Changes in woody vegetation over 31 years in farmed parkland of the Central Plateau, Burkina Faso.
Farmed parklands of the Central Plateau, Burkina Faso, integrate native woody vegetation with managed cropland. However, sapling survival in the parklands is increasingly threatened. This study characterized woody vegetation abundance along a 2.7 km long transect in the Doulou Basin, Boulkiemdé Province, Central West Region, to assess changes in vegetation composition since 1984. In addition, a householder survey was conducted to gain insight into tree uses and preferences and residents' knowledge of regulations. In total, 4999 individuals from 26 tree species were recorded, including 123 individuals (11 species) with stem DBH ≥ 5 cm, and 4876 individuals (21 species) with stem DBH < 5 cm. The three species with the highest importance value index provided fruit for sale or self-consumption. Tree abundance was associated with soil type and topography; highest abundance was on Lixisol soils along the lower transect. Soil degradation and preference changes among residents since 1984 may have influenced tree abundance. Certain beneficial species (e.g., Vitellaria paradoxa) have declined in abundance, and certain exotics (Azadirachta indica and Eucalyptus camaldulensis) have expanded in distribution. Respondents expressed strongest interest in three species, including V. paradoxa, that show high versatility. These results supported the recorded tree composition. The respondents generally understood forest conservation regulations. Dissemination of regreening technology and awareness promotion among residents is essential for sustainable tree use in farmed parklands.