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Effects of abiotic factors on herbaceous plant community structure: a case study in southeast Cameroon.

Boekbijdrage - Hoofdstuk

Abiotic factors significantly influence the structure of plant communities, with the effects varying in both in space and time. Herbaceous plants belonging to 15 families were monitored in 250 4-m2 plots distributed in six habitat types in order to assess the effects of abiotic factors on the abundance of this resource. In each plot, we counted herb stems and determined the total number of species, the total number of normal stems and the total number of dwarf stems. In addition, we determined soil fertility and other environmental variables. Elevation and soil texture varied, but similar levels of chemical fertility were seen across different habitat types. Herb abundance varied within and between patches, reflecting changes in environmental conditions. Stem biomass was highest in light gaps, and decreased in late successional forests. Light seemed to be the most in1portant factor influencing the abundance of herbs from Marantaceae and Zingiberaceae families only. Despite the hydromorphic nature of the soil in swamps, stem biomass did not exceed that of terra firma forests. At the temporal scale, rainfall did not seem to influence stem density as herbaceous plants were available year-round. These results suggest that light might limit the abundance of some herbaceous plants in the study site. However, a long-term investigation is needed to draw firm conclusions on the effects of abiotic factors on herbaceous plant communities in African rain forest.
Boek: Herbacious Plants
Pagina's: 113-132
Jaar van publicatie:2013
  • Scopus Id: 84895206832