International Journal of Forestry Research

International Journal of Forestry Research / 2020 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2020 |Article ID 8612593 |

Gatluak Rolkier, Kumelachew Yeshitela, "Vegetation Classification and Habitat Types of Gambella National Park", International Journal of Forestry Research, vol. 2020, Article ID 8612593, 12 pages, 2020.

Vegetation Classification and Habitat Types of Gambella National Park

Academic Editor: Anna Źróbek-Sokolnik
Received30 Sep 2019
Accepted30 Mar 2020
Published16 Jun 2020


Gambella National Park has a diverse set of habitat types which Ethiopia shares with its neighbor, South Sudan, and the park is considered as one of the top wildlife areas of Ethiopia. The objectives of this research were to determine vegetation types and identify habitat types on recent satellite imageries. The method used for vegetation data collection was transects lines. PC-ORD software was used for analyzed vegetation data while Rapid Eye image 5 m resolution 2012 was analyzed by ArcGIS version 10.1 to classify the habitats map of Gambella National Park. The cluster analysis classified the Gambella National Park into 6 vegetation communities, and the relative abundance and relative frequency were used for naming vegetation community types. However, the satellite image had classified the Gambella National Park into 5 major habitat types.

1. Introduction

Gambella National Park was established in 1973 and has a diverse set of habitat types which Ethiopia shares with its neighbor, South Sudan [1]. Vast collections of plains game are found in the park and perhaps that can be considered as one of the top wildlife areas of Ethiopia [1]. The major vegetation types that are observed in the park are woodland, wooded grassland, grassland, and wetlands. Since the 1980s, there has been large scale habitats changed in Gambella National Park mostly due to human pressure. These pressures came from establishment of state farm in Abobo with the area of 3,000 ha of land, situated in the eastern part of Gambella National Park and the Construction of Alewero dam for large scale commercial agriculture [2]. At present, both large scale agricultural investments (e.g., like Karaturi, Rushi, and Saudi Star) [3] and small scale agricultural investments from different national investors reduced the park area from 5,061 km2 to 4,575 km2. It is assumed that these anthropogenic impacts have affected wildlife and their habitats.

The development of management plan of the Gambella National Park is hindered by lack of information on habitat types within the park. Although there have been few studies focusing on the vegetation of Gambella region as a whole [4, 5], identification and mapping of the habitat types and distribution of wildlife within the national park have never been attempted. This is particularly important for planning sustainable wildlife management. Mapping of wildlife habitat could be used as a tool in wildlife management, a guide for wildlife viewing, and a gauge for the loss of critical wildlife habitats [6].

The main reason for classifying and mapping the habitats of Gambella National Park was to have better understanding on the location of vegetation community types at local level and habitats types at large level. This could allow better understanding of the important habitat types for key conservation species in which the park was established for. This research expected to fulfill a knowledge gap on the information of vegetation communities and habitat types for Gambella National Park.

The objectives of this research are as follows:To determine the vegetation types in the Gambella National ParkTo identify the habitat types on the recent satellite imageries and develop a habitat map of Gambella National Park

2. Materials and Methods

Gambella National Park is located in the lowland plain of the Gambella People’s National Regional State of Ethiopia. According to Monico et al. [7], the park is situated between 32°59′ and 35°23′ longitude and 6°17′ and 8° 42′ latitude (Figure 1). It is situated between two major rivers Baro and Akobo (Figure 1) and crossed by other three major rivers with three wetlands (Figure 1). It was established in 1973, with new area of 4,575 km2.

3. Methods of Data Collection and Analysis

3.1. Data Collection
3.1.1. Vegetation Data Sampling

The method employed for vegetation data collection was systematic sampling. This sampling was done online transects which were laid down across east to west and north to south depending on habitat information (anthropogenic disturbance, physiognomy, etc.), which was designed based on identified areas with high environmental variability. This technique was used because it is simple for ecological surveys and good for sampling a very large area relatively quickly [8].

