Exploring the diversity and abundance of herbaceous species in local farming systems of the Sudano-sahelian region of Cameroon

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Research Paper 01/08/2014
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Exploring the diversity and abundance of herbaceous species in local farming systems of the Sudano-sahelian region of Cameroon

Asongwed-Awa Anastasia, Ko Desiré Awono, Megueni Clautilde, You,bi Emmanuel
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 2), 428-438, August 2014.
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Abstract

The effect of land-use on herbaceous cover is a major constraint to productivity. An inventory was carried out to assess the diversity and abundance of indigenous herbaceous species under different land-use forms across the Sudano-sahelian belt of Cameroon. A total of 71 herbaceous species pertaining to 59 genera and 23 families were identified across three sites (Lainde Massa, Kilwo, Sirlawe). The most prominent families were Poaceae, Fabaceae and Rubiaceae. Family and species diversity was highest on farmlands and least on hills. Relative abundance was highest for Poaceae in Kilwo and for Fabaceae in Lainde Massa. Total biomass yields, herbaceous composition and plant types were significantly different across land use forms and sites (p<0.0001). Grass species were generally higher on hills, lowlands and around habitations while legumes were highest on fallows. Livestock activity was significant at all three sites and highest in Kilwo with an active population of free-roaming domestic livestock (sheep, goats). On the other hand, a reduced livestock activity in Sirlawe, confirmed a reduced grazing pressure especially from domestic livestock which at this site were always tethered. It can be concluded that the absence of legumes in most of the land use forms explains the high level of degradation and low productivity of the soil which should naturally be rejuvenated by the presence of legumes through its biological action in nutrient recycling. The need for the introduction and management of legumes in the farming systems of this sudano-sahelian region is therefore important to provide a sustainable ecological balance.

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