Ecological Studies of the Flora of Afram East Headwaters Forest Reserve

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Ecological studies of the flora of Afram East Headwaters forest reserve was conducted from August, 2010 to July, 2011. Two sampling sites including Forest Reserve and Farmland were selected for the study. Plant species diversity and distribution in each of the sites were studied using random sampling technique. The different life forms, namely, Trees, Shrubs, Herbs and Climbers were sampled using the 25m x 25m quadrats. Household surveys using structured questionnaire were carried out to elicit information on the effect of activities of the fringe communities on the Forest Reserve. From the results, a total of 102 species in 90 genera belonging to 33 families were documented in the study area. The Forest Reserve recorded a higher species diversity (Shannon index = 1.333) than the farmland (Shannon index = 0.764). The species distribution patterns per site were as follows; farmland (aggregated = 42 and random = 24) and Forest Reserve (aggregated = 21 and random = 47). The dominant life form was tree species though most of them were in the seedlings and saplings stages. These were followed by climbers, herbs and shrubs (i.e. 47.06%, 19.85%, 19.12% and 13.97%) respectively. The study found out that farming was the major occupation of the people with slash and burn land preparation as the most common method practiced in the area. Food crops grown include cassava, maize, plantain and other vegetables. Illegal logging and the exploitation of other plant materials for shelter are the major threats to the Forest Reserve. Environmental problems in the area included deforestation, bushfires and soil erosion. The study shows that the fringe communities are not fully involved in the management of the forest reserve.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science