The vegetation of Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, south-eastern Zimbabwe

  • BW Clegg
  • TG O’Connor

Abstract

The vegetation of Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in Zimbabwe (39 378 ha) was classified and mapped in 2003 using an integrated approach of ground-based measurement and remote sensing. Environmental variables, structure and composition of the tree, shrub and herbaceous layers were sampled at 201 sites across the reserve. Thirty-eight vegetation types were identified using TWINSPAN, and a map of the types was created by supervised classification of a Landsat 7 ETM+ image (2000). A discriminant function analysis showed that the types were primarily separated along a soil textural gradient. A secondary gradient, associated with changes in soil depth, rockiness, slope and topographical position, was also important. Ordination indicated that several other independent environmental gradients appeared to be influencing the vegetation. Comparisons with other southern African savannas are made, and similarities and differences are discussed.

Keywords: classification, GIS, plant community ecology, remote sensing, savanna

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2012, 29(3): 109–131

Author Biographies

BW Clegg
The Malilangwe Trust, Research, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Chiredzi, Private Bag 7085, Zimbabwe; School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, PO WITS 2050,Johannesburg, South Africa
TG O’Connor
School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, PO WITS 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa; SAEON, PO Box 2600, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Published
2013-01-14
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119