African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 807

Article in Press

Spatial Variation in Population Structure of Prunus africana (Hook. F) Kalkm. in Western Mau Forest, Kenya

Gladys Chebet, Paul K. Mbugua, and Rebecca N. Karanja

  •  Received: 22 October 2018
  •  Accepted: 21 November 2018
Prunus africana (Hook. f) Kalkman, 1965 is a geographically widespread tree restricted to highland forest of Africa mainland and outlying islands. The species is commercially important for its bark, which is used in the treatment of prostate gland disorders. It also produces high quality timber used for building and furniture as well as fuel wood. Despite the fact that Mau forest is a protected area, it experiences illegal exploitation with P. africana being one of the main targets thus threatening it. The study was conducted in Western Mau forest (E350 27.05’ and E350 39.42’) which is found in Kericho county, Kenya. Transects were laid across four blocks in Western Mau forest and diameter at breast height (dbh) of mature trees measured along with their total heights. The level and causes of disturbances were observed and recorded in each of the plots. Densities of seedlings, saplings and mature P. africana trees were examined across the Western blocks of Mau forest. The data generated was analyzed and presented using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Data on height and dbh were summarized as mean ± SE and variations tested using one way ANOVA. Histograms, tables and graphs showed that there were differences in the densities of seedlings, saplings and trees across the forest blocks. Inferential statistics only revealed significant variation in the density of saplings (p<0.05). The seedling numbers exceeded saplings and trees, suggesting potential for regeneration and population increase even though the population is not increasing. Observations showed that human activities pose serious threats to P. africana tree. The main anthropogenic activities observed to be affecting the tree are unsustainable de-barking, logging, and animal grazing. The study recommends regular awareness creation by conservation and management institutions to all stakeholders on sustainable de-barking and logging be greatly regulated.

Keywords: Prunus africana, Height, Diameter at Breast Height, Population structure