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ABSTRACT:

Effects of linear edges on tree communities and soil properties in a moist semi-deciduous forest in Ghana

Article; Early Access

Addo-Fordjour, P; Abrokwah, J; Arko, AP; Pappoe, NA; Yawson, D; Yeboah, N; Roberttsiquaye, A; Puobe, RN; Anane-Frimpong, K; Fosu, SA; Ansah-Owusu, J; Dankwa, LD; Oppong, FD; Otu, TK; Russell, RE

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2024

PLANT ECOLOGY

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Edge disturbance can affect forest vegetation and soil properties, causing shifts in plant community structure. We investigated how linear forest edges influence tree community structure, soil properties, and the relationship of tree species composition with soil properties in a moist semi-deciduous forest, Ghana. We quantified tree community structure in 35 20 x 20-m plots each in forest edge and interior areas, and analyzed soil properties in the plots. Our findings revealed no significant difference in tree diversity between the forest edge and interior, although species composition differed considerably. The forest interior supported a significantly higher tree density than the forest edge, although basal area was similar between the edge and interior. Individual tree species exhibited different responses to the forest edge at varying magnitudes. Generally, light-demanding and shade-tolerant species showed associations with the forest edge and interior, respectively. Soils at the forest edge contained significantly lower Mg and higher Na concentrations than soils in the forest interior, while concentrations of other soil properties were similar between the forest edge and interior. Many of the soil properties (Na, Ca, P, Mg, effective cation exchange capacity, organic matter, soil texture) were uniquely associated with tree species composition in either the forest edge or interior. This study increases our understanding of linear edge effects on tree communities and soil properties, which can contribute to developing comprehensive edge theory for forest management.

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