmers selectively retain certain NTFP tree species, thereby creating a characteristic parkland landscape. It is suggested, however, that changes in the agricultural system and a gradual decline in the importance of NTFPs in people's lives will reduce the incentive for maintaining NTFP species and lead to the eventual loss of the parklands.