Woodland pattern and structure in a peasant farming area of Zimbabwe: ecological determinants and present and past use

McGregor, JoAnn (1994) Woodland pattern and structure in a peasant farming area of Zimbabwe: ecological determinants and present and past use. Forest Ecology and Management, 63 (2-3). pp. 97-133. ISSN 0378-1127

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Abstract

This article relates the species pattern and structure of miombo woodland in a deforested peasant farming area of central Zimbabwe to its ecological determinants and its present and past use. Data on species composition, basal area, height and physiognomy of the woody vegetation are presented for different parts of the landscape. The nature and degree of disturbance from harvesting for fuel and timber is quantified. Woodland in the arable areas and close to village lines is shown to be dominated by fruit trees, other trees with cultural controls on their cutting and species which quickly invade disturbed ground. The latter may be highly productive of woody biomass. In the grazing area, deeper soils which were cultivated in the past have retained an open structure and tend to be dominated by heavily coppiced Brachystegia spiciformis and Combretum molle (also dominants of less disturbed miombo woodland). Lithic soils which have not been cleared support denser, coppiced woodlands also dominated by climax species. Woody vegetation on kopjes and along riverine fringes is less disturbed in terms of its distribution, species composition, density and height than woodland in other parts of the landscape. The spatial pattern and nature of cutting is shown to vary between land use categories, between different species and according to the dimensions of individual stems. Miombo woodland shows a relatively high degree of stability in species composition under disturbance by cutting: of the 94 species included in the analysis, relatively few were shown to be significantly associated with a particular soil type, catenal position or land use category.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Nadya Herrera Catalan
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2015 07:32
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2015 07:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52807
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