3.1.2. Data Collection

The vegetation data were collected by transects lines. The first transect was established based on vegetation physiognomy and by avoiding sites of severe human impact, e.g., fire. The remaining transects were put in place systematically at specific intervals of 5 km. In the woodland and wooded grassland areas, sample plots of 40 m × 40 m were laid out at intervals of 500 m along the transect for recording tree and shrub species. For recording herbaceous and grass species, four, 2 m × 2 m sample plots were laid out at the corners of the bigger plot in grassland, savannah, and wetland areas; sample plots of 2 m × 2 m were laid at intervals of 500 m apart for recording herbaceous and grass species. Accordingly, a total of 450 sample plots, woodland (292 plots), wooded grassland (98 plots), grassland (35 plots), savanna (11 plots), and wetland (14 plots), were sampled. Due to inconvenience for these much sample plots for analysis, the screening was done based on species area curve and similarity of the species and, therefore, sample plots with most similar species were excluded from the analysis.

Consequently, 80 sample plots, woodland (26 plots), wooded grassland (20 plots), grassland (12 plots), savanna (8 plots), and wetland (14 plots), were taken for final analysis.

In each sample plot the GPS point, altitude and species list, which included the habits, were recorded. Every plant species was recorded with its estimated percent cover abundance using the scale of Braun Blanquette 1932 as modified by Westhoff and Vander Maarel [9], with 1–2 individuals covering <5% of the sampled area, 3–10 individuals covering <5% of sampled area, abundance individuals covering <5% of the sampled area, plant cover ranging from 5 to 12%, plant covering from 12 to 25%, plant covering from 25 to 50%, plant covering from 50 to 75%, and plant covering from 75 to 100%.

Common plant species were identified in the field and for unidentified 10 species herbarium specimens were taken and identified in the National Herbarium of Ethiopia by comparing them with already identified plant species and referring to the “Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea” (Vol. 1, Hederg et al. [10]; Vol: 2.1 Edwards et al. [11]; Vol: 2.2 Edwards et al. [12]; Vol: 3 Hederg et al. [13]; Vol 4: 1 Hederg et al. [14]; Vol: 5 Hederg et al. [15, 16]; Vol: 7 Hederg et al. [17]; and Vol: 8 Hederg et al. [10]).

3.2. Data Analysis
3.2.1. Vegetation Data Analysis

The data collected were used to generate a plot-versus-species matrix (using the percentage cover/abundance values of each species). Cluster analysis using resemblance index and ward's method of hierarchical grouping was performed to identify community groups [18]. Resemblance index was used because it refers to similarity or dissimilarity between samples in terms of species composition. Sample plots that share the same species with the same abundance indicate the highest similarity and the lowest dissimilarity and, therefore, they become one group. Statistical validity of the identified groups was evaluated using multiresponse permutation procedure (MRPP) [1921]. Both cluster analysis and MRPP were performed using PC-ORD software [18]. The groups were designated as community types and named by most significant indicator species in the group [22].

In this study, the indicator species analysis method proposed by Dufre'n and Legendre [23] was used to identify indicator species. The indicator species are the most characteristic species of each group and present in the majority of the plots belonging to that group (Dufre’n and Legendre [23]).

3.2.2. Habitat Types Identified from Satellite Data Analysis

Rapid Eye satellite imagery (5 m resolution) data acquired in 2012 covering all of the Gambella National Park and its surrounding areas was permitted from Applied Science Department of Berlin University. It was first classified by unsupervised classification. The sensor type used in acquiring this imagery for unsupervised classification was multispectral push broom imager and captured five spectral bands (blue (440–510 nm), green (520–590 nm), red (600–700 nm), Red Edge (690–730 nm), and near-infrared bands (760–850 nm)). ERDAS Imagine 2012 software was used in the preprocessing, pixel-based classification, and postprocessing of the Rapid Eye satellite imagery covering the study area. For the pixel-based classification, the satellite imagery was classified by pixel-based spectral angle mapper (SAM) classifier. The signature file was generated and this involves the training of classes. Areas of interest (AOI) was created and used to train the land cover classes (water body, bare-soil, and vegetation) for every class; random samples were taken across the National Park based on pixel spectra.

The SAM algorithm which is supervised classification approach was then applied. The supervised classification was mainly the ground truth or GPS points. The SAM algorithm was based on the assumption that a single pixel of remote sensing images represents one certain ground cover material, which was uniquely assigned to only one ground cover class. This algorithm was based on the measurement of the spectral similarity between two spectra. The spectral similarity was obtained by considering each spectrum as a vector in q-dimensional space, where q is the number of bands.

4. Results

4.1. Cluster Classification of Plant Species of Gambella National Park

Six vegetation groups were identified using cluster analysis in combination with multiresponse permutation procedure (MRPP) and the cutoff for this classification was 50% (Figure 2).

