A report on vegetation types, species diversity, and distribution of Monduli mountains forest reserve in Monduli district, northern highlands of Tanzania
Keywords:Diversity, Northern Highlands of Tanzania, Plant Species richness, Threats
The forest reserves are well managed when the available resources are known for their richness, diversity, abundance, distribution, and the encountered threats. This survey dealt with an assessment of threats endangering the plant species of Monduli Mountain Forest Reserve (MMFR) in Monduli District, northern highlands of Tanzania. Six (6) clusters of 10 plots measuring 20 m x 20 m each were established in MMFR making a total of 60 sample plots. The 20m x 20 m plots were established to determine the trees. Nested plots of 2 m x 5 m were established to determine the non-tree woody plants, and 1 m x 1 m quadrates were established to determine the herbaceous plants. Trees and non-tree woody plants were identified and counted for their number of individuals, while the herbaceous plants were determined for their number of occurrences in the sample plots. Threats endangering the plant species richness, diversity, and distribution of herbaceous plants were identified. The identified vegetation types were: (i) bushland (ii) montane forest (iii) dry riverine forest (iv) bamboo forest, (v) Plantation Forest pat, and (vi) wooded grassland. The plant species richness (S) was 308. Of those 144 were herbaceous plants, 84were trees, and 80 were non-tree woody plants. The calculated H' for trees and non-tree woody plants was>1.5 an implication of high diversity for such growth forms. Out of the 144 herbaceous plants, nine (9) of them were the most distributed, with an RF of 4.202 ± 2.521. 13 were moderately distributed with the RF of 2.353 ± 1.345, while the rest 122 species got an RF of < 1.345. This implied that most of the herbaceous plants were the least distributed in MMFR and hence were at risk of local extinction in case of any severe damage wherever they exist. The identified threats of MMFR were livestock grazing, encroachment on agriculture crop farming, harvesting bamboos, logging for local honey bee hives, snaring for wild meat, wildfires firewood collection, and invasive plants including Datura stramonium, Nicotiana glauca, Senna didymobotrya and Caesalpinia decapetala MMFR is potential in terms of natural resources including flora on the valleys, spurs, mountains peaks and slopes. The vegetation types serve as homes for wildlife diversity. The most abundant and most distributed plants are more guaranteed of survival than the least abundant. The threats to plants are mostly man-made, that need to be controlled by conservation stakeholders. Education provision, restoration of degraded areas, and upgrading to a nature reserve is a panacea to sustainable conservation of MMFR.
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