Effects of Canopy Cover and Understory Environment of Tree Plantations on Richness, Density and Size of Colonizing Woody Species in Southern Ethiopia
This study investigates the effects of canopy characteristics and associated understory environmental factors of tree plantations on native woody species colonization in two broadleaved and two coniferous plantations in southern Ethiopia. The plantation forests investigated are surrounded by dry Afromontane natural forest.
Research Goals & Methods
The authors measured canopy closure percent (CCP), leaf area index (LAI), understory air and soil temperatures as well as soil moisture, and species richness, height, dbh and heights of colonizing woody species (CWS) in the plantations.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The results suggest a correlation between canopy characteristics of plantation stands and understory species richness, density, DBH and height of CWS. These variables tended to decrease from open to closed canopy. Similar to other studies, these results show that relative proximity to natural forest alone has less influence on the species richness or density of CWS recruited in the understory of plantation stands. This is because C. lusitanica, the closest stand to the natural forest, exhibited the lowest species richness, density and sizes of CWS, while the relatively afar stands of C. africana and E. saligna had the opposite. The authors assert that both indigenous and exotic species could be equally used to foster the colonization of native woody species as long as the plantation species provides a reasonably open canopy that allows enough radiation to penetrate through the canopy.
Effects of canopy cover and understory environment of tree plantations on richness, density and size of colonizing woody species in southern Ethiopia. Forest Ecology and Management. 2004;194:1–10. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2004.01.050..
- Debub University, Wondo Genet College of Forestry, Shashemene, Ethiopia