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Species composition and spatial heterogeneity of the seed bank and vegetation in protected and disturbed Miombo Woodland at Christon bank, Zimbabwe

Research Paper | August 1, 2013

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Chapano C, Zimudzi C, Makaka CM, Mapaya RJ

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.3( 8), 133-149, August 2013


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The regeneration potential of Miombo woodland was evaluated by comparing above ground vegetation and seed banks in a protected area (Mazowe Botanical Reserve) and an adjacent disturbed farming area (Thetford Estates). Sampling was conducted in April and May 2012. In each area 30 sampling plots measuring 10×10 m were randomly selected and the species composition and abundance of all the above ground flora was determined. Soils were collected from each plot and the seedling emergence method was used to determine the species composition of seed bank. The results show that more species were recorded in the protected (264 above ground and 118 in seed bank) than in the disturbed area (119 above ground and 89 in seed bank), showing that disturbance factors were impacting on species composition. The results also show the absence of key Miombo woody species and the dominance of grasses and forbs in the seed banks. We interpreted this to mean that the seed banks cannot sustain the recovery of the Miombo woodland after disturbance. We recommend the use of more improved methods for estimating the size of the seed bank as the seedling emergence method used in this case is known to underestimate the seed bank.


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Species composition and spatial heterogeneity of the seed bank and vegetation in protected and disturbed Miombo Woodland at Christon bank, Zimbabwe

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