Defining functional groups of tree species according to rural stakeholder perceptions in Central-Mali - ecosystem services example

In the Tiby area (Segou region, Mali), the intensive exploitation of timber resources and the lack of tree regeneration lead to a degradation of agroforestry parklands for years. In 2010, a study was conducted concerning local knowledge and uses of tree species depending on different kind of stakeholders. It aimed to emphasize the functions and specific uses of tree species that must be taken into account in perspective of improving the management of agroforestry systems. The networks were based on data from qualitative surveys carried out to identify farmer's perceptions of tree functions and corresponding functional traits. The results show that most of woody species have a significant multifunctionality. Only few species are unifunctional. The most multifunctional species cover all types of production and service functions but not all the uses, particularly for medicinal uses. Some specific uses are fulfilled by only one species.

Scientific databases composed of lists of functions and traits for a given species have low generic value and must be valued depending on the context. The online database using a Bayesian belief network platform demonstrates how local knowledge about species functionas and traits may be made available.

Model structure documentation

Here are some HUGIN widgets for interacting with the model shown on the right (click on the probability bar to instantiate a node or remove evidence):



Soil conservation



Cultural Services

Soil fertility

Antierosive action

Other sociocultural

Magical and religious uses


Clinquart P. (2010) Représentations et usages des espèces ligneuses : une approche par les traits fonctionnels pour une ingénierie des systèmes agroforestiers des zones arides et semi-arides. Mémoire de stage de fin d'études, Ecole d'Ingénieurs de Purpan, Toulouse, pp. 81.

Contact information

David N. Barton, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

Alexandre Ickowicz, CIRAD.