The potential of small Eucalyptus plantations in farmscapes to foster native woody plant diversity: local and landscape constraints
Number of Authors: 3
2015 (English)In: Restoration Ecology, ISSN 1061-2971, E-ISSN 1526-100X, Vol. 23, no 6, 918-926 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The major focus of ecological restorations has been on understanding local factors. However, landscape factors such as dispersal limitation of individuals or propagules across the surrounding matrix can also constrain the restoration progress. We investigated to what extent native woody species colonize and thrive in plantations, focusing on both the role of local factors such as grazing and canopy cover as well as on landscape factors. We recorded all native tree and shrub species in 60 small Eucalyptus plantations embedded in an open agricultural landscape at 0.1-12 km from a remnant continuous forest in central Ethiopia. We found a total of 1,571 individuals of native woody plants belonging to 55 species. Number of such species in a plantation increased significantly with the height of the grass sword indicating their sensitivity to grazing. Moreover, the number of woody species in the patches decreased significantly with distance to the forest. Our results illustrate the need for regulating the grazing pressure for a successful regeneration of native species in Eucalyptus plantations. In addition, sowing or planting native trees will be necessary in most plantations, as only few remnant natural forests that could act as seed sources occur across the Ethiopian highlands. Another main obstacle might be the prohibition of selling timber of native trees, which indirectly discourage farmers from letting native trees regenerate. Thus, the increasing cover of Eucalyptus seen across the country will not automatically foster a recovery of native woody plant biodiversity, even if managed to optimize local environmental conditions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 23, no 6, 918-926 p.
colonization, dispersal, landscape, plantation, restoration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123508DOI: 10.1111/rec.12257ISI: 000363671300022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123508DiVA: diva2:875153