From 80 sample plots, 4 plots were considered as outliers and thus were excluded from the cluster analysis.

The T value statistic for six groups was −1.28 () which indicated the significant different at value, while the statistic chance-corrected within group agreement was 0.1. The T statistic is based on Pearson type III distribution. The value associated with T is determined by numerical integration of type III distribution (Table 1). A statistic is descriptor within a group homogeneity falling between 0 and 1 (Table 1). When the items are identical, A = 1. Therefore, A statistic is equal to 1 when all items are identical within groups while the delta is equal to 0. A = 0 when heterogeneity within groups equals expectation by chance.

Chance corrected within group agreement, A = 0.07734179
A = 1—(observed delta/expected delta)
Amax = 1 when all items are identical within groups (delta = 0)
A statistic is descriptor within a group homogeneity falling between 0 and 1
A = 0 when heterogeneity within groups equals expectation by chance
A < 0 with more heterogeneity within groups than expected by chance
Probability of a smaller or equal delta,  = 0.00143541
Skewness of delta = Pearson type II distribution
Source, 2017 source: result of vegetation analysis, Gatluak, [24]

4.2. Naming of Vegetation Communities by Indicator Species of Study Plant of Gambella National Park

The 6 vegetation communities were named based on indicator values indicated by percent prefect indication value (combining relative abundance and relative frequency) (Tables 2 and 3). The species in bold for each group is one with the maximum indicator values for combining relative abundance and relative frequency.

Number of items301111888

Species MaxGrp
Combretum collinum14907940
Combretum molle14710000
Cyperus castaneus30048000
Hyparrhenia rufa202602200
Oryza barthii20230100
Oryza longistaminata20250000
Perpyrnuo cypress32840000
Terminalia brownii14000000
Terminalia laxiflora13200000
Ziziphus mucronata46363300

MaxGrp = maximum indicator value in group.

