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Macrotermes mounds as sites for tree regeneration in a Sudanian woodland (Burkina Faso)

By Saran Traoré, M. Tigabu, S. J. Ouédraogo, J. I. Boussim, S. Guinko and Michel Lepage


The importance of mounds created by Macrotermes subhyalinus as safe site for tree regeneration was analysed in a savannah woodland of Burkina Faso. Plantlets (height < 1.5 m) were sampled and followed over an year in 72 x 4 m(2) quadrats located on M. subhyalinus mounds and adjacent areas. The mechanisms of regeneration and plantlet mortality were also determined. We identified three regeneration mechanisms: seedlings regenerated by seed (abundant on mounds), sprouts (abundant on adjacent areas) and root suckers (a rare case on both sites). A total of 37 species representing 17 families and 30 genera were found on all quadrats, of which 29 species were found on termite mounds and 22 species on adjacent areas. Species richness and density of plantlets at the 4 m(2) scale were higher on mounds than in the adjacent area (P < 0.05). Among plantlet categories, seedling density was significantly different among microhabitats (P < 0.001) and across sampling periods (P < 0.01) and, the majority of plantlet individuals appeared within the 0-25 cm height class. The mortality of plantlets and particularly seedling mortality differed significantly between microhabitats (P < 0.01) and between periods (P < 0.01), whereas more than half the variation in the death of Acacia erythrocalyx seedlings (the most abundant species) were related to the density of the live seedlings of the same species (P < 0.001). The observed mortality rate was way below 50%; plantlet density remained higher on mound during sampling periods as compared to the adjacent area. It can thus be concluded that Macrotermes termite mounds are favourable sites for the recruitments of woody plants in savannah woodlands

Topics: Microhabitat, Plantlets, Regeneration, Savannah, Termite-mound
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s11258-008-9404-3
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