Assessing ecosystem services based on indigenous knowledge in south-eastern Burkina Faso (West Africa)

Ecosystems are sources of services such as food, water, timber, firewood, health, and spiritual benefits. The unsustainable human use of ecosystems has led to significant declines in the capability of these ecosystems to provide services. In contribution to the preservation of ecosystems, this study aims to assess the potential ecosystem services delivered by plant communities of the Pama partial fauna reserve using indigenous knowledge. Therefore, ethnobotanical surveys were conducted in the surrounding villages of the reserve. Fifty open-ended interviews were used to record the services provided by woody species. Each service quoted during the interviews was classified into one of the four categories of ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services) as the interview progressed. Formulas were developed to assess the potential services provided by the plant communities of the reserve. The results indicate that seventy-seven woody species provide twenty services, which are divided into the four categories of ecosystem services. The Terminalia avicennioides and Schizachyrium rupestre community contributes the most to the delivery of potential ecosystem services. This importance underlines the community’s potential vulnerability due to its likely intense use by the local people. This study highlights the most important factors for successful habitat preservation in the context of the ecosystem service approach by determining the plant communities that contribute the most to social welfare.