Diversity of tree layer species along slope gradient of Moerolakop hill in Nylsvley Nature Reserve
ID: 613 / 351
Proposed Symposium Title: Diversity of tree layer species along slope gradient of Moerolakop hill in Nylsvley Nature Reserve
Tendani Mavhila, Milingoni P. Tshisikhawe, Khathutshelo Magwede
Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa
Slope gradients play an important role in distribution of species within the vegetation. Interesting vegetation distribution patterns are therefore more noticeable in mountainous regions which are set apart by steeper slopes. This study attempts to showcase species distribution patterns along Moroelakop hill located in Nylsvley Nature Reserve, Mokghoopong municipality, Limpopo Province. Point-Centred-Quarter (PCQ) method was used in data collected to achieve the purpose of the study which was to analyse and compare the vegetation structure of Moroelakop hill’s north-facing slope. The parameters sampled through PCQ included the plant species height, basal stem diameter and canopy diameter. The relative density and relative frequencies were used to determine importance value index (IVI) of sampled species. Data collected from the North facing slope revealed the dominance of Diplrorhynchus condylocarpon and Combretum molle. Species like Grewia bicolor, Dichrostachys cinerea and Combretum zeyheri had low relative frequency and subsequent low IVI. Diversity was measured using Shannon-Weiner diversity index. Shannon diversity index for north facing was 2.20 (down-slope), 1.97 (mid-slope) and 1.77 (up-slope). There is a significant difference in terms of species diversity recorded along the slope gradient. The study has flagged out species that need to be monitored in order to manage the vegetation well.