Exploring methods for rapid assessment of woody vegetation in the Batemi Valley, North-central Tanzania

Authors: Smith, W.; Meredith, T.C.; Johns, T.

Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 8, Number 4, April 1999 , pp. 447-470(24)

Publisher: Springer

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Conservation of local biological resources in remote areas requires efficient data and collection methods. This paper describes part of a local conservation initiative in Northern Tanzania in which an indigenous conservation group enlisted the support of outside scientists to explore means of preparing baseline ecological reports. Two factors are seen as important: one is local use of ecological resources and the other is local availability. This paper focuses on the second of these and considers woody species. A variety of ecological field methods, statistical analysis and remote sensing and mapping techniques are used to generate baseline ecological inventories. The fieldwork identified 101 woody species, representing 54 genera and 37 families in the Batemi area. There are three main vegetation types: Vangueria apiculata-Ficus sycomorus-Trichilia emetica type; Croton dictygamous-Euphorbia tirucalli-Grewia bicolor type; and Acacia tortilis-Balanites aegyptica-Euphorbia candelabrum type. The Landsat TM map identified four main land-cover classes: (1) bushland and woodland thicket, (2) woodland (3) wooded grassland, and (4) grassland with scattered trees, which includes agricultural areas and villages. The combination of these data and methods can be useful for conservation planning and long-term monitoring, but it is clear that ground-level local assessment is necessary to detect subtleties of human-environment interaction that are required for conservation planning.

Keywords: biodiversity; ecological mapping; vegetation classification

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Box 315, Kugluktuk, NWT, X0E 0E0, Canada (wynetsm@polarnet.ca)

Publication date: April 1, 1999

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