Status of indigenous tree species regeneration under exotic plantations in Belete forest, South West Ethiopia
AbstractThe potential for regeneration of native woody species in exotic plantation stands and in the adjacent natural forest in Belete forest was studied. The objective of the study was to assess the diversity and density of the naturally regenerated woody species in plantations at Belete forest. Vegetation assessment within the stands was conducted using a line
transect survey using square plot of size 10 m X 10 m which were established at 100m intervals along line transects which were 100 m apart. A total of 60 woody plant species belonging to 50 genera and 31 families were recorded regenerating under the canopy of exotic plantations and a natural forest at Belete forest. Only 40 of the species were found
in the plantations while 20 of them found only in the natural forest. The highest density of regeneration was recorded for Pinus patula followed by Cuppressus lucitanica. Cuppressus lucitanica plantation stand exhibited the highest value of Shannon diversity and evenness (2.5 and 0.84) followed by Eucalyptus saligna (2.13 and 0.83). Highest similarity index was observed between the plantation stands of Cuppressus lucitanica
and Eucalyptus saligna (0.67). On the other hand the Cuppressus lucitanica and Eucalyptus camaldulensis plantation stands showed relatively weak similarity (0.36). Pinus patula and Cuppressus lucitanica plantations had the highest similarity to the natural forest. The regeneration of native woody species under the canopies of exotic plantations in moist montane forest areas suggests the possibility of restoring degraded areas in southwestern Ethiopia using these exotic plantation stands.