Afromontane forests support diverse species and provide numerous ecosystem goods and services. There are few studies examining the role of dry Afromontane forests in biodiversity conservation, thus motivating our assessment of plant diversity and communities in five dry Afromontane forests. The objective of the study was to determine plant diversity and communities along environmental, harvesting and grazing gradients. Vegetation data were collected systematically in 80 quadrats (400 m2) with subplots for shrubs and herbaceous species. Biodiversity models and multivariate analyses were employed to determine diversity and community types. Cluster and Redundancy Analyses (RDA) were employed for classification and ordination. The result showed that the forests contained 153 species belonging to 63 families of which six species were endemic. Shannon-Weiner index (H') and its effective number of species in five forests were 2.4 and 11.11, respectively. Modeling diversity and evenness exhibited a declining trend along with an increase in elevation. The harvesting index and grazing intensity correlated negatively with richness and diversity. A cluster analysis coupled with indicator species resulted in four community types. RDA showed that the cumulative variance explained by the first four axes accounted for 14.4% of the species variation. The environmental factors that contributed most to explaining species-environment variation included elevation (37.3%), total nitrogen (13.3%), soil pH (12.2%) and grazing intensity (11.8%). In conclusion, dry Afromontane forests contained considerable endemic species, diversity and community types. However, environmental factors, harvesting and grazing intensity showed significant impacts on diversity and community types. Therefore, an effective management plan is needed for the conservation of biodiversity in the forests.
Abiyu, A., M. Lemenih, G. Gratzer, R. Aerts, D. Teketay, G. Glatzel 2011. Status of native woody species diversity and soil characteristics in an enclosure and in plantations of Eucalyptus globulus and Cupressus lusitanica in Northern Ethiopia. Mt. Res. Dev. 31(2): 144-152. DOI: 10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-10-00116.1View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Aerts, R., K. van Overtveld, M. Haile, M. Hermy, J. Deckers, B. Muys 2006. Species composition and diversity of small Afromontane forest fragments in northern Ethiopia. Plant Ecol. 187(1): 127-142. DOI: 10.1007/s11258-006-9137-0View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Alelign, E., D. Teketay, Y. Yemshaw, S. Edwards 2007. Diversity and status of regeneration of woody plants on the peninsula of Zegie, northwestern Ethiopia. Trop. Ecol. 48: 37-50.
Asbjornsen, H., K.A. Vogt, M.S. Ashton 2004. Synergistic responses of oak, pine and shrub seedlings to edge environments and drought in a fragmented tropical highland oak forest, Oaxaca, Mexico. For. Ecol. Manag. 192(2-3): 313-334. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2004.01.035View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Betemariam, E.A. 2011. Forest diversity in fragmented landscapes of northern Ethiopia and implications for conservation.Ph.D. Dissertation. Addis Ababa.
Ch?vez, V. and S.E. Macdonald 2012. Partitioning vascular understory diversity in mixedwood boreal forests: the importance of mixed canopies for diversity conservation. For. Ecol. Manag. 271: 19-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.12.038View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Crausbay, S.D. and P.H. Martin 2016. Natural disturbance, vegetation patterns and ecological dynamics in tropical montane forests. J. Trop. Ecol. 32(5): 384-403. DOI: 10.1017/S0266467416000328View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Dattaraja, H. S., S. Pulla, H.S. Suresh, M.S. Nagaraja, C. A. Srinivasa Murthy, R. Sukumar 2018. Woody plant diversity in relation to environmental factors in a seasonally dry tropical forest landscape. J. Veg. Sci. 29(4): 704-714. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12652View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Davidar, P., J.P. Puyravaud, E.G. Leigh 2005. Changes in rain forest tree diversity, dominance, and rarity across a seasonality gradient in the Western Ghats, India. J. Biogeogr. 32(3): 493-501. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01165.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
Deichert, G., F. Kr?mer, A. Sch?ning 2014. Turning degraded land into productive landscapes, Ethiopian highlands. ETFRN News 56: 82-87.
Dossa, G.G., E. Paudel, J. Fujinuma, H. Yu, W. Chutipong, Y. Zhang, S. Paz, R.D. Harrison 2013. Factors determining forest diversity and biomass on a tropical volcano, Mt. Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia. PLoS One 8(7): e67720.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067720View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Dufr?ne, M. and P. Legendre 1997. Species assemblages and indicator species: the need for a flexible asymmetrical approach. Ecol. Monogr. 67(3): 345-366. DOI: 10.2307/2963459View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Dyer, J.M. 2009. Assessing topographic patterns in moisture use and stress using a water balance approach. Landsc. Ecol. 24(3): 391-403. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-008-9316-6View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Edwards, S., M. Tadese, I. Hedberg 1995. Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea Vol. 2, Part 2: Canellaceae to Euphorbiaceae, AAU.
