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Govt. of India Trust : E/11049/Rajkot
Income tax of India 80G : AADTK8161HF20221
Income tax of India 12A : AADTK8161HE20217

Volume 1 – Issue 2 – 2020

Original Research Article

Small Scale Spatial and Temporal Variation in Vegetation Structure and Composition of Tropical Forests under Different Management Systems

Peter Fundi

Department of Environmental Studies and Resource Development, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Studies, Chuka University, P.O. Box 109-60400, Chuka, (KENYA)

PAGE NO: 165-172


This study examined spatial and temporal variation in forest structure and composition of indigenous Mount Kenya forests on a small-scale. This was achieved by comparing trees, shrubs and herbs density and composition among two forested sites under different management regimes and separated by 5Km stretch of exotic Cupressus lusitanica plantation. The sites were under state and private management. The study aimed at quantifying changes in vegetation composition between seasons and in space at a small scale. Despite the slight difference in mean trees density between the two sites, there was a significant variation in mean tree basal area as the conservancy forest wasn’t pristine. On examining temporal variation in vegetation composition, herbs diversity was higher at Mawingu (H’=1.60) than at the conservancy (H’ =1.40) during wet season.  To demonstrate spatial variation, slight change in altitude affected shrub diversity at Mawingu during both seasons. Change in slope, however affected herb diversity in both sites during the dry season. Generally, Jaccard coefficient of community similarity depicted a low vegetation similarity between the two sites in both seasons which could be associated with variation in soil physical structure. The observed spatial and temporal variation in vegetation composition could have been caused by changes in abiotic factors, such as elevation, slope position, water table and edaphic aspects. Biotic factors such as human influence and herbivory could also lead to the observed variation in floristic composition and community structure.