Modelling Impact of Climate Change on the Contribution of Shea Butter to Rural Women’s Income in Benin

Shea butter trading and climate change

Millions of people in low income countries rely on a wide variety of wild edible plants to sustain their livelihoods and for energy. In case exploitation of these species is female-biased, they can help building strategies to improve women’s purchasing power in rural communities and reduce their dependence upon men. Vittelaria paradoxa is a prominent tropical African species of which the kernels are highly valued for energy and butter (fat). These uses can however be altered by climate change. The present project seeks to combine economic valuation and species distribution modelling to foresee how projected changes in the climate will impact habitat range and monetary income provided by Vittelaria paradoxa to rural communities in Benin (West Africa). Female marketers involved in the trade of the above mentioned specie will be selected across Benin and surveyed for annual quantities of collected plant parts (kernels) and monetary income gained from sales. In addition, occurrence records of these species will be gathered. All data will be collected using a grid map of the study areas at a 0.1° resolution (cell: ~10×10 km). Species current and future (2055) occurrence probabilities will be fitted using a species distribution model with climate and slope variation data at a thirty second resolution (cell: ~1×1 km). Monetary income values will be associated to modelled species occurrence probabilities to predict current and future income loss or gain.

Image of shea seeds and shea butter courtesy of Alice Bonou 


Group Leader

Alice Bonou, Lindau Alumna 2017
Universite Nationale d’Agriculture, Benin

Skills for Project