Use patterns and ecological status of indigenous woody species in and around Agoro-Agu Central Forest Reserve, Uganda
Olanya, Peter Bismark
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Wooded ecosystems provide a range of goods and services to humankind especially to local rural communities in particular. The extraction of these resources raises concerns in relation to the ecological impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem processes. This study assessed the use patterns and ecological statuses of indigenous woody species in and around Agoro-Agu Central Forest Reserve, Uganda. The specific objectives were; i) to determine the use patterns of woody species by communities in and around Agoro-Agu Forest Reserve; ii) to determine the ecological status of useful woody species in and around the Forest Reserve; and iii) to examine the influence of environmental variables on woody species distribution in the Reserve. Data were collected using both social and ecological techniques. Chi-square (X2) tests were run to determine the association between socioeconomic characteristics of the respondents and their woody species use patterns. Species relative ecological importance was determined by the importance value index. The population structure was determined by plotting the size class distributions. Relationship between species abundance and the environmental variables was investigated using the Canonical Correspondence Analysis. The study recorded 115 woody species distributed in 76 genera and 33 families in the social and ecological surveys. The most utilized species were Terminalia brownii (11.3%), Acacia hockii (6.3%) and Combretum molle (5.8%). These species were well established in the community, and showed good conservation statuses based on their density, distribution, and population structure. The existence of these species appears to be influenced by soil types, canopy cover, herb layer, fire, and grazing. The extraction of these woody species by the local communities, if not sustainably managed, is likely to put pressure on the forest resources of Agoro-Agu and surrounding areas.