Ethnobotanical study of the competition between humans and baboons (Papio kindae) for wild fruit trees in the fringe of the Kundelungu National Park, D.R. Congo

Paul Kaseya Kazaba, Christian Kabamba Ngoie, Rodrigue Katembo Mugaruka, Alice Jebiwott, Didier Kambol Tshikung, Akindayo Abiodun Sowunmi, Albert Orodena Aweto

Abstract


Background: This study is the first step of a project addressing the under-researched human-nonhuman primate competition for forest resources.

Methods: Ethnobotanical surveys conducted in Lukafu and Mulenga, two villages adjacent to the Kundelungu National Park (K.N.P.), Democratic Republic of Congo, involved 139 purposively selected informants. With a particular emphasis on baboon (Papio kindae Lönnberg)-edible fruit trees, we collected and analyzed information on the most utilized indigenous trees of the area. These included used parts, types of utilizations, acquisition, and perceptions of availability.

Results: A total of 26 indigenous tree species, nine of which are baboon-edible, were utilized the most by respondents. Tree products are collected from surrounding miombo woodlands of the K.N.P. mainly for energy (firewood and charcoal) supply and medicinal purposes. Of the nine baboon-edible species, four are used for two or more purposes and three do not have alternative resources.

Conclusions: We conclude that the local people: (i) depend on indigenous trees, mainly for energy supply and medicinal uses, and (ii) observe a multipurpose and indispensable character, as well as decreasing tendencies in the main fleshy-fruited trees of food interest for baboons. Therefore, tackling tree cover losses in such a context implies the improvement of access to both non-wood renewable energy sources and quality health services. Towards the alleviation of the anthropogenic pressure on forests resources at the periphery of the K.N.P., two species of both multipurpose status for humans and high food interest for Kinda baboons deserve a particular attention. As an alternative to wild fruits collection, the domestication of the Wild loquat tree Uapaca kirkiana and the Monkey orange tree Strychnos cocculoides will not only improve households’ livelihoods, but also contribute to mitigating the competition for forest resources between humans and baboons.

Keywords: Miombo woodlands, Indigenous trees, Wild fruit trees, Ethnobotanical uses, Kinda baboon, Human-Wildlife Conflicts, Park-adjacent Communities, Kundelungu National Park.


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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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