Senckenberg Research



Phytodiversity dynamics as an indicator for sustainable use in the West African Sahel and Sudan Zone

 Logo BIOTA-Africa-Projekt


Funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the BIOTA project aimed at monitoring and evaluating changes in African biodiversity. Our work package in this project linked the work of botanists from the Herbarium Senckenbergianum with those of botanists, geographers, sociologists and ethnologists from the universities of Cotonou (Bénin), Frankfurt, Mainz and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). These institutes were jointly studying patterns of phytodiversity in the Sahel and Sudanian zone and their change with respect to climate change and human impact. The consequences of these changes for the local people were studied and concepts for nature protection and regeneration developed.


Reserve de Pama - burkinische Botaniker und Paraökologen Die Sukkulente Caralluma acutangula (Asclepiadaceae)  
Siedlung Tambarga in der Chaine de Gobnangou Markt in Léo

Collections and Databases

The collections of the herbaria in Ouagadougou (OUA) and Frankfurt (Herbarium Senckenbergianum, FR) were further expanded and databased (BRAHMS, Access, SeSam) allowing scientific analysis as well as better curation. Phytosociological relevees were separately databased. Using joint structural and nomenclatorial standards all data are easily combinable.

Phytodiversity and indicators
Based on our herbarium collection and phytosociological data, we modelled countrywide distribution and diversity maps in cooperation with the BIOTA W03 project team. The distribution of the number of vascular plant species correlates very well with the number of grass species. The grasses were also being studied with respect to human impact and their use by man. Regional diversity analyses based on satellite images were being performed in cooperation with the remote sensing group of Frankfurt University.

The following staff members of the department of botany were involved in the BIOTA project (2001-2010):

Georg Zizka
Stefan Dressler
Marco Schmidt