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Woody species diversity and regeneration status of Sub-Alpine forest of Mount Adama exclosure site, Northwestern highlands of Ethiopia

Article

Mengistu, DA; Bekele, DA; Gela, AG; Meshesha, DT; Getahun, MM

NA

2023

HELIYON

9

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Forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services. Despite these facts, the expansion of agriculture and settlement at the expense of forest resources has threatened the forest resources and results in biodiversity loss. To halt this problem, various conservation practices that believed to restore the degraded lands and biodiversity of the country have been implemented. Area exclosure is among the conservation strategies that have been used to restore the degraded lands in Mount Adama forest. However, its role in woody species regeneration in Mount Adama was not investigated. Thus, the objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of area exclosure on woody plant species composition, regeneration status, structure and diversity in Mount Adama. A systematic transect sampling method was used to collect vegetation data. Hence, 53 plots with 400 m2 area were laid along 11 transects. Then, within the main plots, five subplots with 1 m2 were laid to determine the abundance and frequency of seedlings. The results showed that about 31 woody species that belong to 30 genera and 19 families including four endemic species were identified. The majority (67.74%) of the species were categorized under shrub habitat, while the remaining 19.35% and 12.90% were trees and lianas or climbers, respectively. Asteraceae family was dominant by contributing 4 species followed by Rosaceae and Solanaceae each contributed 3 species. Hypericum revolutum was the dominant species with 53.38 important value index followed by Erica arborea and Hagenia abyssinica with 49.12 and 40.05, respectively. The overall Shannon-Wiener diversity index and Shannon evenness in the exclosure site were 2.6 and 0.73, respectively. Furthermore, the number of seedlings and saplings were higher in the exclosure than the untreated site. The results of the study evidently showed that area exclosure that implemented in Mount Adam successfully contributed to the biodiversity restoration. Therefore, further conservation efforts targeting species with low IVI values are needed for sustainable management and ecological recovery of the area.

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