The study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of forest management zoning in conserving the biodiversity of Mabira forest reserve. The study sites buffer, production, and strict nature reserve management zones were purposively selected. This was undertaken through investigating woody species diversity, composition and structure. A total of 60 sampling plots with a size of 20 m x10 m were used to collect vegetation data. Variables such as woody plant species identification and counts as well as diameter at breast height (DBH) of trees were done. The result depicted a total of 65 woody species; 39 in the buffer, 19 in productions and 37 in a strict nature reserve. Of these, only 9 trees species were found common to all zones and their Sorensen similarity coefficient was 0.22. The population structure of the buffer and strict nature reserve zones was found to be a J - shape pattern, whereas the production zone showed an inverted J-shape pattern. Higher woody species diversity was depicted in the buffer and strict nature zones with (H’=2. 74) and (H’=2. 68) respectively, and lower in a production zone (H’=1. 64). The evenness index value of a buffer zone was (J =0. 75), strict nature (J= 0.74) and production (J=0. 56). The production zone had shown higher IVI values followed by buffer and strict nature reserve zone. The most important woody species identified based on their IVI value were Broussonetia papyrifera (Production), Acalypha neptunica (Buffer), Funtumia elastica (strict nature reserve). The existing forest management is effective in conserving the biodiversity of the forest reserve. Nevertheless, the production zone was still suffering from the exploitation of the surrounding community, hence serve for protecting the remaining management zones from further human interference. Further investigation is also required on the adjacent community perceptions of the forest management zoning.
Keywords: Composition, Diversity, Population Structure, Woody Species, Management Zones, Mabira Forest Reserve