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Plants 2017, 6(3), 30; doi:10.3390/plants6030030

Sphenostylis stenocarpa (ex. A. Rich.) Harms., a Fading Genetic Resource in a Changing Climate: Prerequisite for Conservation and Sustainability

Plant Taxonomy/Biosystematics and Conservation Biology Research Lab, Department of Applied Biology, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki 840001, Nigeria
Department of Crop Production and Protection, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife 220282, Nigeria
Department of Crop Production & Landscape Management, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki 840001, Nigeria
Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK
Department of Biology, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe 240001, Nigeria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 May 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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The southeastern part of Nigeria is one of the major hotspots of useful plant genetic resources. These endemic species are associated with a rich indigenous knowledge and cultural diversity in relation to their use and conservation. Sphenostylis stenocarpa (ex. A. Rich.) Harms., (African Yam Bean (AYB)), is one such crop within the family of Fabaceae. Its nutritional and eco-friendly characteristics have value in ameliorating malnutrition, hidden hunger and environmental degradation inherent in resource-poor rural and semi-rural communities throughout Africa. However, lack of information from the custodians of this crop is limiting its sustainable development. Therefore, ethnobotanical surveys on the diversity, uses, and constraints limiting the cultivation and use of the crop in southeastern Nigeria were carried out. Five-hundred respondents were randomly selected and data collected through oral interviews and focused group discussion (FGD). Semi-structured questionnaires (SSQ) were also used to elicit information from a spectrum of AYB users comprising community leaders, farmers, market women and consumers in five States. Results showed that the majority of the respondents lacked formal education and were of the age group of 40–50 years, while the female gender dominated with limited access to land and extension officers. Seed coat colour largely determined utilization. Long cooking time, requirement for staking materials, aging of farmers and low market demand were among the major constraints limiting further cultivation and utilization of AYB. In-situ conservation was by hanging dried fruits by the fireside, beside the house, storing in earthenware, calabash gourds, cans and bottles. It is concluded that there is urgent need to scale up conservation through robust linkages between contemporary scientific domains and indigenous peoples in order to harness and incorporate the rich indigenous knowledge in local communities for enhanced scientific knowledge, biodiversity conservation and its sustainable utilization for food security. View Full-Text
Keywords: African Yam Bean; indigenous knowledge; genetic erosion; conservation; food security; Nigeria African Yam Bean; indigenous knowledge; genetic erosion; conservation; food security; Nigeria

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Nnamani, C.V.; Ajayi, S.A.; Oselebe, H.O.; Atkinson, C.J.; Igboabuchi, A.N.; Ezigbo, E.C. Sphenostylis stenocarpa (ex. A. Rich.) Harms., a Fading Genetic Resource in a Changing Climate: Prerequisite for Conservation and Sustainability. Plants 2017, 6, 30.

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