The emergence of biodiversity standards in the nature conservation literature requires that we consider the interactions between conservation and local practices from a new angle. The coastal forest of Monogaga, a protected area inhabited by a local population, is an ideal terrain for comparing the impact of local agricultural practices and the activities of Sodefor, the government agency charged with the management of this conservation area. The discourses and uses of forest resources of these two actors allow us to compare the biodiversity of forest cover categories recognized by peasant farmers and Sodefor, using the standard statistical methods for measuring biodiversity (the Shannon and Weaver index, species richness, number of special status species).
For Sodefor, it is the most dense forest ecosystems (the ‘black forests’ ) and the lands that they occupy that constitute the area's natural heritage. The agency believes that these forests must be protected from all human uses, especially farming, if the forest is to be transmitted to future generations. In contrast, Wanne farmers view the old forests (kporo) as long-term fallows (teteklwoa) or reserves of fertile land that will be cleared when there is a need for more farmland in the future. For them, patrimony is constituted by the intergenerational transmission of a bundle of resource access and farming rights within lineages.
With regard to biodiversity, a comparison of the two types of resource management practices (Sodefor and farmer) gives nuanced results. The farmers' areas are more diverse than those of Sodefor when considering the Aké Assi threatened species list. For the Sassandrian species list, both management types maintained the same quantity of species. For endemics and the IUCN red list species, the spatial units controlled by Sodefor show more diversity.