Uses of Oldeania alpina (K. Schum.) Stapleton (Poaceae) and local perceptions of its spatio-temporal dynamics in Lubero cool highlands region (DR Congo)
Background: In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Oldeania alpina (K. Schum.) Stapleton provides multiple goods and services to rural populations and is the keystone species of mountain forest ecosystems, most of which are in a very advanced state of degradation. The present study was carried out in Lubero cool highlands region, in the North-East of the DR Congo. It aims to highlight the knowledge of local populations on the uses of O. alpina as well as their perceptions of the spatio-temporal dynamics of this high-altitude bamboo species.
Methods: Ethnobotanical surveys were conducted in five villages of the study area through semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups with 245 people. The different forms of use of O. alpina organs and the local perceptions of its spatio-temporal dynamics were the key axes of the surveys. The software R version 4.1.5 was used to calculate the ethnobotanical indices and to carry out static analyses of the data.
Results: The results showed that O. alpina is well known by the populations of the study area and is solicited in seven main categories of use, namely: fuelwood (22.5 %), construction (22 %), handicrafts (17 %), agriculture (14.5 %), pharmacopoeia (14 %), worship (8 %) and food (2 %). For these uses, the populations solicit the following organs: culms (59.2 %), blades (12.24 %), shoots (10.54 %), rhizomes (6.78 %), sheaths (6.56 %) and straw (4.68 %). Also, for the populations of the study area, the bamboo groves of O. alpina are in a regressive spatio-temporal dynamics.
Conclusion: In Lubero cool highlands region, O. alpina is in constant degradation due to uncontrolled human exploitation. The results of this study provide reliable technical bases for developing conservation strategies for O. alpina in the study area.
Keywords: Bamboo, Oldeania alpina, ecosystem services, multipurpose species, ethnobotany, threatened species, local conservation policy, multipurpose species, Congo Basin, Lubero, DR Congo.
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