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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Natural regeneration and population dynamics of the tree Afzelia quanzensis in woodlands in Southern Africa

Gerhardt, Karin; Colleen, Todd


The logging of tree species of high commercial value is increasing throughout the African continent, yet the ecology of these species is generally poorly known. We studied the regeneration pattern and size class distribution of Afzelia quanzensis populations in northern South Africa over a 5-year period. Recruitment was low as the annual seedling mortality was > 65%. Seedlings were located under the canopy and were affected by drought and browsing. The adults were scattered or were in a clump-dispersed pattern, which would result in higher recruitment of offspring near parents. Individuals of 0-10 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) were few, while there were 32 trees ha-1 at > 10 cm DBH with an annual mortality of 0.8%. Annual diameter increments varied between 0.06 and 0.28 cm. It appears that the transition from the sapling into the juvenile stage could be a bottleneck in the regeneration of the species. A longer study, including more rainfall cycles, may reveal other patterns as dry and wet years have different impacts on dynamics.


Afzelia quanzensis; population dynamics; size class distribution; Southern Africa; sustainable management; woodlands

Published in

African Journal of Ecology
2009, Volume: 47, number: 4, pages: 583-591

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    SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre

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