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Impacts of Wood Poaching on Vegetation Structure and Composition in Mukuvisi Woodland, Zimbabwe

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2014.52019    3,477 Downloads   4,960 Views Citations

ABSTRACT

Our study focused on the effects of wood poaching on the vegetation structure and composition in Mukuvisi Woodland, Zimbabwe. Mukuvisi Woodland, located within the precincts of Harare urban area, Zimbabwe, suffers from high illegal wood utilization pressure stemming from the need to fulfill alternative energy demands created by persistent electricity shortages and an unstable economic environment, particularly between 2000 and 2008. This results in a continuous flux of vegetation and a disturbed animal habitat driven mainly by anthropogenic activities. Due to the heterogeneity in vegetation utilisation trends, we used the stratified systematic random sampling technique, where the site was divided into two strata, central and boundary. Twelve 30 × 20 m permanent plots were established in which species name, species diversity, height, basal area, plant status, fire evidence, number of stems and saplings were recorded and assessed in April and May 2012. A total of 968 woody plants were assessed representing 47 woody plant species. All woody vegetation variables recorded and assessed showed no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the two strata, i.e., central and boundary, in Mukuvisi Woodland, except sapling density (P = 0.022). Principal Component Analysis indicated evidence of fire impacts on vegetation structure. The study concludes that illegal wood harvesting in Mukuvisi Woodland has not yet reached alarming proportions and can be contained. The study recommends collaborative arrangements with key stakeholders, promotion of the use of alternative energy sources and increased environmental education and awareness campaigns.

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N. Muboko, T. Chigumira, C. Mashapa, E. Gandiwa, G. Chibememe and V. Muposhi, "Impacts of Wood Poaching on Vegetation Structure and Composition in Mukuvisi Woodland, Zimbabwe," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 5 No. 2, 2014, pp. 156-163. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.52019.

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