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International Journal of Biodiversity
Volume 2016, Article ID 9482057, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9482057
Research Article

Vascular Epiphytes in Doshke and Kurpaye: A Comparative Study, Gamo Gofa, Ethiopia

Department of Biology, Arba Minch University, P.O. Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Received 23 December 2015; Accepted 4 April 2016

Academic Editor: Alexandre Sebbenn

Copyright © 2016 Zeleke Assefa Getaneh and Feleke Woldeyes Gamo. 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

Epiphytes comprise about 10% of the world’s total flora. However, the survival of these important elements of the global vegetation is recognized to be increasingly threatened, and surveys made to study them remain far from being complete. This study has focused on investigating the vascular epiphytes (true epiphytes, hemiepiphytes, and accidental epiphytes) in Doshke and Kurpaye forests of Gamo Gofa zone, southwest Ethiopia. A total of 40 (20 in each) 25 m × 25 m quadrats were established along four line transects for vegetation data collection. A total of 35 species of vascular epiphytes were recorded in the two sites (22 and 14 species from Doshke and Kurpaye, resp.). Drynaria volkensii was the only species to be recorded from the two sites. Doshke and Kurpaye forests also varied in the number of phorophytes (17 and 10 phorophytes species, resp.). The richest epiphyte family of Doshke is Orchidaceae (5 species) and that of Kurpaye is Polypodiaceae (3 species) while Orchidaceae dominate the combined flora being represented by 7 species. In terms of vertical distribution, most species were located at the canopy area. Most vascular epiphytes showed no preference for host trees except for a few species which exhibited higher occurrence rates on the host plant species Syzygium guineense, Schrebera alata, and Acacia tortilis. Vascular epiphyte abundance and species richness were both significantly positively correlated with host tree size. Vascular epiphytes of the studied forests are under a serious pressure, mainly due to anthropogenic activities, and this may lead to their local extinction.