Edwards, S., M. Tadesse, I. Hedberg eds. 2000. Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Vol. 2, part 1. Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, 532 pp.
Flynn, D. F., M. Gogol?Prokurat, T. Nogeire, N. Molinari, B.T. Richers, B.B. Lin, N. Simpson, M.M. Mayfield, F. Declerck 2009. Loss of functional diversity under land use intensification across multiple taxa. Ecol. Lett. 12(1): 22-33. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01255.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
Hedberg, I., O. Hedberg, S. Edwards, S. Demissew 1997. Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Vol. 6, Hydrocharitaceae to Arecaceae, National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University.
Hedberg, I., S. Edwards and N. Sileshi eds. 2003. Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Vol. 4:1. Apiaceae to Dipsacaceae. Addis Ababa and Uppsala.
Hedberg, I. and S. Edwards eds. 1989. Flora of Ethiopia. Vol. 3. Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, 659 pp.
Hedberg, I., S. Edwards eds. 1995. Flora of Ethiopia. Vol. 7. Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, 420 pp.
Hill, M. O. 1973. Diversity and evenness: a unifying notation and its consequences. Ecology 54(2): 427-432. DOI: 10.2307/1934352View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Kebede, M., E. Yirdaw, O. Luukkanen, M. Lemenih 2013. Plant community analysis and effect of environmental factors on the diversity of woody species in the moist Afromontane forest of Wondo Genet, South Central Ethiopia. Biodiv. Res. Conserv. 29(1):63-80. DOI: 10.2478/biorc-2013-0003View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Kelbessa, E., S. Demissew 2014. The diversity of vascular plant taxa of the flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiop. J. Biol. Sci. 13: 37-45.
Kent, M. 2011. Vegetation description and data analysis: a practical approach John Wiley & Sons.
Kikoti, I. A. and C. Mligo 2015. Impacts of livestock grazing on plant species composition in montane forests on the northern slope of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management 11(2): 114-127. DOI: 10.1080/21513732.2015.1031179View ArticleGoogle Scholar
K?rner, C., M. Donoghue, T. Fabbro, C. H?use, D. Nogu?s-Bravo, M.T.K. Arroyo, J. Soberon, L. Speers, E.M. Spehn, H.S un 2007. Creative use of mountain biodiversity databases: the Kazbegi research agenda of GMBA-DIVERSITAS. Mt. Res. Dev. 27(3): 276-281. DOI: 10.1659/mrd.0880View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Kumar, A. and J. Ram 2005. Anthropogenic disturbances and plant biodiversity in forests of Uttaranchal, central Himalaya. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(2): 309-331. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-004-5047-4View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Lee, C.B. and J.H. Chun 2016. Environmental drivers of patterns of plant diversity along a wide environmental gradient in Korean temperate forests. Forests 7(12): 19. DOI: 10.3390/f7010019View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Lemenih, M. and F. Bongers 2011. Dry forests of Ethiopia and their silviculture. Silviculture in the Tropics (Tropical Forestry) 8: 261-272. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-19986-8_17View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Li, W., L. Cui, B. Sun, X. Zhao, C. Gao, Y. Zhang, M. Zhang, X. Pan, Y. Lei, W. Ma 2017. Distribution patterns of plant communities and their associations with environmental soil factors on the eastern shore of Lake Taihu, China. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability 3(9): 1385004. DOI: 10.1080/20964129.2017.1385004View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Liu, Y., Y. Zhang, D. He, M. Cao, H. Zhu 2007. Climatic control of plant species richness along elevation gradients in the Longitudinal Range-Gorge Region. Sci. Bull. 52(s2): 50-58. DOI: 10.1007/s11434-007-7006-4View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Magurran, A.E. 2004. An Index of Diversity. Measuring Biological Diversity. Blackwell publishing company.
Mandle, L. and T. Ticktin 2013. Moderate land use shifts plant diversity from overstory to understory and contributes to biotic homogenization in a seasonally dry tropical ecosystem. Biol. Conserv. 158: 326-333. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.006View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Matteodo, M., S. Wipf, V. St?ckli, C. Rixen, P. Vittoz 2013. Elevation gradient of successful plant traits for colonizing alpine summits under climate change. Environ. Res. Lett. 8(2): 024043. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024043View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Mekonnen, M., T. Sewunet, M. Gebeyehu, B. Azene, A.M. Melesse 2016. GIS and remote sensing-based forest resource assessment, quantification, and mapping in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Landscape Dynamics, Soils and Hydrological Processes in Varied Climates. Springer.
