Senckenberg Research



SUN – Sustainable Use of Natural Vegetation in West Africa (WP4)

The SUN project was being funded by the European Commission and carried out together by partners in Benin, Burkina Faso, Denmark, Germany, Niger and Senegal.

Anacardium occidentale Adansonia digitata

Preparation of cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale L.). Photo: A. Thiombiano.

Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) leaves are harvested for use as a vegetable. Photo: A. Ouédraogo.

The project aimed at improving the sustainable use of vegetation in the West African savannas and cultural landscapes. To this end, we used an interdisciplinary approach combining vegetation and remote sensing data with socioeconomic surveys and the knowledge of the local population.

Education of young scientists, especially in our West African partner institutions, was a central concern of this project. Accordingly, 17 African and 9 European PhD students and PostDocs participated in the project in addition to 50 scientists from all partner countries.

Canarium schweinfurthii Borassus ake-assii

The aielé tree (Canarium schweinfurthii Engl.) with its oil containing fruits is getting rare. Poto: A. Thiombiano.

Children with fruits of the palm Borassus ake-assii Bayton, Ouédr. & Guinko. Photo: A. Thiombiano.

The project was subdivided in different workpackages (WP). Botanists from the Research Institute Senckenberg worked in the framework of the SUN project on the collection of new data on the plant biodiversity of the West African region, on the combination of existing data and on improving the access to these data (WP4). For that purpose, a data network was established that is available online.

With the help of this data pool and in cooperation with all project partners studies to enhance our understanding of vegetation dynamics and their influencing factors should be conducted. Decision makers of the respective countries should be provided with concrete tools to improve the management of natural resources in liaison with the local population.

The following staff members of the department of botany were involved in the SUN project (2007-2010):
Georg Zizka
Stefan Dressler 
Marco Schmidt

Contact: , phone +49 69 97075-1615

A very close on-site cooperation in Frankfurt existed with the working group of Prof. Rüdiger Wittig (Dr. Karen Hahn) at the University of Frankfurt.