Plot no.Species nameAbundance

1Combretum aculeatum2
1Combretum collinum4
1Combretum molle4
1Terminalia brownie5
1Terminalia laxiflora4
1Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
1Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
1Commiphora africana1
1Commiphora habessinica1
1Albizia malacophylla1
1Sterculia africana1
1Securidaca longipedunculata1
2Combretum collinum4
2Combretum molle4
2Terminalia brownie5
2Terminalia laxiflora4
2Terminalia schimperiana Hochst1
2Commiphora africana1
2Commiphora habessinica1
2Cordia africana1
2Sterculia africana1
2Securidaca longipedunculata1
3Combretum collinum4
3Combretum molle4
3Terminalia brownie5
3Terminalia laxiflora4
3Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
3Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
3Commiphora africana1
3Diospyros mespiliformis1
3Celtis toka1
3Securidaca longipedunculata1
4Combretum collinum4
4Combretum molle5
4Terminalia brownie4
4Terminalia laxiflora3
4Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
4Diospyros mespiliformis1
4Sarcocephalus latifolius1
4Sterculia africana1
5Combretum aculeatum2
5Combretum collinum4
5Combretum molle4
5Terminalia brownie5
5Terminalia laxiflora4
5Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
5Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
5Commiphora africana1
5Diospyros mespiliformis1
5Sarcocephalus latifolius1
5Sterculia africana1
5Securidaca longipedunculata1
6Combretum collinum4
6Combretum molle4
6Terminalia brownie5
6Terminalia laxiflora4
6Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
6Commiphora africana1
6Commiphora habessinica1
6Sarcocephalus latifolius1
6Sterculia africana1
6Securidaca longipedunculata1
7Combretum collinum4
7Combretum molle4
7Terminalia brownie5
7Terminalia laxiflora4
7Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
7Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
7Commiphora africana1
7Commiphora habessinica1
7Sarcocephalus latifolius1
7Securidaca longipedunculata1
8Combretum collinum4
8Combretum molle5
8Terminalia brownie4
8Terminalia laxiflora3
8Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
8Commiphora africana1
8Sarcocephalus latifolius1
8Ficus sycomorus1
9Combretum aculeatum2
9Combretum collinum4
9Combretum molle4
9Terminalia brownie5
9Terminalia laxiflora4
9Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
9Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
9Commiphora africana1
9Sclerocarya birrea1
9Ficus sycomorus1
9Sterculia africana1
9Securidaca longipedunculata1
10Combretum aculeatum3
10Combretum collinum3
10Combretum molle5
10Terminalia brownie4
10Terminalia laxiflora4
10Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
10Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
10Commiphora africana1
10Commiphora habessinica1
10Sarcocephalus latifolius1
10Sterculia africana1
10Sclerocarya birrea1
11Combretum collinum4
11Combretum molle4
11Terminalia brownie5
11Terminalia laxiflora4
11Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
11Commiphora africana1
11Commiphora habessinica1
11Sclerocarya birrea1
11Sterculia africana1
11Ficus sycomorus1
12Combretum collinum4
12Combretum molle4
12Terminalia brownie5
12Terminalia laxiflora4
12Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
12Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
12Commiphora africana1
12Sclerocarya birrea1
12Sarcocephalus latifolius1
12Securidaca longipedunculata1
13Combretum collinum4
13Combretum molle5
13Terminalia brownie4
13Terminalia laxiflora3
13Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
13Commiphora africana1
13Sarcocephalus latifolius1
13Sclerocarya birrea1
14Combretum aculeatum2
14Combretum collinum4
14Combretum molle4
14Terminalia brownie5
14Terminalia laxiflora4
14Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
14Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
14Commiphora africana1
14Ceiba pentandra1
14Ficus vasta Forssk.1
14Sterculia africana1
14Sclerocarya birrea1
15Combretum aculeatum3
