Table of Contents
Journal of Ecosystems
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 270196, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/270196
Research Article

Ecological Characteristics That Enhance Broussonetia papyrifera’s Invasion in a Semideciduous Forest in Ghana

1Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
2Forestry Research Institute of Ghana, University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
3School of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Energy and Natural Resources, P.O. Box 214, Sunyani, Ghana

Received 13 November 2013; Accepted 19 January 2014; Published 5 March 2014

Academic Editor: Ernesto I. Badano

Copyright © 2014 B. Kyereh 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

Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent. (Moraceae) was introduced to Ghana in 1969 and has since become second only to Chromolaena odorata as an invasive species in Ghanaian forests. This study determined its ecological traits that enhance its invasion of plant communities. Fruiting and viability patterns were studied through monthly monitoring of 985 trees (≥6 cm gbh) in one forest site. The effect of light on its seed germination was tested in light-proof boxes. Means of propagation were determined by tracking the origin of newly regenerated plants on a newly cleared plot of land that B. papyrifera had occupied. It fruited twice a year with one season (January–March) producing more fruits than the other (July-August). Fruiting occurred in trees as small as 9 cm gbh but the percentage of individuals fruiting in each size class increased with tree size. There was a clear pattern of seed viability during the January–March fruiting period. The species did not appear to have a naturally high seed viability with germination always below 50% of each weekly collection. Seed germination was depressed in dark. These results suggest that the species may be competitive in disturbed forest sites and therefore its spread may be aided by forest degradation.