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Woody plant communities of isolated Afromontane cloud forests in Taita Hills, Kenya

Raf Aerts, Koen Thijs, Valérie Lehouck UGent, Henk Beentje, Benny Bytebier, Erik Matthijsen, Hubert Gulinck, Luc Lens UGent and Bart Muys (2011) PLANT ECOLOGY. 212(4). p.639-649
abstract
In the Taita Hills in southern Kenya, remnants of the original Afromontane forest vegetation are restricted to isolated mountain peaks. To assess the level of degradation and the need for forest restoration, we examined how forest plant communities and their indicator species vary between and within remnant patches of cloud forest. We used ordinal abundance data to compare plant communities in eight forest fragments. We also analyzed data on the diversity and abundance of trees in 57 0.1 ha plots to compare tree communities within and between the largest two of these fragments, Ngangao (120 ha) and Mbololo (220 ha). The extant vegetation of the Taita Hills at landscape scale consists of secondary moist montane to intermediate montane forest. There was a high species dissimilarity between fragments (69%). Variation in species composition coincided with an abiotic gradient related to elevation. At plot level, secondary successional species and species of forest edges were most abundant and most frequent. Inferred clusters of plots almost entirely coincided with the two forest fragments. Indicator species associated with forest margins and gaps were more frequent in the smaller of the two forest fragments, while indicators for the larger fragment were more typical for less disturbed moist forest. Abiotic site variability but also different levels of disturbance determine site-specific variants of the montane forest. Conservation efforts should not only focus on maintaining forest quantity (size), but also on forest quality (species composition). Late-successional rainforest species are underrepresented in the woody plant communities of the Taita Hills and assisting restoration of viable populations of cloud forest climax tree species is urgently needed.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
Ocotea, Eastern-Arc Mountains, Taita Hills, Relict vegetation, Montane forest, Fragmentation, HABITAT FRAGMENTATION, TROPICAL FORESTS, SEED DISPERSAL, TREE, BIODIVERSITY, PLANTATIONS, LANDSCAPE, RECRUITMENT, PATTERNS, IMPACTS
journal title
PLANT ECOLOGY
Plant Ecol.
volume
212
issue
4
pages
639 - 649
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000288557700011
JCR category
FORESTRY
JCR impact factor
1.829 (2011)
JCR rank
8/59 (2011)
JCR quartile
1 (2011)
ISSN
1385-0237
DOI
10.1007/s11258-010-9853-3
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1063612
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1063612
date created
2010-10-25 15:48:22
date last changed
2011-05-24 13:03:44
@article{1063612,
  abstract     = {In the Taita Hills in southern Kenya, remnants of the original Afromontane forest vegetation are restricted to isolated mountain peaks.  To assess the level of degradation and the need for forest restoration, we examined how forest plant communities and their indicator species vary between and within remnant patches of cloud forest.  We used ordinal abundance data to compare plant communities in eight forest fragments.  We also analyzed data on the diversity and abundance of trees in 57 0.1 ha plots to compare tree communities within and between the largest two of these fragments, Ngangao (120 ha) and Mbololo (220 ha).  The extant vegetation of the Taita Hills at landscape scale consists of secondary moist montane to intermediate montane forest.  There was a high species dissimilarity between fragments (69\%).  Variation in species composition coincided with an abiotic gradient related to elevation.  At plot level, secondary successional species and species of forest edges were most abundant and most frequent.  Inferred clusters of plots almost entirely coincided with the two forest fragments.  Indicator species associated with forest margins and gaps were more frequent in the smaller of the two forest fragments, while indicators for the larger fragment were more typical for less disturbed moist forest.  Abiotic site variability but also different levels of disturbance determine site-specific variants of the montane forest.  Conservation efforts should not only focus on maintaining forest quantity (size), but also on forest quality (species composition).  Late-successional rainforest species are underrepresented in the woody plant communities of the Taita Hills and assisting restoration of viable populations of cloud forest climax tree species is urgently needed.},
  author       = {Aerts, Raf and Thijs, Koen and Lehouck, Val{\'e}rie and Beentje, Henk and Bytebier, Benny and Matthijsen, Erik and Gulinck, Hubert and Lens, Luc and Muys, Bart},
  issn         = {1385-0237},
  journal      = {PLANT ECOLOGY},
  keyword      = {Ocotea,Eastern-Arc Mountains,Taita Hills,Relict vegetation,Montane forest,Fragmentation,HABITAT FRAGMENTATION,TROPICAL FORESTS,SEED DISPERSAL,TREE,BIODIVERSITY,PLANTATIONS,LANDSCAPE,RECRUITMENT,PATTERNS,IMPACTS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {639--649},
  title        = {Woody plant communities of isolated Afromontane cloud forests in Taita Hills, Kenya},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11258-010-9853-3},
  volume       = {212},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Aerts, Raf, Koen Thijs, Valérie Lehouck, Henk Beentje, Benny Bytebier, Erik Matthijsen, Hubert Gulinck, Luc Lens, and Bart Muys. 2011. “Woody Plant Communities of Isolated Afromontane Cloud Forests in Taita Hills, Kenya.” Plant Ecology 212 (4): 639–649.
APA
Aerts, Raf, Thijs, K., Lehouck, V., Beentje, H., Bytebier, B., Matthijsen, E., Gulinck, H., et al. (2011). Woody plant communities of isolated Afromontane cloud forests in Taita Hills, Kenya. PLANT ECOLOGY, 212(4), 639–649.
Vancouver
1.
Aerts R, Thijs K, Lehouck V, Beentje H, Bytebier B, Matthijsen E, et al. Woody plant communities of isolated Afromontane cloud forests in Taita Hills, Kenya. PLANT ECOLOGY. 2011;212(4):639–49.
MLA
Aerts, Raf, Koen Thijs, Valérie Lehouck, et al. “Woody Plant Communities of Isolated Afromontane Cloud Forests in Taita Hills, Kenya.” PLANT ECOLOGY 212.4 (2011): 639–649. Print.