Anthropogenic Disturbance on the Vegetation in Makurunge Woodland, Bagamoyo District, Tanzania
AbstractMakurunge woodland is part of the major vegetation component covering coastal forest landscape in Tanzania that has been severely affected by anthropogenic disturbance. The present study determined the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on biomass, diversity, plant communities and plant species distribution pattern using nested sample plots systematically established along transects. Six major vegetation communities with different biomass were found. Plant species diversity ranged from 2.5 to 3.3 and was high in scrub forests, riverine and thicketed habitats, although the difference among these habitats was not significant (P>0.05). About 61-90% of the woodland was affected and this influenced the plant species distribution pattern with strong disturbance gradients in both the first and the second Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) axes. Although fire disturbance rated the highest among variables, its effect was not significant. Monte Carlo test showed that charcoal making, pole cutting and fuel wood cutting had significant effects on the distribution pattern of plant species. Fragmentation of habitats formed patches that have reduced plant species population sizes, and this reduced biodiversity in the study area. Conservation of woodland habitats is necessary for survival of plant populations in the remaining stands.
Keywords: Anthropogenic disturbance, biomass, CCA, communities, distribution, diversity
Tanz. J. Sci. Vol. 37 2011, 94-108
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