Woody species composition, structure and diversity of Mazowe Botanical Reserve, Zimbabwe

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/06/2013
Views (420) Download (17)

Woody species composition, structure and diversity of Mazowe Botanical Reserve, Zimbabwe

C. Zimudzi, A. Mapaura, C. Chapano, W. Duri
J. Bio. Env. Sci.3( 6), 17-29, June 2013.
Certificate: JBES 2013 [Generate Certificate]


This study assessed woody species diversity, composition and vegetation structure in a dry forest Miombo woodland at Mazowe botanical reserve. All woody species were systematically identified and measured in 45 sample plots. Analysis of inventory data was done using Microsoft Excel. Four vegetation communities identified along the river, anthills, hills and slope areas of the reserve were demarcated. Relative Density, dominance, frequency, and species and family importance values were computed to characterize the species composition. A total of 108 woody species belonging to 78 genera and 41 families were recorded. Members of the Fabaceae subfamily Caesalpinoideae were dominant with 6 genera and 9 species. Stem densities/ha were high ranged from 572 on the anthills to 2040 along the river valley. The dbh distribution showed an inverse “J” shaped curve, meaning that there is active regeneration and recruitment in the woodlands. Shannon-Wiener Index of diversity values ranged from 1.85 in the slope area to 3.42 on the anthills showing high species diversity in the reserve. This study reveals that the Mazowe botanical reserve has a high species richness and diversity. This is mainly due to the diversity of habitats like river valleys, anthills, streams, hills and slopes for species establishment. A number of anthropogenic activities have been recorded in the reserve notably fire and tree cutting. These require further detailed assessment to evaluate their impact on the woodland dynamics.


Anderson JM, Ingram JSI. 1993. Tropical Soil Biology and fertility. A handbook of methods. CAB international, Wallingford, UK.

Banda T, Schwartz MW, Caro T. 2006. Woody vegetation structure and composition along a protection gradient in a miombo ecosystem of western Tanzania Forest Ecology and Management 230, 179–185.

Banda T, Mwangulango N, Myer B, Schwartz MW, Mbago F, Sungula M, Caro T. 2008. The woodland vegetation of the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem in western Tanzania. Forest Ecology and Management 255, 3382-3395.

Barbour M, Burk JH, Pitts WD, Gilliam FS, Schwartz MW. 1999. Terrestrial Plant Ecology. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. Reading, UK.

Burgess N, Hales J, Underwood E, Dinerstein E, Olso D, Itoua I, Schipper J, Ricketts TK. 2004. Newman Terrestrial Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar: A Conservation Assessment Island Press, World Wildlife Fund.

Campbell BM, Frost P, Byron N. 2006. Miombo Woodlands and their use: overview and key issues. In: Campbell, B. (ed.) The Miombo in Transition: Woodlands and Welfare in Africa. pp. 1-10. Centre for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia.

Chapano C. 2012. Spatial heterogeneity of soils seed bank and above ground vegetation in Miombo woodland. Unpublished MSc Thesis, Midlands State University.

Chidumayo EN. 1987. Species Structure in Zambian Miombo Woodland. J. Trop. Ecol. 3, 109–118.

Curtis JT, Mcintosh, RP. 1951. An upland forest continuum in the prairie-forest border region of Wisconsin. Ecology 32, 476-496.

Ferreira LV, Prance GT. 1999. Ecosystem recovery in terra firme forests after cutting and burning: a comparison on species richness, floristic composition and forest structure in the Jaú National Park, Amazonia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 130, 97-110

Fleming PA, Loveridge JP. 2003. Miombo woodland termite mounds: resource islands for small vertebrates? J. Zool., Lond. 259, 161–168.

Frost P. 1996. The ecology of Miombo Woodlands. In: B. Campbell (Ed.): The Miombo in Transition: Woodlands and Welfare in Africa. Bogor, Indonesia: Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), pp. 11 – 57.

Giliba RA, Boon EK, Kayombo CJ, Musamba EB, Kashindye AM, Shayo PF. 2011. Species Composition, Richness and Diversity in Miombo Woodland of Bereku Forest Reserve, Tanzania. J Biodiversity 2(1), 1-7.

