Open Journal of Forestry | VOL. 08
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Floristic Composition and Diversity of Freshwater Swamp Forests in the Niger Basin of Nigeria

Publication Date Jan 1, 2018

Abstract

Freshwater swamp forests are wetland ecosystems with poorly understood ecology. With increasing degradation across the Niger basin (where it is the most extensive across West Africa), it is deemed important to understand its distribution, patterns and composition. This is aimed at both increasing botanical inventories in the ecosystem and also elucidate vital steps that could guide its effective conservation. This study assessed the floristic composition and diversity across 16 one hectare forest plots and sought to show how varied the sites were in terms of diversity, stem density and basal area. The survey showed that the area had 116 species within 82 genera and 36 families. The number of species found in each of the disturbed sites was generally higher than the intact forest sites, which was not diverse but comprised many trees with higher basal area. While the stem density which ranged from 94 - 409 stems·ha-1 is comparable with that of other tropical forests, species richness was low (ranging from 8.65 - 0.52). Diversity ranged from 3.38 - 0.98 and was higher in disturbed sites than in intact locations. Species richness was generally low and implies that loss of species in the ecosystem could threaten species’ existence and conservation in the ecosystem. Disturbed locations had more species than the intact zones and as such show the importance of targeted conservation not only in the undisturbed locations but also in the disturbed locations with a higher species value and potential for species stability of the ecosyste...

Concepts
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Disturbed Locations
Intact Forest Sites
Freshwater Swamp Forests
Stem Density
Higher Basal Area
Niger Basin
Intact Zones
Species Richness
Disturbed Sites
Floristic Diversity

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