Diversity and Conservation of Wild Food Plants in Chenene Miombo Woodland, Dodoma Rural District, Tanzania

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Addis Ababa Universty


This study was done to assess the diversity and conservation of edible wild-food plants in Chenene Miombo Woodland (CMW) in Dodoma Rural District, Central Tanzania. A total of 64 species of plants representing 23 families were identified. Out of these, 31 were wild food plants, distributed in 20 families. Among the studied plant species, 48% were used for food. Most of these belong to the families Caparidaceae and Fabaceae. The preferred species were Vitex donial/a Sweet, Tamarindlls indica L. and StlycJlIlOS cocclIloides (Baker.). The wild food plants in CMW had a significant difference (p<0.05) in growth forms in which the number of shrubs was significantly higher in both lowland and mountain forest reserves whereas the unreserved forest had the lowest. Height and diameter classes distribution indicated highest number of individuals in the lower classes and this suggests that there is high rate ofreclUitment. The seedling and sapling densities of wild food plants indicated significant difference (One-way ANOV A, P<0.05) in the three sites. The community type analysis provided four (4) main types of communities named as Julbe/'lladia globiflora-Bmchystegia bllssei. (Community I), Dichrostachys cinerea-Combretlllll zeyheri (Community II), COlI/bre/lIIn zeyheri -Acacia negrescens (Community III) and Cordia lI/onoica-S/lycJmos coccliloides (Community IV). The wild food plants distributed in all the community types showed that 26 (48%) wild food plants were found in Community I, five species of wild food plants found in Community II, seven plant species in Community III and 18 plant species of food plants found in Community IV. The results on species diversity, ricimess and evenness showed a significant difference (One-way ANOV A, P<0.05) among the communities in which diversity in community IV and I were much higher than in communities II and III. The similarity index of wild food plants in all the studied communities was 0.36 and the common species reflected to the similarity were Acacia negrescells Oliver and A. senegal (L.) Willd. The results also revealed that the use of wild foods as a component of local response to increasing food insecurity it has caused the declining trend of wild food. Several conservation practices for wild food plants have been in place conteract this, including domestication of wild food plants such as Tall/arindlls indica L. and Vi/ex doniana Sweet, in situ conservation and protection in the farmlands and water sources. However, implementation of these practices has been proved illusive due to the persistent drought, lack of conservation advisors, soil infertility as well as due to lack of local institutions for resource management. All these signifY the lack of policy favouring institutional development in conservation efforts. Therefore, there is a need of policy reforms to emphasize recognition of local institutions, agroforeshy practices and creating awareness on the significant roles of wild food plants in the area.



Wild Food Plants