Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 497–506 | Cite as

Recovery of Baikiaea forest of southwestern Zambia from shifting cultivation and its implications for sustainable management

  • Filipo Zulu
  • Stephen SyampunganiEmail author
  • Peter Fushike
Original Paper


We studied the dominant species by age category of re-growth, and how subsistence forest use through shifting cultivation impacted on the floristic composition of Baikiaea forest. For re-growth stands, variable sampling method was adopted in data collection while in mature stands, a sample plot size of 50 m × 50 m was used at each of three study sites. Distribution of species by age categories showed that shrub, herb, and grass species were abundant in young re-growth stands while woody vegetation became common with increasing age of the re-growth stand. Hierarchical clustering for common woody species showed several species associations with age categories and also with relatively undisturbed woodland. Common regeneration mechanisms of key woody species were mainly by seed (48%), coppicing (40%) and root suckers (12%). The young re-growth stands of 6–10 and 11–15 years were characterized by B. petersiana, B. massiensis, Combretum zeyheri, and Guibourtia coleosperma. Older stands (16–20 years after abandonment) were characterized by B. plurijuga, Pterocarpus antunesii, and Baphia massiensis, thus closely mimicking the relatively undisturbed forest whose dominant key woody species were B. plurijuga, P. antunesii, and G. coloesperma. There were many stems in younger stands (2–5 years) and fewer stems in older re-growth stands of 16–20 years after abandonment following shifting cultivation. Older re-growth stands (16–20 years) were similar to undisturbed stands (P < 0.005). The similarity between re-growth stands of 16–20 years and control stands demonstrates the recovery of Baikiaea forest over time after cessation of shifting agriculture. Baikiaea forest requires some disturbance to perpetuate the dominant species and begins to show signs of recovery from shifting cultivation within 16–20 years after abandonment. This is contrary to assertions that this ecosystem could take up to about 100 years for abandoned fields to begin showing signs of recovery


Regeneration dynamics Species diversity Tree species dominance Management model Shifting cultivation 

Supplementary material

11676_2018_656_MOESM1_ESM.docx (43 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 42 kb)


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Filipo Zulu
    • 1
  • Stephen Syampungani
    • 2
    Email author
  • Peter Fushike
    • 2
  1. 1.National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)LusakaZambia
  2. 2.School of Natural ResourcesCopperbelt UniversityKitweZambia

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