Gwali S, Okullo P, Hafashimana D, Byabashaija DM. 2010. Diversity and composition of trees and shrubs in Kasagala forest: a semiarid savannah woodland in central Uganda African Journal of Ecology 48, 111–118.

Hill MO. 1979. TWINSPAN–A FORTRAN program for arranging multivariate data in an ordered two-way table by classification of the individuals and attributes. Ithaca, NY: Ecology and Systematics, Cornell University.

Isango JA. 2007. Stand Structure and Tree Species Composition of Tanzania Miombo Woodlands: A Case Study from Miombo Woodlands of Community Based Forest Management in Iringa District. Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 50, 43–56.

Kalaba FK, Quinn CH, Andrew J. Dougill AJ. 2012. Carbon storage, biodiversity and species composition of Miombo woodlands in recovery trajectory after charcoal production and slash and burn agriculture in Zambia’s Copperbelt Sustainability Research Institute Paper No. 40. University of Leeds, UK.

Malimbwi RE, Zahabu E, Monela GC. 2005. Charcoal potential of Miombo woodlands at Kitulangalo, Tanzania. Journal of Tropical Forests Science 17, 197-210.

Menaut JC, Lepage M, Abbadie L. 1995. Savannas, woodlands and dry forests in Africa. In: Seasonally dry tropical forests. Cambridge University Press, UK, USA pp. 64-92.

Mujawo T. 2005. Influence of physiographic, edaphic and anthropogenic factors on the structure, composition and species diversity of vegetation in the Mazowe Botanical reserve, Christon bank. Unpublished MSc Thesis, University of Zimbabwe.

Mwase WF, Bjørnstad Å, Bokosi JM, Kwapata MB, Stedje B. 2007. The role of land tenure in conservation of tree and shrub species diversity in miombo woodlands of southern Malawi. New Forests 33, 297-307.

Ngongoni NT, Mwale M, Mapiye C, Moyo MT, Hamudikuwanda H, Titterton M. 2008. Research note: inclusion of lablab in maize and sorghum silages improves sheep performance. Tropical grasslands 42, 188–192.

Okiror P, Chono J, Nyamukuru A, Lwanga JS, Sasira P, Diogo P. 2012. Variation in Woody Species Abundance and Distribution in and around Kibale National Park, Uganda. International Scholarly Research Network, Forestry 2012, 1-9.

Ribeiro NS, Shugart HH, Washington-Allen R. 2008. The effects of elephant and fire on species composition and structure of the Niassa Reserve, northern Mozambique. Forest Ecology and Management 255, 1626-1636.

Savadogo P, Tigabu M, Sawadogo L, Odén PC. 2007. Woody species composition, structure and diversity of vegetation patches of a Sudanian savanna in Burkina Faso, Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 294(4), 5-20.

Shirima DD, Munishi PKT, Lewis SL, Burgess ND, Marshall AR, Balmford A, Swetnam RD, Zahabu E M. 2011. Carbon storage, structure and composition of miombo woodlands in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains. African Journal of Ecology, 49, 332-342.

Timberlake J, Chidumayo EN. 2011. Miombo Ecoregion Vision report, Occasional publications in Biodiversity report no 20. Biodiversity foundation for Africa, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Tsuura Z, Nyamhanga E. 2002. A preliminary checklist of plants of the Mazowe Botanical reserve, Zimbabwe. Kirkia 18, 49-62.

Van Andel LT. 2001. Floristic composition and diversity of mixed primary and secondary forests in northwest Guyana. Biodiversity and Conservation 10, 1645-1682.

Vermeulen SJ. 1996. Cutting of trees by local residents in a communal area and an adjacent state forest in Zimbabwe. For. Ecol. Manage. 81, 101–111.

Walpole MJ, Nabaala M, Matankory C. 2004. Status of the Mara Woodlands in Kenya African Journal of Ecology, Afr. J. Ecol., 42, 180–188.

Wild H, Barbosa LAG. 1968. Vegetation map of the Flora Zambesiaca. Flora Zambesiaca Supplement. M.O. Collins, Salisbury.

Williams M, Ryan CM, Rees RM, Sarnbane E, Femando J, Grace J. 2008. Carbon sequestration and biodiversity of re-growing miombo woodlands in Mozambique. Forest Ecology and Management 254, 145-155.