15Combretum collinum3
15Combretum molle5
15Terminalia brownie4
15Terminalia laxiflora4
15Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
15Sclerocarya birrea1
15Commiphora africana1
15Commiphora habessinica1
15Sarcocephalus latifolius1
15Sterculia africana1
15Securidaca longipedunculata1
16Combretum collinum4
16Combretum molle4
16Terminalia brownie5
16Terminalia laxiflora4
16Terminalia schimperiana Hochst1
16Commiphora africana1
16Commiphora habessinica1
16Salvadora persica1
16Sterculia africana1
16Ficus vasta Forssk.1
17Combretum collinum4
17Combretum molle4
17Terminalia brownie5
17Terminalia laxiflora4
17Salvadora persica1
17Terminalia schimperiana Hochst.1
17Commiphora africana1
17Ficus vasta Forssk1
17Sarcocephalus latifolius1
18Securidaca longipedunculata1
18Combretum collinum4
18Combretum molle5
18Terminalia brownie4
18Terminalia laxiflora3
18Terminalia macroptera Guill. & Perr.1
18Commiphora africana1
18Sarcocephalus latifolius1
18Sterculia africana1
19Terminalia brownie5
19Capparis erythrocarpus1
19Terminalia laxiflora4
19Salvadora persica1
19Tamarindus indica2
19Acacia oerfota1
19Maytenus senegalensis1
19Ziziphus mucronata2
20Terminalia brownie4
20Capparis erythrocarpus1
20Terminalia laxiflora4
20Boswellia rivae1
20Tamarindus indica2
20Acacia oerfota1
20Maytenus senegalensis1
20Grewia bicolor2
20Terminalia brownie5
20Capparis erythrocarpus1
20Terminalia laxiflora4
20Boswellia rivae1
20Tamarindus indica2
20Acacia oerfota1
20Grewia bicolor1
20Ziziphus mucronata1
21Terminalia brownie4
21Capparis erythrocarpus1
21Terminalia laxiflora4
21Boswellia rivae1
21Tamarindus indica2
21Grewia bicolor1
21Maytenus senegalensis1
21Ziziphus mucronata1
23Terminalia brownie5
23Terminalia laxiflora5
23Boswellia rivae1
23Tamarindus indica1
23Maytenus senegalensis1
23Ziziphus mucronata1
24Terminalia brownie5
24Capparis erythrocarpus1
24Terminalia laxiflora4
24Boswellia rivae1
24Tamarindus indica2
24Acacia oerfota1
24Maytenus senegalensis1
24Ziziphus mucronata2
25Terminalia brownie4
25Capparis erythrocarpus1
25Terminalia laxiflora4
25Boswellia rivae1
25Tamarindus indica2
25Acacia oerfota1
25Maytenus senegalensis1
25Ziziphus mucronata2
26Terminalia brownie5
26Capparis erythrocarpus1
26Terminalia laxiflora4
26Boswellia rivae1
26Tamarindus indica2
26Acacia oerfota1
26Maytenus senegalensis1
26Ziziphus mucronata1
27Terminalia brownie4
27Capparis erythrocarpus1
27Terminalia laxiflora4
27Boswellia rivae1
27Tamarindus indica2
27Acacia oerfota1
27Maytenus senegalensis1
27Ziziphus mucronata1
28Terminalia brownie5
28Terminalia laxiflora5
28Boswellia rivae1
28Tamarindus indica1
28Maytenus senegalensis1
28Ziziphus mucronata1
29Terminalia brownie4
29Terminalia laxiflora5
29Boswellia rivae1
29Tamarindus indica2
29Maytenus senegalensis1
29Ziziphus mucronata1
30Terminalia brownie5
30Terminalia laxiflora5
30Boswellia rivae1
30Tamarindus indica1
30Ricinus communis1
30Ziziphus mucronata1
31Terminalia brownie5
31Terminalia laxiflora5
31Boswellia rivae1
31Tamarindus indica1
31Maytenus senegalensis1
31Ricinus communis1
32Tamarindus indica5
32Terminalia brownie4
32Terminalia laxiflora3
32Steganotaenia araliacea1
32Strychnos innocua1
32Sterculia africana2
32Vitellaria paradoxa2
33Tamarindus indica5
33Terminalia brownie4
33Terminalia laxiflora4
33Ricinus communis1
33Strychnos innocua1
33Sterculia africana1
33Vitellaria paradoxa2
34Tamarindus indica4
34Terminalia brownie4
34Terminalia laxiflora3
34Steganotaenia araliacea1
34Ricinus communis1
34Sterculia africana1
34Vitellaria paradoxa1
35Tamarindus indica5
35Terminalia brownie4
35Terminalia laxiflora4
35Steganotaenia araliacea1
35Strychnos innocua1
35Sterculia africana1
35Vitellaria paradoxa2
36Tamarindus indica5
36Terminalia brownie4
36Terminalia laxiflora4
36Steganotaenia araliacea1
36Grewia mollis A.Juss.1
36Sterculia africana2
36Vitellaria paradoxa1
37Tamarindus indica5
37Terminalia brownie4
37Terminalia laxiflora4
37Steganotaenia araliacea1
37Strychnos innocua1
37Sterculia africana1
37Vitellaria paradoxa2
38Tamarindus indica4
