Species composition, Plant Community structure and Natural regeneration status of Belete Moist Evergreen Montane Forest, Oromia Regional state, Southwestern Ethiopia
Belete forest is one of the very few remnant moist evergreen montane forests in Ethiopia. The objective of this work was to study the vegetation structure, composition and Natural regeneration status of Belete moist evergreen montane forest. To investigate the plant community structure, composition and regeneration status of Belete forest, line transects were laid down on the longest transect starting from the bottom valley to the top ridge. Sample quadrats 20m x20 m, 5m x 5m, 1m x 1m were laid for trees, shrubs, sapling and seedling, and herbaceous layer respectively in a nested form. The sample quadrats were laid down along transects at a distance of 50m from each other. A total of 69 quadrats were sampled. Vegetation classification was performed using PC - ORD for windows version 5.0. Five communities were recognized. Results showed that a total of 157 plant species representing 69 families and 135 genera were recorded. These were composed of 31.2% Herbs, 28.7% Trees, 26.1% Shrubs, 5.7% Climbers, 5.1% Liana, 1.9% Epiphytic herbs, and 1.3% herbaceous Ferns. The major families were Fabaceae and Asteraceae each represented by 10 species (6.4%), followed by Lamiaceae 9 (5.7%) and Rubiaceae 6 (3.8%). Other thirty three families consisting 19.8% were represented by one species only. Regeneration status of the forest was analyzed by comparing saplings and seedlings with the matured trees. Results revealed that Belete moist evergreen montane forest is at good regeneration status. Planning and management of the forest should be assisted by research findings, such as detailed ecological studies in relation to various environmental factors.
Keywords: Belete forest, Community structure, Moist Evergreen Montane Forest, Regeneration.
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