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Effects of Fire Frequency on Woody Plant Composition and Functional Traits in a Wet Savanna Ecosystem
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of fire frequency on vegetation taxonomic and functional diversity in a wet savanna ecosystem, eastern Zimbabwe. The study area was stratified into three fire frequency regimes using a 15-year fire history (2000–2014) across the landscape: high (HFF: burnt every 1-2 years), medium (MFF: burnt every 3-4 years), and low (LFF: burnt every 5-6 years). Data were collected from a total of 30 plots measuring 20 m × 20 m each between March and May 2018. In each plot, we recorded tree maximum height (Hmax), woody plant density, basal diameter, resprouting capacity, and bark thickness. We calculated species evenness, diversity, functional richness (FRic), Rao’s Quadratic Entropy (RaoQ), functional redundancy, and relative bark thickness. We recorded 1,031 individual trees belonging to 24 species across the three fire regimes. Significant differences across the three fire regimes were recorded for Hmax, woody plant density, and relative bark thickness . Hmax and woody plant density were higher in LFF than HFF regimes while relative bark thickness was higher in HFF than in the LFF regimes. Species evenness was significantly higher in HFF and MFF regimes than LFF regime , while FRic and functional redundancy significantly increased with decreasing fire frequency . However, no significant differences were recorded for resprouting capacity, species richness, taxonomic diversity, and RaoQ . Species like Cassia petersiana, Cussonia spicata, Vachellia spp., and Rhus lancea were associated with LFF, while species like Protea gaguedi, Brachystegia utilis, and Vangueria infausta showed a strong association with HFF to MFF. Our study demonstrated that a combination of taxonomic and functional diversity metrics is adequate to evaluate the response of savanna vegetation to fire. We recommend a further assessment on vegetation composition using other elements of fire regimes.
Metallic Contamination of the Muscles of Three Fish Species from the Moulouya River (Lower Moulouya, Eastern Morocco)
This study introduces a spatiotemporal evaluation of the metallic contamination with three trace metals (mercury, lead, and cadmium) in the muscles of three fish species (Lepomis macrochirus, Barbus callensis, and Barbus nasus), of which the samples were taken from three stations in the Moulouya River: the confluence of the Moulouya River and the Sebra River (station 1), the neighbourhood of the farms in the region of Aklim downstream from confluence of Lakhmis river (station 2), and the level of ancient bridge of Ras El Ma-Moulouya (station 3), during the period from July 2017 to May 2018. The results have allowed us to highlight rather high contents of lead and mercury in the fish muscles, mainly in station 1, which receives domestic and industrial discharges. The contents of cadmium in all fish species in different stations are very low. Moreover, all concentrations assessed in different fish species do not exceed the maximum limit recommended by European Community (EC) Commission Regulation No. 1881/2006.
Response of Tropical African Macroinvertebrates with Varying Tolerances to Different Levels of Nitrate and Phosphate
Acute toxicity test was performed to determine the sensitivity of Neorpela spio, Baetis harrisoni, and Tubifex spp. to nitrates (NO3-N) and phosphates (PO4-P) with different concentrations after 96 hours of exposure time. The observed lethal effects and/or mortality increased with concentration and exposure time among tested species of different sensitivities. The results demonstrated that both nitrate and phosphate are toxic to the three studied organisms under the test conditions, with Neorpela spio displaying the highest acute effect in water with nitrate and phosphate compared with Baetis harrisoni and Tubifex spp. The 100% cumulative mortality was experienced at 3.2 mg NO3-N/L and 2.4 mg PO4-P/L for N. spio, 5.6 mg NO3-N/L and 4.8 mg PO4-P/L for B. harrisoni, and 128 mg NO3-N/L and 24 mg PO4-P/L for T. spp. However, N. spio and B. harrisoni showed high mortality at the Tanzanian nitrate recommended lower and maximum limits of 10 and 75 mg NO3-N/L, respectively, for drinking water and significant mortality at the recommended limits of nitrite (20 mg NO3-N/L) and phosphorus (6 mg PO4-P/L) concentrations for municipal and industrial wastewaters. Therefore, there is a need for these Tanzanian recommended nitrate ranges for drinking water of 10 to 75 mg NO3-N/L and 20 mg NO3-N/L and 6 mg PO4-P/L for municipal and industrial wastewaters to be refined for the betterment of protecting both human health and riverine organisms.
