Tree Seedlings and Saplings in Treefall Gaps and Under Canopy Shades in Shashemenne-Munessa Natural Forest

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Addis Ababa University


Eleven sites including treefall gaps and surrounding shades (under canopy) were studied in the Shashemenne-Munessa natural forest to investigate the dominance, frequency, density and overall importance of established seedlings and saplings of high forest tree species. Examination of the established seedlings and saplings of tree species in the gaps showed that Croton lIlacrostachyus, Rapanea melanophloeos, Maesa lanceolata, Podocmpusjalcatlls and Vernonia auriculijera constitute the most important species in the gaps studied. Croton macrostachyus was found to have the highest percentage value as overall and definitive gapfiller, whereas, Maesa lanceo[ata, Podocmplls jalcatlls and Juniperus procera were found to be the most important gapmakers. These gapmakers constituted 76% of the canopy composition in the Shashemenne-Munessa natural forest. The replacement proportions in gaps were examined to assess their role in the forest community and no evidence was found to support self or reciprocal replacement. The gapmakers-gapfillers comparisons indicated preferential replacement of ahnost all species by Croton lIlacrostachyus, suggesting that the community is undergoing successional change. No significant correlations were found between the gapmakers and gapfillers, canopy composition and gapfillers, gap size and dominance as well as importance values of species. However, statistically significant correlations were found betw.ecn species'cbtniJ,ositioh, a*4 gaRsi,2;~ iul<f , ( , '( , . '-' - "" ( (~. ,. ( also between relative density of some ~J~~i~s' arid g~p '~ize. ,:Tt;er ~p~'(:\e~ • w~re' • ( ( , -' ( - - ( « " '/ classified as pioneers and climax. The ~tudyh~ve~J~rl thatP@(/QO'qrP[{ficj(llcatlls, : ,~>:.~'; :·"'i",'::,,;> May tenus addat, Rapanea lIlelanoph'toeos, DOJlyalis, ,abyssinica,. ,Bersamt1' abyssinica and Teclea lIobilis could be categorized as climax species, whereas, Juniperus procera, Maesa lanceolata, Vernonia auricillijera and Croton macrostachyus could be classified as forest pioneer species. Furthermore, the diversity of tree species was found to be greater in the gaps than under the closed canopy.



Tree Seedlings and Saplings, in Treefall Gaps and Under Canopy