Table of Contents
International Journal of Biodiversity
Volume 2013, Article ID 692564, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/692564
Research Article

Vegetation Structure and Composition across Different Land Uses in a Semiarid Savanna of Southern Zimbabwe

1Scientific Services, Gonarezhou National Park, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Private Bag 7003, Chiredzi, Zimbabwe
2Department of Wildlife and Safari Management, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Private Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
3Department of Animal Production and Technology, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Private Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

Received 11 January 2013; Revised 10 March 2013; Accepted 25 March 2013

Academic Editor: Antonio Terlizzi

Copyright © 2013 Patience Zisadza-Gandiwa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We compared the structure and composition of vegetation communities across different land uses in the northern Gonarezhou National Park and adjacent areas, southeast Zimbabwe. Vegetation data were collected from 60 sample plots using a stratified random sampling technique from April to May 2012. Stratification was by land use, and sample plots in all three strata occurred on predominantly siallitic soils. Our results show that the communal area had higher woody plant species diversity ( ) than the protected area ( ). However, the protected area had higher grass species richness per plot than the communal area and resettlement area. Overall, the protected area had more structural and compositional diversity than the other land use areas. These findings suggest that the areas adjacent to protected areas contribute to plant diversity in the greater ecosystem; hence conservation efforts should extend beyond the boundaries of protected areas. We recommend that protected area management should engage community-based institutions in neighbouring areas for effective monitoring of woody vegetation structure and composition.