Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 396523
Title Species and structural diversity of church forests in a fragmented Ethiopian Highland landscape
Author(s) Wassie Eshete, Alemayehu; Sterck, F.J.; Bongers, F.
Source Journal of Vegetation Science 21 (2010)5. - ISSN 1100-9233 - p. 938 - 948.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1654-1103.2010.01202.x
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2010
Keyword(s) himalayan altitudinal gradient - tropical rain-forest - habitat fragmentation - montane forest - human impact - conservation - biodiversity - richness - disturbance - management
Abstract Question: Thousands of small isolated forest fragments remain around churches (“church forests”) in the almost completely deforested Ethiopian Highlands. We questioned how the forest structure and composition varied with altitude, forest area and human influence. Location: South Gondar, Amhara National Regional State, Northern Ethiopia. Methods: The structure and species composition was assessed for 810 plots in 28 church forests. All woody plants were inventoried, identified and measured (stem diameter) in seven to 56 10 m x 10-m plots per forest. Results: In total, 168 woody species were recorded, of which 160 were indigeneous. The basal area decreased with tree harvest intensity; understorey and middle-storey density (5 cm DBH trees) increased with altitude. The dominance of a small set of species increased with altitude and grazing intensity. Species richness decreased with altitude, mainly due to variation in the richness of the overstorey community. Moreover, species richness in the understorey decreased with grazing intensity. Conclusions: We show how tree harvesting intensity, grazing intensity and altitude contribute to observed variations in forest structure, composition and species richness. Species richness was, however, not related to forest area. Our study emphasizes the significant role played by the remaining church forests for conservation of woody plant species in North Ethiopian Highlands, and the need to protect these forests for plant species conservation purposes
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