38Terminalia brownie4
38Terminalia laxiflora3
38Grewia mollis A.Juss.1
38Strychnos innocua1
38Sterculia africana1
38Vitellaria paradoxa1
39Tamarindus indica5
39Terminalia brownie4
39Terminalia laxiflora4
39Steganotaenia araliacea1
39Strychnos innocua1
39Sterculia africana2
39Vitellaria paradoxa1
40Balanites aegyptiaca5
40Acacia seyal3
40Acacia senegal3
40Acacia polyacantha2
40Acacia tortilis2
40Acacia oerfota2
40Tamarindus indica1
40Flueggea virosa1
40Ziziphus mucronata1
40Piliostigma thonningii1
41Balanites aegyptiaca5
41Acacia seyal3
41Acacia senegal3
41Acacia polyacantha2
41Acacia tortilis2
41Acacia oerfota2
41Tamarindus indica1
41Flueggea virosa1
41Saba Florida (Benth.) Bullock1
42Balanites aegyptiaca5
42Acacia seyal4
42Acacia senegal3
42Acacia polyacantha2
42Acacia tortilis2
42Acacia oerfota2
42Flueggea virosa1
42Grewia mollis A.Juss.1
42Piliostigma thonningii1
43Balanites aegyptiaca5
43Acacia seyal3
43Acacia senegal3
43Acacia polyacantha2
43Acacia tortilis2
43Acacia oerfota2
43Tamarindus indica1
43Flueggea virosa1
43Ziziphus mucronata1
43Saba Florida (Benth.) Bullock1
44Balanites aegyptiaca5
44Acacia seyal3
44Acacia senegal3
44Acacia polyacantha2
44Acacia tortilis2
44Acacia oerfota2
44Tamarindus indica1
44Piliostigma thonningii1
44Saba Florida (Benth.) Bullock1
45Balanites aegyptiaca4
45Acacia seyal4
45Acacia senegal3
45Acacia polyacantha2
45Acacia tortilis3
45Acacia oerfota2
45Tamarindus indica1
45Grewia mollis A.Juss.1
45Capparis tomentosa1
46Balanites aegyptiaca5
46Acacia seyal4
46Acacia senegal3
46Acacia polyacantha2
46Acacia tortilis2
46Piliostigma thonningii2
46Flueggea virosa1
46Ziziphus mucronata1
46Capparis tomentosa1
47Balanites aegyptiaca5
47Acacia seyal3
47Acacia senegal3
47Acacia polyacantha2
47Acacia tortilis2
47Piliostigma thonningii2
47Tamarindus indica1
47Flueggea virosa1
47Ziziphus mucronata1
48Balanites aegyptiaca4
48Acacia seyal4
48Acacia senegal3
48Acacia polyacantha2
48Acacia tortilis3
48Acacia oerfota2
48Tamarindus indica1
48Flueggea virosa1
48Grewia tenax (Forssk.) Fiori1
49Balanites aegyptiaca5
49Acacia seyal4
49Acacia senegal3
49Acacia polyacantha2
49Acacia tortilis2
49Acacia oerfota2
49Flueggea virosa1
49Grewia tenax (Forssk.) Fiori1
49Capparis tomentosa1
50Balanites aegyptiaca5
50Acacia seyal3
50Acacia senegal3
50Acacia polyacantha2
50Acacia tortilis2
50Acacia oerfota2
50Grewia tenax (Forssk.) Fiori1
50Flueggea virosa1
50Ziziphus mucronata1
50Balanites aegyptiaca4
50Acacia seyal3
50Acacia senegal3
50Acacia polyacantha2
50Acacia tortilis3
50Acacia oerfota2
50Tamarindus indica1
50Flueggea virosa1
50Capparis tomentosa1
51Balanites aegyptiaca5
51Acacia seyal4
51Acacia senegal3
51Acacia polyacantha2
51Acacia tortilis2
51Acacia oerfota2
51Flueggea virosa1
51Ziziphus mucronata1
51Capparis tomentosa1
52Balanites aegyptiaca5
52Acacia seyal3
52Acacia senegal3
52Acacia polyacantha2
52Acacia tortilis2
52Acacia oerfota2
52Tamarindus indica1
52Flueggea virosa1
52Ziziphus mucronata1
52Capparis tomentosa1
53Balanites aegyptiaca5
53Acacia seyal3
53Acacia senegal3
53Acacia polyacantha2
53Acacia tortilis2
53Acacia oerfota2
53Tamarindus indica1
53Flueggea virosa1
53Ziziphus mucronata1
54Balanites aegyptiaca4
54Acacia seyal4
54Acacia senegal2
54Acacia polyacantha2
54Acacia tortilis3
54Acacia oerfota2
54Tamarindus indica1
54Flueggea virosa1
54Capparis tomentosa1
55Balanites aegyptiaca5
55Acacia seyal4
55Acacia senegal3
55Acacia polyacantha2
55Acacia tortilis2
55Acacia oerfota2
55Flueggea virosa1
55Ziziphus mucronata1
55Capparis tomentosa1
56Balanites aegyptiaca5
56Acacia seyal3
56Acacia senegal3
56Acacia polyacantha2
56Acacia tortilis2
56Acacia oerfota2
56Tamarindus indica1
56Flueggea virosa1
56Ziziphus mucronata1
56Capparis tomentosa1
57Balanites aegyptiaca5
57Acacia seyal3
57Acacia senegal3
57Acacia polyacantha2
57Acacia tortilis2
57Acacia oerfota2
57Tamarindus indica1
57Flueggea virosa1
57Ziziphus mucronata1
58Balanites aegyptiaca4
58Acacia seyal4
58Acacia senegal3
58Acacia polyacantha2
58Acacia tortilis3
