The African fan palm, which is endemic to savannah, is present in Western Africa as two distinct species: Borassus aethiopum Mart. and Borassus akeassii B.O.G. Both palms are classified among non-timber forest products (NTFP) and provide many ecosystemic services to local populations. However, the negative ecological impact of these rapidly growing uses warrants the development of concerted management programmes aimed at ensuring the maintenance of African fan palm populations. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of both fan palm species and more specifically of the biology of their seeds, their germination and preservation. As a first step, our project aims at describing seed anatomy for each species through histological analyses, and will be complemented through a chemical characterization of both the embryo and the endosperm. We will then focus on the impact of preservation conditions on the germinative potential of the seeds. Our long-term goal is to develop seed banks that will enable both the preservation of natural genetic diversity among these palm species and the elaboration of seed production strategies that may support ecosystem restoration policies as well as the development of a production sector.
Université d'Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Bénin: Z-K. Adéoti, V. K. Salako
Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: A. Ouédraogo.
UMR DIADE (IRD, UM), Montpellier, France: F2F team (T. Beulé, M. Collin, F. Morcillo), ADvENS team (S. Dussert, V. Vaissayre)
UMR AGAP (CIRAD, INRA, INRIA, UM, Montpellier SupAgro), Montpellier, France: JL. Verdeil