Woody Species Diversity, Vegetation Structure, and Regeneration Status of the Moist Afromontane Forest of Agama in Southwestern Ethiopia
This study was conducted in Agama Forest in Kafa Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia, to assess species diversity, vegetation structure, and regeneration status of woody species. A systematic sampling technique was employed to collect vegetation data. Sixty (60) sample plots of 25 m × 25 m were laid at 300 m intervals all along ten grids interspaced 800 m apart. Sample plots of 25 m × 25 m were used to record DBH and H of all woody plant species reaching a DBH >2.5 cm and height >2 m. For the inventory of seedling and sapling, two subplots of 2 m × 5 m were used at the beginning and the end of the baseline on opposite sides of the main quadrat. Vegetation data such as DBH, height, seedling, and sapling density of woody species were recorded in each plot. Altogether, 72 woody plant species of 65 genera and 35 families were identified. Analysis of selected tree species showed diverse population structures. This study showed that small trees and shrubs dominated the Agama Forest, which revealed its status under a secondary regeneration stage. Study on the structure and regeneration of some woody species indicated that there are species that require urgent conservation measures. Sound management and monitoring, as well as maintenance of biodiversity and cultural and economic values of the forest, require conservation activities that encourage sustainable uses of the forest and its products.
Large Mammal Diversity and Endemism at Geremba Mountain Fragment, Southern Ethiopia
Outside protected areas in Ethiopia, there is a lack of information concerning mammalian diversity and ecology. Consequently, the findings of the research on large mammals at Geremba Mountain constitute one of the steps towards a continuing effort to document the diversity and distribution of Ethiopian mammals. The survey was conducted to investigate the species composition, relative abundance, and population structure of large mammals at Geremba Mountain fragment from August 2017 to February 2018, covering both dry and wet seasons. Direct (sighting) and indirect (scat) survey techniques were employed using systematically established transect lines and sampling plots, respectively. Transects and plots were established across three dominant habitat types (modified dry ever green Afromontane forest, alpine bamboo forest, and Erica scrubland). A total of 10 large mammal species were recorded including two endemic mammals, namely, Chlorocebus djamdjamensis and Tragelaphus scriptus meneliki. There was a statistically significant difference in the abundance of species among habitat types at Geremba Mountain. The highest diversity index was recorded in the alpine bamboo forest habitat (D = 7.142, H′ = 2.052), and the Erica scrubland had the lowest. Papio anubis was the most abundant species while Felis serval was the least abundant species. The populations of most of the species were characterized by more adult and more female individuals. However, promising young individuals of the endemic mammals (C. djamdjamensis and T. s. meneliki) and Papio anubis were recorded. The mountain fragment is an isolated island that is totally disconnected with other fragments in the region, so attempts should be made to connect the fragment with other fragments using wildlife corridors.
Sociocultural and Ecological Dynamics of Green Spaces in Brazzaville (Congo)
The study was conducted in Brazzaville, and data collection covers the period from May to June 2017. The methodology is based on literature review and floristic and equipment inventory. Nine green spaces spread over two out of nine townships in the capital city. Four are located in Bacongo and five in Poto-Poto. According to the classification standards, 5 squares and 4 gardens were studied. Except for one square, all the others, including the gardens, are planted with trees. The equipment inventory lists 183 benches, including 63.83% permanently and/or partially in the sun, 4 playgrounds, no games for children, and 3 cultural monuments. The flora and health of the trees stands shows 186 trees and 279 shrubs, all corresponding to 26 species. An examination of the health status reveals that 57% of trees show anthropogenic injuries. Floral analysis shows that exotic plants (76.92%) predominate over local plants (23.07%). The average basal area of trees in all green spaces is 1.95 m2·ha−1. The diametric structure is erratic within all green spaces, with a dominance of large diameter subjects. This leads to poor natural regeneration of woody plants. The green spaces in Brazzaville, which are very unevenly distributed within the urban fabric, do not meet the international standards disseminated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and do not fully play their biodiversity conservation and recreational and ecological functions. History of green spaces in Brazzaville states that no creation was born after independence. The existing land has been reduced in size, and the new land has been used for other purposes.