Project groups


Project leader:
Dr. Karen Hahn

The project aims to analyse and quantify the relevance of the use of wild plants, which is one of the highly important provisioning ecosystem services in West African savannas. We want to evaluate the sustainability of the use of socio-economically important plant species and to gain more insights into future losses related to climate and land use changes. These results will serve to develop recommendations for improved use strategies. The abundance and population structure of the “Top-10 species” will be investigated in different land use systems, and their productivity and the harvesting practices will be analysed. Predictions about the changes of the species abundances will be made and the economic losses will be quantified. These data serve to develop adapted use strategies and management concepts. In close cooperation with the transfer office (F 3) and a local NGO (REDERC ONG) planting experiments with most important species are planned.
The project is closely related to other research activities of the focus ecosystem “African Savannas” in the project areas A, B, E and F.


Heubach, K., Heubes, J. & K. Hahn (2010) : Sheabutter, Affenbrot & Co. - Der (ökonomische) Wert westafrikanischer Fruchtbaumarten. - Natur und Museum. Band 140, Heft 9/10. Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SNG).

Heubach, K., Wittig, R. & K. Hahn-Hadjali (2010) : Der ökonomische Beitrag (subsistenz-)wirtschaftlich genutzter Wildpflanzen zur Einkommenssicherung ruraler Gemeinschaften der westafrikanischen Savanne: Ein Fallbeispiel aus Benin. - BfN-Skriptenreihe 265. Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Insel Vilm.

Heubach, K., Wittig, R., Nuppenau, E.-A. & K. Hahn : The economic importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for livelihood maintenance of rural west African communities: A case study from northern Benin. Ecological Economics 70(11): 1991-2001.

Heubach, K., Wittig, R., Nuppenau, E.-A. & K. Hahn (2013) : Local Values, Social Differentiation and Conservation Efforts: the Impact of Ethnic Affiliation on the Valuation of NTFP-species in Northern Benin, West Africa. - Human Ecology (online first)

Heubach, K. : Ouagadougou - oder: mein Leben in einer Rundhütte. Elektronischer Newsletter Bund für Umwelt- und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V.
Link to Publication

Heubach, K. (2012) : Wo das Geld auf den Bäumen wächst. - Spektrum der Wissenschaft, 2012 (12): 22-25.

Heubes, J., Heubach, K., Schmidt, M., Wittig, R., Zizka, G., Nuppenau, E.A. & K. Hahn (2012) : Impact of future climate and land use change on non-timber forest products provision in Benin, West Africa: linking niche-based modelling with ecosystem service values. - Economic Botany 66: 383-397.

Jurisch, K., Hahn, K., Wittig, R. & M. Bernhardt-Römermann (2012) : Population structure of woody plants in relation to land use in a semi-arid savanna, West Africa. - Biotropica 44: 744-751.

Schumann, K., Wittig, R., Thiombiano, A., Becker, U. & K. Hahn (2012) : Uses, management, and population status of the baobab in eastern Burkina Faso. - Agroforestry Systems 8 (2): 263-278.

Yegbemeya, R.N., Yabib, J.A., Heubach, K., Bauer, S. & E.-A. Nuppenau (2013) : Willingness to be informed and to pay for agricultural extension services in times of climate change: the case of maize farming in northern Benin, West Africa. - Climate and Development, DOI 10.1080/17565529.2013.867249.