Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 355

Full Length Research Paper

Status of Hagenia forest in the Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda: A review of historical records

Seburanga J. L.*
  • Seburanga J. L.*
  • College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda, P.O. Box 117, Butare, Rwanda.
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Nsanzurwimo A.
  • Nsanzurwimo A.
  • Faculté des Sciences, Institut d'Enseignement Supérieur de Ruhengeri, P.O. Box 155 Ruhengeri, Rwanda.
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Folega F.
  • Folega F.
  • Faculté des Sciences, Université de Lomé, BP 1515, Lomé, Togo.
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  •  Received: 18 January 2014
  •  Accepted: 27 February 2014
  •  Published: 31 May 2014

Abstract

Hagenia-shaped habitat is an important element in conservation of world’s only population of mountain gorillas surviving in the wild. In fact, in the Parc National des Volcans (henceforth PNV), gorillas spend most of their life time in the nutritious herbaceous habitats near or within the Hagenia-Hypericum zone. Unfortunately, populations of Hagenia abyssinica in this park have been reported to be ageing. Using information drawn from the statistical analysis of records in herbaria and the cross−examination of the literature, the status of Hagenia forest in PNV is discussed. The results show that H. abyssinica in PNV has an unusual pattern of population structure and distribution, seemingly since many decades. No record of H. abyssinica was collected from PNV, but patterns of collections of H. abyssinica are globally similar to those of a set of five control tree species, such that this absence of records from this park cannot be considered as due to collector or collection site-bound bias. The paper ends by giving insight on possible implications for conservation of the park’s wildlife, chiefly the gorillas.

Key words: Tree regeneration, herbarium records, afromontane forest.