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Benin - Country Profile

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Benin estimates its number of vascular plant species at 3000 which are spread out into several vegetation zones: the semi-deciduous forests, the dense, dry forests and the clear forests, the savannahs, the meadow altimontaine, vegetation of the humid regions and littoral zones, and the mangroves. The water system includes some 3048km of waterways and more than 333km2 of lakes and lagoons localized at the south of the country. There are 449 marine species and 180 freshwater fish species. Inventories of the avian fauna have confirmed the presence of 371 species. There has been no exhaustive inventory of mammals in Benin. To date, 47 species of mammals (weighing more than 5kg) have been identified. Several species identified as being at high risk include: the red-bellied monkey (Cercopithecus erythrogaster), the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), and the African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). Some of the major problems leading to these losses in biodiversity are: a loss of fertility and the erosion of soils; the withdrawal of forest cover and the impoverishment of consumable natural resources, especially the fauna and fish resources. More specific problems include: climate change, migration and expansion of the cotton industry, and no protected areas. Study of the different vegetation zones shows that in the last 20 years forested areas have been largely degraded, with a loss of 987,607 ha, and savannahs have shown the largest degradation, losing about 1,945,137 ha.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

Benin has classified several protected areas into various categories that, in total, comprise about 12% of national land, mostly in the northern part of the country. In the southern part of the country, there are a few small, isolated islands of dense, semi-deciduous forest that have been protected by law. There are four main types of classified protected areas: 1) 2 National Parks situated in the departments of Atacora and Borgou, 2) 3 game reserves adjoining the National Parks, 3) 38 forests, and 4) the Biosphere Reserve, which constitutes the National park of Pendjari and game reserves.

Percentage of Forest Cover

Recent figures show that forest and wooded areas occupy 6,186,000ha; protected areas (national parks and game reserves) occupy 2,664,000ha; and, in regard to the agricultural sector, teak plantations occupy 20,000ha while coconut plantations and palm groves occupy 400,000ha of land.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The main strategic points of the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan are: reinforcement of the framework of intervening authorities in the management of biological diversity; the promotion of research; the promotion of values and pertinent indigenous knowledge; development of cooperation at the national, regional, as well as international level and the evaluation of genetic resources. The strategic points are reinforced with the following specific objectives: restoration of natural biological resources to a level higher than the needs of the public and that will allow for a significant contribution to economic development; from now until 2015, to modernize agricultural practices in an ecologically acceptable way; to take into consideration biological diversity in any actions concerning social and economic development and in education; to increase the value of biological diversity and genetic resources, by participating in chances for just and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources; and to create a viable framework for the cooperation, follow-up, co-ordination and orientation of all national activities dealing with the management of Biological diversity.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

Benin has two general national targets, which are: to have 20% of the ecosystems of particular interest and 25% of the fragile (at risk) ecosystems protected within the next five years. National targets for specific programs of work include: that 45% of agriculturalists adopt sustainable development techniques for natural resources within five years and 40% of producers apply appropriate methods within five years, that 75% of producers adopt a system of integrated production, that 5% of pisciculture areas are controlled and managed within the next 5 years and 5% of inland waterways are cleared of the water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), that reforested areas increase 15% per year, 40% of degraded flora is restored within the next 10 years, and that the number of forest species whose yield is studied within the next 5 years increases by 25%.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

In 1996, the National Center for the Management of Wildlife Reserves (CENAGREF) was created, and whose mission is the conservation and management of protected areas. In December 2004, the government of Benin decided to initiate the creation of more wildlife reserves in the southern part of the country. As well, CENAGREF is carrying out several studies with the objective of creating protected areas in the large natural zones, specifically in the humid zones of South-Benin and along the seacoast.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Studies on the practices of indigenous communities were carried out and the capacities of local communities were reinforced in the use the traditional knowledge evaluation tools (Approche Participative Niveau Village; APNV). Several seminars and literacy workshops were organized for local communities to valorize their knowledge, practices and ideas. Efforts have also been made to support studies of the land used by the local communities, in order to determine the state and evolution of the knowledge, innovations and traditional practices, as well as the threats facing them. Measures, directives, legislation and other appropriate initiatives have been developed to encourage and promote the effective participation of the local communities in decision-making, policy planning, the development and application of conservation measures and the sustainable use of energy resources at the local, national, sub-regional, regional and international levels. Advisory councils on biodiversity at the national, regional, sub-regional and community level have also been created.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme