, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 159-177

Diversity of naturally-regenerated native woody species in forest plantations in the Ethiopian highlands

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Abstract

Woody species diversity and ground layervegetation cover were studied in plantations ofPinus patula, Cupressus lusitanica,Grevillea robusta, and Juniperusprocera, and in surrounding natural forests inWondo Genet, Ethiopia. In the understory of theplantations, a total of 53 naturallyregenerated tree and shrub species belonging to31 families were recorded. Important indigenoustimber species were also represented. Treesaccounted for 72% of all naturally-regeneratedwoody plant species. On the average, 78% ofthe woody species found in plantations werealso found in the natural forest. There was nosignificant variation in understory woodyspecies richness among plantations. C.lusitanica plantations had a significantlyhigher abundance of woody species than those ofP. patula, but the difference wasnot significant in relation to J. procera,G. robusta and the adjacent natural forest.The herbaceous ground cover percentage in G. robusta and P. patula stands wasconsiderably higher than in C. lusitanicaand J. procera stands. Relative toplantations of other species, plantations ofthe native tree species J. procera hadhigher understory species richness, mediumwoody species abundance and low ground cover.Although there was a marked variation inoverstory plantation density, its effect onunderstory species richness and abundance wasnot significant. The density ofnaturally-regenerated woody species inplantations was over three times the usualplanting density in Ethiopia, indicating a highpotential of forest plantations for restoringthe natural forest ecosystems on degraded landsat a comparatively low cost.