Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 145–158 | Cite as

Woody species composition, diversity and structure of riparian forests of four watercourses types in Burkina Faso

  • Oumarou SambaréEmail author
  • Fidèle Bognounou
  • Rüdiger Wittig
  • Adjima Thiombiano
Original Paper


Riparian forests are classified as endangered ecosystems in general, particularly in sahelian countries like Burkina Faso because of human-induced alterations and civil engineering works. The modification of this important habitat is continuing, with little attention being paid to the ecological or human consequences of these changes. The objective of this study is to describe the variation of woody species diversity and dynamic in riparian forests on different type of watercourse banks along phytogeographical gradient in Burkina Faso. All woody species were systematically measured in 90 sample plots with sides of 50 m × 20 m. Density, dominance, frequency and species and family importance values were computed to characterize the species composition. Different diversity indices were calculated to examine the heterogeneity of riparian forests. A total of 196 species representing 139 genera and 51 families were recorded in the overall riparian forests. The species richness of individuals with dbh ≥ 5cm increased significantly from the North to the South along the phytogeographical gradient and varied significantly between the different types of riparian forests. Similarity in tree species composition between riparian forests was low, which indicates high beta diversity and reflects differences in habitat conditions and topography. The structural characteristics varied significantly along the phytogeographical gradient and between the different types of riparian forests. The diameter class distribution of trees in all riparian forests showed a reverse “J” shaped curve except riparian forest of stream indicating vegetation dominated by juvenile individuals. Considering the ecological importance of riparian forest, there is a need to delineate and classify them along watercourses throughout the country.


biodiversity dynamic species richness rivers streams phytogeographical gradient 


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oumarou Sambaré
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fidèle Bognounou
    • 1
  • Rüdiger Wittig
    • 2
  • Adjima Thiombiano
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie et Ecologie végétales, UFR/SVTUniversité de OuagadougouOuagadougou 03Burkina Faso
  2. 2.Botanical InstituteJ. W., Goethe-UniversityFrankfurt / MGermany

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