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-18787-7_2View ArticleGoogle Scholar
M?ndez?Toribio, M., J.A. Meave, I. Zerme?o?Hern?ndez, G. Ibarra?Manr?quez 2016. Effects of slope aspect and topographic position on environmental variables, disturbance regime and tree community attributes in a seasonal tropical dry forest. J. Veg. Sci. 27(6): 1094-1103. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12455View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Miles, L., A.C. Newton, R.S. Defries, C. Ravilious, I. May, S. Blyth, V. Kapos, J.E. Gordon 2006. A global overview of the conservation status of tropical dry forests. ?J. Biogeogr. 33(3): 491-505. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01424.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
Moeslund, J.E., L. Arge, P.K. B?cher, T. Dalgaard, J.C.S venning 2013. Topography as a driver of local terrestrial vascular plant diversity patterns. Nord. J. Bot. 31(2): 129-144. DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-1051.2013.00082.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
Nelson, D. W. and L.E. Sommers 1996. Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. Methods of soil analysis part 3—chemical methods, 961-1010.
Pandey, S. and R. Shukla 2003. Plant diversity in managed sal (Shorea robusta Gaertn.) forests of Gorakhpur, India: species composition, regeneration and conservation. Biodivers. Conserv. 12(11): 2295-2319.
Pellissier, L., K. Fiedler, C. Ndribe, A. Dubuis, J.N. Pradervand, A. Guisan, S. Rasmann 2012. Shifts in species richness, herbivore specialization, and plant resistance along elevation gradients. Ecol. Evol. 2(8):1818-1825. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.296View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Pielou, E.C.1966. Species-diversity and pattern-diversity in the study of ecological succession. J. Theor. Biol. 10(2): 370-383. DOI: 10.1016/0022-5193(66)90133-0View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Putz, F., P. Zuidema, T. Synnott, M. Pe?a-Claros, M. Pinard, D. Sheil, J. Vanclay, P. Sist, S. Gourlet-Fleury, B. Griscom 2012. Sustaining conservation values in selectively logged tropical forests: the attained and the attainable. Conserv. Lett. 5(4): 296-303.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00242.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
R Core Team 2016. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria.
Ries, L., R. J. Fletcher JR, J. Battin and T.D. Sisk, 2004. Ecological Responses to Habitat Edges: Mechanisms, Models, And Variability Explained. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 35(1):491-522. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.35.112202.130148View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Rosenzweig, M. L. 1995. Species Diversity in Space and Time. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511623387View Article
Sagar, R., A. Raghubanshi, J. Singh 2003. Tree species composition, dispersion, and diversity along a disturbance gradient in a dry tropical forest region of India. For. Ecol. Manag. 186(1-3): 61-71. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1127(03)00235-4View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Shrestha, K.B, I.E. M?ren, E. Arneberg, J.P. Sah, O.R. Vetaas 2013. Effect of anthropogenic disturbance on plant species diversity in oak forests in Nepal, Central Himalaya. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management 9(1): 21-29.
DOI: 10.1080/21513732.2012.749303View ArticleGoogle Scholar
?milauer, P. and J. Lep? 2014. Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO 5, Cambridge university press.
Song, X., A. Nakamura, Z. Sun, Y. Tang, M. Cao 2016. Elevational distribution of adult trees and seedlings in a tropical montane transect, Southwest China. Mt. Res. Dev. 36(3): 342-354. DOI: 10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-15-00109.1View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Soromessa, T., D. Teketay, S. Demissew 2004. An ecological study of the vegetation in the Gamo Gofa zone, southern Ethiopia. Trop. Eco. 45: 209-222.
Teketay, D. 2005. Seed and regeneration ecology in dry Afromontane forests of Ethiopia: II. Forest disturbances and succession. Trop. Eco. 46: 45-64.
van der Maarel, E. and J. Franklin eds. 2012. Vegetation ecology, John Wiley & Sons. Chichester, United Kingdom.
Zhang, J.T., B. Xu and M. Li 2013. Vegetation patterns and species diversity along elevational and disturbance gradients in the Baihua Mountain Reserve, Beijing, China. Mt. Res. Dev. 33(2): 170-178. DOI: 10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-11-00042.1View ArticleGoogle Scholar
Zhang, J.T., M. Zhang and R. Mian 2016. Effects of elevation and disturbance gradients on forest diversity in the Wulingshan Nature Reserve, North China. Environ. Earth Sci. 75(10): 904. DOI: 10.1007/s12665-016-5734-yView ArticleGoogle Scholar
Copyright @ Taiwania Editorial Office. All rights reserved.
Published by College of Life Science, National Taiwan University & Biodiversity Association of Taiwan, Taiwan
Contact address: Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, No.1, Sec.4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan