Open Access Review Article

The Role of Soil Seed Bank in Forest Regeneration

D. M. Taiwo, O. J. Oyelowo, T. C. Ogedengbe, A. I. Woghiren

Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry, Page 1-10
DOI: 10.9734/AJRAF/2018/42716

Forest degradation and deforestation disrupts the structure and functions of the ecosystem with negative impacts on biodiversity and natural regeneration of the forests. In Nigeria, forests are lost through burning, shifting cultivation and logging of trees, thus reducing the potential of the forest to naturally regenerate and perform ecosystem functions as expected in a forest reserve. There have been insufficient knowledge about the role soil seed bank plays in forest restoration, and this will play an essential role in the natural regeneration of forest reserves. Seed bank performs tremendous roles in the restoration of degraded forest reserves, which includes donation of propagules, conservation of genetic diversity, the composition of the understorey plant community and recovery of biodiversity. These ecosystem functions are dependent on the dynamics of the soil seed bank as well as favourable environmental conditions.

Open Access Original Research Article

Assessment of Woody Species Diversity in Different Ecological Zones of Taraba State, Nigeria: A Strategy for Conservation

Bernard Bunde Meer, Iyiola Tella

Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry, Page 1-12
DOI: 10.9734/AJRAF/2018/42038

This study assessed woody species diversity in different ecological zones of Taraba State. The objectives were to determine the abundance, distribution and comparison of woody species diversity in order to protect and monitor the forest ecosystems. Data were obtained through the woody species survey, and the study area was stratified into three ecological zones and two protected areas. Five plots each measuring 50 × 50 m were sampled in each protected area. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as frequency, ANOVA and LSD. A total of 3760 individual woody stands were recorded in the study. A total of 60, 34 and 32 species were also encontered in Montane Forest, Southern and Northern Guinea Savanna, respectively. Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve had the highest species richness value (49) followed by Wasaji Forest Reserve (26) while Gashaka Gumti National Park had the lowest value (13). The Shannon diversity index of woody species in the protected areas were 2.96, 2.90, 2.48, 2.20, 2.46,  2.48 and 2.53 in Ngel Nyaki, Wasaji, Baissa, Jen Giginya and Gashaka, respectively while their corresponding evenness values were 0.76, 0.89, 0.77, 0.79, 0.86 and 0.76, respectively. The higher species richness and Shannon Wiener diversity indices can be attributed to low disturbance and habitat conditions of the ecosystems. While the lower diversity indices could be as a result of overexploitation of woody species. Sorensen’s similarity indices between the ecological zones were 0.11, 0.01 and 0.84 for Montane Forest, Southern Guinea Savanna and Northern Guinea Savanna, respectively. Species diversity differs significantly (P<0.05) among the ecological zones and protected areas. Therefore, more priority areas should be identified and conserved for sustainability.

Open Access Original Research Article

Analysis of Cooking Energy Preference among Households in Jos North Local Government Area, Plateau State

S. K. Vihi, B. Ganiyu, A. A. Mbah, M. E. Emefiene, O. Adedire

Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry, Page 1-10
DOI: 10.9734/AJRAF/2018/43305

This study assessed cooking energy preference among households in Jos North Local Government Area, Plateau State Nigeria. The multistage sampling procedure was used to select 120 households from six political wards of the Local Government Area for the study. Primary data were collected through the use of questionnaires and interview schedule and were subjected to both descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings from the study revealed that the mean age of the respondents was 40 years with 58.3% of them being male and 80.8% married. The study also showed that 42.5% of the respondents had a tertiary education with an average household size of 6 persons. The results also revealed that 50.8% of the respondents were businessmen/women. The mean monthly income of household heads in the study area stood at N26833. The major energy type used by the respondents was kerosene (48.3%) with many (49.1%) of them combining at least two cooking energy types in their households. The majority (50.6%) of household heads indicated a willingness to switch to higher energy types with an increase in income. The multinomial regression result showed that the most significant factors influencing the choice of cooking energy among the households were marital status, educational status, occupation, income, and energy cost.

Open Access Original Research Article

Population Structure of Prunus africana (Hook. f.) Kalkm. and Olea europaea L. in South Nandi Afromontane Forest, Kenya

Abungu Eric Onyango, Joseph Hitimana, Peter K. Sirmah, Thomas Matonyei

Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry, Page 1-13
DOI: 10.9734/AJRAF/2018/43541

Prunus africana (African cherry) and Olea eurpaea (Olive) tree species from the moist highlands of sub-Saharan Africa are subjected to industrial-scale harvesting, and therefore endangered due to their medicinal values and fine wood. Studying their population dynamics plays an important role in identifying the conservation needs in tropical ecosystems. This paper focuses on an ecological study carried out from April-June 2017, within the South Nandi Afromontane Forest, Kenya. The objectives were to analyse population density, diameter size class distribution, and the horizontal structure of Prunus africana and Olea europaea species as indicators of their respective species stability within the forest. Two-line transects established 250 meters apart were used to lay twenty systematic sample plots of 50 m x 20 m each, along with a transect at an interval of 200 m. These sample plots were further divided into five sub-sample units of 20 m × 10 m, where the number of trees with Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) >10 cm, poles 5-10 cm, saplings 1-5 cm were assessed, while the number of seedlings with DBH < 1 cm were assessed in 50 m × 1m bands within the sample plots. Two and one-way Analysis of Variance ANOVA were applied at a 5% level of significance. The population densities ranged from 860-885 stems/hectare for P.africana and 569-601 stems/hectare for O. europaea, and were significantly different (p<0.05) along the transects and between the sampled cluster sites of Chebilat, Kobujoi, Chepkongony, and Kamarich, within the South Nandi Forest. Diameter size class distribution took the shape of reverse ‘J’ curve, which characterises stable populations that naturally replace themselves through regeneration. However, in comparison with United Nation Organisation 1994 model for structurally stable East African natural forest ecosystems, the species were unstocked, which indicates low recruitment from seedlings into mature trees due to possible anthropogenic disturbances. Recruitment of both species occurred more intensively in canopy gaps but displayed inhibition near mature conspecifics throughout the forest floor.  There is a need to consider population densities, regeneration, and recruitment levels in planning to restore the two species through artificial regeneration, in addition to advocate for strategic in-situ conservation interventions to enhance recruitment in South Nandi Forest. 

Open Access Original Research Article

Forage Potential of Alfalfa with Oats and Barley in Intercropping System

Poloko E. Mosebi, Puleng A. Matebesi-Ranthimo, Moeketsi P. Ntakatsane, Ratsele Ratsele

Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/AJRAF/2018/42731

Production of cultivated pastures with high energy and protein levels remains a challenge during winter months for livestock. Field trials were conducted to investigate the effects of cropping systems using intercropping (alfalfa + oat and alfalfa + barley) and monocropping (alfalfa, oat and barley) on plant height, yield and quality characteristics. Furthermore, to study the competition experienced by legume and cereals when planted in a mixture. The field trial was carried out in a randomised complete block design with five treatments including sole oat, sole barley, sole alfalfa, alfalfa + oat intercropping and alfalfa + barley intercropping and three replicates. The study was conducted at the Experimental Farm of the National University of Lesotho for two growing seasons (2015 and 2016). The results revealed that intercropping increased yields of forage crops in comparison to monocrops. Intercropping significantly increased protein levels and reduced fibre concentrations. In intercropping competition indices, land equivalent ratios indicated yield advantages for intercropping. Relative crowding coefficient and aggressivity values showed significant advantages of cereal over legume. So, the intercropping system was more productive than respective monocrops.