Anthropogenic changes to natural ecosystems can result in deteriorating ecosystem services and biodiversity. The tropical afromontane forests of the Taita Hills (Kenya) are characterized by these threats like forest fragmentation and loss, resulting in different small and isolated forest fragments. Under increasing degradation increases the possibility of decreasing or even extinction of populations or species, which is related to the number, distribution and quality of remaining habitats, the connectivity within the landscape matrix and the natural and anthropogenic changes of these. In this doctoral research we will conduct an inventory of the woody vegetation and related abiotic variables in the remaining forest fragments followed by an analysis with ordination, clustering and regression. On this basis, forest communities, the potential natural vegetation of the forest fragments and even deforested areas can be derived. This inventory of forest composition and structure probably allows to predict the nest success of the Cabanis’s greenbul, a typical forest bird. Not only the indigenous forest fragments, but also the plantations and small remnant indigenous patches in the matrix have an ecological value. Based on aerial or satellite photographs in combination with field control we will determine the actual (ecological) status and evolution of the forest remnants between the indigenous forests. Areas with good reforestation potency will be further evaluated based on additional ecological, environmental and social criteria. Finally gap models will be used to determine the different successive stages of the indigenous forest, but also of deforested areas. Therefore tree and leaf characteristics for some representative species need to be obtained for understanding the tree physiology and a correct running of the gap models. Based on the obtained results in this doctoral research, advice can be given for management measures like the optimalisation of the management of the indigenous forest, conversion of the plantations to indigenous forest or afforestation projects in the matrix.
|Forest Ecology and Management||member||2009-01-01||2013-01-01|
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web