Comparison on Vegetation Composition and Structure in Fire Prone Forest of Ilunde and Fire Suppressed Forest of Kitwe in Tanzania
Keywords:vegetation, composition, structure, fire prone, miombo
Fire is among the factors influencing survival and development of plants in ecosystems. This study was conducted in frequently burnt and fire suppressed miombo woodlands of Ilunde and Kitwe, respectively. Tree stem density, basal area and composition of plants were determined. The methods used involved recording the numbers of tree stems, diameter at breast height and classifying vegetation to species level. In Kitwe forest, mean stem density of 582.7 ± 52.90 stems ha– was higher than 356.8 ± 38.98 stems ha– which was recorded in Ilunde forest (t = 15.98, df = 29, p < 0.05). Similarly, a higher mean tree basal area of 16.14 ± 1.32 m2 ha– was recorded in Kitwe forest, while 8.54 ± 0.94 m2 ha– being recorded in Ilunde forest (t = 3.34, df = 14, p < 0.05). Czekanowski’s similarity coefficients for trees, shrubs and saplings, and herbs and grasses were 0.46, 0.34 and 0.22, respectively. Fire adapted species were recorded in Ilunde forest. Fire prone miombo woodland had lower tree stem density, basal area and dominated by fire adapted species. Similarity coefficient between the two forests was also low. Prescribed burning is recommended in miombo woodlands for sustainable species composition and tree structure.
Keywords: vegetation; composition, structure, fire prone, miombo