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Woody Species Richness of a Remnant Gallery Forest in Eastern Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the most highly populated countries in East and Central Africa. Due to population pressure, most of the natural vegetation has been cleared in favor of agriculture and artificial plantations. However, besides the three major conservation areas of Volcanoes, Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks, there are still pockets of remnant natural forests in some parts of the country. One of these remnant natural vegetations is the Ibanda-Makera forest protected and monitored by ISAR (Agricultural Research Institute of Rwanda). A survey of woody species was conducted in this tiny natural forest of 74 ha. The results revealed that its richness is outstanding with more than sixty four woody species distributed in 36 families. The average stem diameter at breast height (1.3m) was estimated to 11.5 cm while the average height was about 10 m. Most of the woody species inventoried in Ibanda-Makera are valuable for several purposes including medicinal, forage, food (edible fruits) and ornamental uses. But, unfortunately they have disappeared from neighboring landscapes and remain only restricted to this tiny gallery forest. The conservation of such remnant forests in countries with high population pressure like Rwanda is recommended as they can serve as gene pools for regenerating valuable plant species.
Species richness, biodiversity, woody species, Ibanda-Makera, gallery forest
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