Effectiveness of conservation areas in protecting Shea trees against hemiparasitic plants (Loranthaceae) in Benin, West Africa
Methods – Infestations in two habitats: land use area (fields and fallows) and protected area of Pendjari hunting zone were compared. Overall 54 plots of 1 ha (100 m × 100 m) with 487 and 252 individuals of Shea tree in land use and protected area respectively were investigated. ANOVA was used to compare Shea tree infestation rate and infestation degree (with regard to diameter and height of infested Shea tree). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was performed to correlate the habitats with infestation degree.
Key results – The results showed that about 80% of Shea tree individuals were infested in the land use area, this rate was significantly higher than the one of 27.3% observed in the protected area. Overall, heavily infested Shea trees had significantly larger trunks and heights, mainly in land use areas. The land use area was shown to be correlated with high and very high Shea tree infestation degrees while the others infestations degrees (very weak, weak and moderate) were correlated with both areas.
Conclusions – Shea trees growing in protected areas are better protected against mistletoe plant parasites than those on cultivated land. Various hypotheses to explain this result are discussed.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 November 2011
Plant Ecology and Evolution (a continuation of Belgian Journal of Botany, incorporating Systematics and Geography of Plants) is an international journal devoted to ecology, phylogenetics and systematics of all 'plant' groups in the traditional sense (including algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, myxomycetes), also covering related fields such as comparative and developmental morphology, conservation biology, ecophysiology, evolution, phytogeography, pollen and spores, population biology, and vegetation studies. It is published by the Royal Botanical Society of Belgium and the Botanic Garden Meise and contains original research papers, review articles, checklists, short communications and book reviews.
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