Vegetation structure and heavy metal uptake by plants in the mining-impacted and non mining-impacted sites of Southern Lake Victoria Wetlands

  • GYS Mtui
  • C Mligo
  • MKD Mutakyahwa
  • JR Ikingura


This study assessed the plant species composition and the heavy metal uptake by plants in the mining-impacted and non mining-impacted areas of the southern Lake Victoria basin. The vegetation of the wetlands was stratified into riverine forest, riverine thickets, swampy grassland, open woodland and floodplain grassland. Plant diversity at Nyamtukuza ranged between 2.34 to 2.70; at Geita was 2.29 to 2.57 and Mwakitolyo was between 1.08 to 1.70, which was significantly lower than the other two sites; whereas variation in plant species richness was not significant. TWINSPAN classification resulted into four clusters of the vegetation communities. Cluster A, a shrubby community with Combretum molle, Bersama abyssinica, Acalypha ornata and Acacia brevispica indicated previous cutting of woody species from the area. Cluster B was a severely disturbed community with Bidens pilosa and Anthocleista grandiflora as early successors. Cluster C was a community with moderate disturbance levels and cluster D was of wetland vegetation community types with indicator species such as Pistia stratiotes and Corchorus aestuans that are characteristic permanent wetland species. CCA ordination showed a significant positive correlation of the soil mineral elements to those in plants at axis 1. The influence of soil minerals on plant species distribution pattern was not significant at axis 1.

Tanzania Journal of Science Vol. 32 (2) 2006: pp. 39-50

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eISSN: 2507-7961
print ISSN: 0856-1761