58Acacia oerfota2
58Tamarindus indica1
58Flueggea virosa1
58Capparis tomentosa1
59Balanites aegyptiaca5
59Acacia seyal3
59Acacia senegal3
59Acacia polyacantha2
59Acacia tortilis2
59Acacia oerfota2
59Tamarindus indica1
59Flueggea virosa1
59Ziziphus mucronata1
59Capparis tomentosa1
60Balanites aegyptiaca5
60Acacia seyal3
60Acacia senegal3
60Acacia polyacantha2
60Acacia tortilis2
60Acacia oerfota2
60Tamarindus indica1
60Flueggea virosa1
60Ziziphus mucronata1
61Balanites aegyptiaca4
61Acacia seyal4
61Acacia senegal3
61Acacia polyacantha2
61Acacia tortilis3
61Acacia oerfota2
61Tamarindus indica1
61Flueggea virosa1
61Capparis tomentosa1
62Balanites aegyptiaca5
62Acacia seyal4
62Acacia senegal3
62Acacia polyacantha2
62Acacia tortilis2
62Acacia oerfota2
62Flueggea virosa1
62Ziziphus mucronata1
62Capparis tomentosa1
63Balanites aegyptiaca5
63Acacia seyal3
63Acacia senegal3
63Acacia polyacantha2
63Acacia tortilis2
63Acacia oerfota2
63Tamarindus indica1
63Flueggea virosa1
63Ziziphus mucronata1
63Capparis tomentosa1
64Balanites aegyptiaca5
64Acacia seyal3
64Acacia senegal3
64Acacia polyacantha2
64Acacia tortilis2
64Acacia oerfota2
64Tamarindus indica1
64Flueggea virosa1
64Ziziphus mucronata1
65Balanites aegyptiaca4
65Acacia seyal4
65Acacia senegal3
65Acacia polyacantha2
65Acacia tortilis3
65Acacia oerfota2
65Tamarindus indica1
65Flueggea virosa1
65Capparis tomentosa1
66Balanites aegyptiaca5
66Acacia seyal3
66Acacia senegal3
66Acacia polyacantha2
66Acacia tortilis2
66Acacia oerfota2
66Tamarindus indica1
66Flueggea virosa1
66Ziziphus mucronata1
66Capparis tomentosa1
67Balanites aegyptiaca5
67Acacia seyal3
67Acacia senegal3
67Acacia polyacantha2
67Acacia tortilis2
67Acacia oerfota2
67Tamarindus indica1
67Flueggea virosa1
67Ziziphus mucronata1
68Balanites aegyptiaca4
68Acacia seyal3
68Acacia senegal3
68Acacia polyacantha2
68Acacia tortilis3
68Acacia oerfota2
68Tamarindus indica1
68Flueggea virosa1
68Capparis tomentosa1
69Balanites aegyptiaca5
69Acacia seyal4
69Acacia senegal3
69Acacia polyacantha2
69Acacia tortilis2
69Acacia oerfota2
69Flueggea virosa1
69Ziziphus mucronata1
69Capparis tomentosa1
70Balanites aegyptiaca5
70Acacia seyal3
70Acacia senegal3
70Acacia polyacantha2
70Acacia tortilis2
70Acacia oerfota2
70Tamarindus indica1
70Flueggea virosa1
70Ziziphus mucronata1
71Balanites aegyptiaca4
71Acacia seyal4
71Acacia senegal3
71Acacia polyacantha2
71Acacia tortilis3
71Acacia oerfota2
71Tamarindus indica1
71Flueggea virosa1
71Capparis tomentosa1
72Balanites aegyptiaca5
72Acacia seyal4
72Acacia senegal3
72Acacia polyacantha2
72Acacia tortilis2
72Acacia oerfota2
72Flueggea virosa1
72Ziziphus mucronata1
72Capparis tomentosa1
73Balanites aegyptiaca5
73Acacia seyal3
73Acacia senegal3
73Acacia polyacantha2
73Acacia tortilis2
73Acacia oerfota2
73Tamarindus indica1
73Flueggea virosa1
73Ziziphus mucronata1
74Balanites aegyptiaca5
74Acacia seyal3
74Acacia senegal3
74Acacia polyacantha2
74Acacia tortilis2
74Acacia oerfota2
74Tamarindus indica1
74Flueggea virosa1
74Ziziphus mucronata1
75Balanites aegyptiaca4
75Acacia seyal3
75Acacia senegal3
75Acacia polyacantha2
75Acacia tortilis3
75Acacia oerfota2
75Tamarindus indica1
75Flueggea virosa1
75Capparis tomentosa1
76Balanites aegyptiaca5
76Acacia senegal3
76Acacia polyacantha2
76Acacia tortilis2
76Acacia oerfota2
76Flueggea virosa1
76Ziziphus mucronata1
77Balanites aegyptiaca5
77Acacia seyal3
77Acacia senegal3
77Acacia polyacantha2
77Acacia tortilis2
77Acacia oerfota2
77Tamarindus indica1
77Flueggea virosa1
77Ziziphus mucronata1
78Balanites aegyptiaca4
78Acacia seyal3
78Acacia senegal3
78Acacia polyacantha2
78Acacia tortilis3
78Acacia oerfota2
78Tamarindus indica1
78Flueggea virosa1
78Capparis tomentosa1
79Balanites aegyptiaca5
79Acacia seyal4
79Acacia senegal3
79Acacia polyacantha2
79Acacia tortilis2
79Acacia oerfota2
80Balanites aegyptiaca5
80Acacia seyal3
80Acacia Senegal3
80Acacia polyacantha2
80Acacia tortilis2
80Acacia oerfota2
80Tamarindus indica1
80Flueggea virosa1
80Ziziphus mucronata1
80Capparis tomentosa1

