The objectives of this study were: i) to establish the status of woody vegetation structure and composition, and ii) to determine the main factors influencing woody vegetation structure and composition across Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. We divided the park into three large strata based on natural and artificial features. A total of 137 sample plots were randomly placed to gather data on woody vegetation in the three study strata across Gonarezhou National Park from May to June 2011. Trees constituted 66% and shrubs 34% of the woody plants sampled. A total of 132 woody plant species were recorded. Significant differences were found in basal area, shrub density, browsed plants density and woody species diversity across Gonarezhou National Park. In contrast, no significant differences were recorded in tree height, densities of trees, stems, dead plants and fire damaged plants. Our results suggest that there are some variations in woody vegetation structure and composition across Gonarezhou National Park. These variations could be attributed to both natural and anthropogenic disturbance factors including elephant (Loxodonta africana Blumenbach) browsing, fires, droughts and previous tsetse fly (Glossina spp.) (Diptera: Glossinidae) eradication activities in the park.
Key words: Elephants, ï¬re, Gonarezhou National Park, savannas, woody vegetation.
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