The Spatial Distribution of Balanites aegypti aca (L.) Del. in Relation to Edaphic Factors, in Western Serengeti, Tanzania

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Addis Ababa Universty


The objective of this study was to explore the spatial distribution of Balanites aegyptiaca in relation to edaphic factors in Western Serengeti, Tanzania. Vegetation and soil samples were collected from 60 plots established in three sites A, Band C, which exhibit different conditions. In site A, B. aegypliaca grows as the only woody species while in site B, it coexists with other woody species and in site C, the species does not grow at all. Soil samples were analyzed for macronutrients composition, electrical conductivity, organic matter, texture, bulk density and moisture content. Single factor Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test whether there was a significant difference in levels of measured soil parameters between the sites. Student t -test was used to test the difference in B. aegyptiaca popUlations between the sites. The test was also used to determine a significant difference in diversity indices of grasses and herbaceous species that grow under the canopy and that grow outside the canopy of B. aegyptiaca. ANOV A showed that sodium, potassium, clay, bulk density, organic matter and electrical conductivity levels were significantly higher in the sites where a pure stand of B. aegyptiaca is found (P < 0.05). Although B. aegyptiaca trees with significantly high dbh and crown diameter values were recorded in the sites where a pure stand of the species is found (P < 0.5), their heights were not significantly different from those recorded at the site where the species coexists with other woody species B (P >0.05). The t test revealed a significant high diversity index of the grasses and herbaceous species under the canopy of B. aegyptiaca than outside the canopy. This study concluded that, B. aegyptiaca dominates massive water logged and compact soils of western Serengeti, because of its tolerance to saline and sodic soils. It also concluded that the population of the species is facing danger of decreasing. Key wOl'ds: B. aegyptiaca, soil, distl'ibution, population structure, western Serengeti



B. aegyptiaca, soil, Distl'ibution, Population structure, Western Serengeti