Source: vegetation raw data for Ph.D. thesis, Gatluak [24].

The maximum indicator values for group 1 species were observed for Combretum collinum (49%), Combretum molle (47%), Terminalia brownii (40%), and Terminalia laxiflora (32%). This group had formed the vegetation community known as Combretum collinum-Terminalia brownii community. The maximum indicator values for group 2 species were observed for Hyparrhenia rufa (26%), Oryza barthii (23%), and Oryza longistaminata (25%). This group formed Hyparrhenia rufa-Oryza longistaminata community (Table 2), while Cyprerus castaneus (48%) and Perpyrnuo cypress (40%) were species in group 3 with maximum indicator values. These species formed Cyprerus castaneus-Perpyrnuo cypress community.

The maximum indicator values for group 4 species were observed for Ziziphus mucronata (33%), Acacia senegal (32%), Acacia polyacantha (22%), Acacia nilotica (20%), and Hyparrhenia rufa (22%). These species formed Ziziphus mucronata-Acacia senegal-Hyparrhenia rufa community. Group 5 was named Acacia nilotica-Acacia bussei community because the maximum indicator values were observed in the Acacia nilotica (30%) and Acacia bussei (25%). The maximum indicator values for group 6 were observed in the Balanites aegyptiaca (32%), Acacia nilotica (22%), and Acacia asak (21%). These species formed vegetation community known as Balanites aegyptiaca-Acacia nilotica.

4.3. Habitat Types of Gambella National Park

The Rapid Eye image classified the Gambella National Park into five major habitat types which included woodland, wooded grassland, savanna, grassland, and wetlands (Figure 3). Other minor habitat types classified on the map were temporary burned, water body, and rivers.

The woodland comprised three vegetation community types. These were Combretum collinum-Terminalia brownii, Acacia nilotica-Acacia bussei, and Balanites aegyptiaca-Acacia nilotica communities while Ziziphus mucronata-Acacia senegal-Hyparrhenia rufa community was found in wooded grassland habitat of the park. Hyparrhenia rufa-Oryza longistaminata and Cyperus castaneus-Perpyrnuo cypress community was found in open grassland and wetland, respectively.

The classification of habitats for Gambella National Park had also shown that woodland in Gambella National Park cover an area of 1,716.50 square kilometers (37.92%) of the land cover of the park followed by wooded grassland which had an area coverage of 1,650.04 square kilometer (36.45%) of the land coverage of the park (Table 4). The wetland had also relative large share of the area of the park, 645.99 square kilometer (14.27%) of the area coverage as compared with grassland and savannah, comprising 8.74% and 1.52% of the land coverage, respectively.

No.Habitat classificationArea in km2Percentage

5Wet land645.9914.27
4Wooded grassland1650.0436.45
6.2Temporary burned23.150.50
6.3Water body27.150.60

5. Conclusion

It can be concluded that at microlevel the Gambella National Park is classified into 6 vegetation communities, whereas at a large level of the park, it was classified into 5 major habitat types.

Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are included within the supplementary information file.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


The authors would like to thank Professor Meinsser and his students, Mrs. Anja Stoetz and Mr. Matthias Fessen of Applied Science Department of Berlin University, for their technical support on image classification of habitat type of Gambella National Park, when the authors wanted classified Rapid Eye images for their study area. The authors would like to thank Dr. Ahmed Amdihun and Kassahun Abera for their GIS technical support during the data analysis and Addis Ababa University for funding this research.


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Copyright © 2020 Gatluak Rolkier and Kumelachew Yeshitela. 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.

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