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International Journal of Pure & Applied Bioscience (IJPAB)
Year : 2016, Volume : 4, Issue : 3
First page : (28) Last page : (44)
Article doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.18782/2320-7051.2306

Plant Species Diversity in Western Tanzania: Comparison between Frequently Burnt and Fire Suppressed Forests

Nyatwere D. Mganga1* and Herbert V.M. Lyaruu2
1Department of Life Sciences, Mkwawa University College of Education
(A Constituent College of the University of Dar es Salaam), P. O. Box 2513, Iringa, Tanzania
2Department of Botany, University of Dar es Salaam, P. O. Box 35060, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
*Corresponding Author E-mail: nyatwere2@yahoo.com
Received: 6.06.2016  |  Revised: 18.06.2016   |  Accepted: 22.06.2016  

It has been established that there is a crucial relationship between biological diversity and quality of ecosystem services. Environmental pressures are directly responsible for survival and perpetuation of plant species in ecosystems. In forests and woodlands, wildfire is among the pronounced abiotic factors that influence reproductive success. The present study was confined to two miombo forests, namely, Ilunde which was frequently burnt and Kitwe a fire - suppressed one. The study aimed to compare the diversity of all plant forms (tree, shrubs, saplings, herbs and grasses) in the two forests. Thirty (30) circular concentric plots were established in each forest and used to record total number of individuals of all species. The diversity of plant species was determined using Shannon-Wiener diversity index and compared using ANOVA. MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectro-radiometry) data at high temporal resolutions were used to determine the fire frequency of Ilunde forest. The diversity of plant species of all forms was significantly high in the frequently burnt forest of Ilunde (P < 0.005). Frequent fires increase the diversity of plant species in miombo woodlands. It is likely that disturbances from wildfires eliminate disturbance-sensitive species, ultimately, increasing species diversity by creating niches and resources for use by invading species. There is a need to carry out further studies on the threshold, optimal and critical fire frequencies for high plant species diversity due to environmental concerns.

Key words: Diversity; Miombo; MODIS; Wildfire; Woodlands

Full Text : PDF; Journal doi : http://dx.doi.org/10.18782

Cite this article: Mganga, N. D. and Lyaruu, H.V.M., Plant Species Diversity in Western Tanzania: Comparison between Frequently Burnt and Fire Suppressed Forests, Int. J. Pure App. Biosci.4(3): 28-44 (2016). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.18782/2320-7051.2306