Title: Dieback affects forest structure in a dry Afromontane forest in northern Ethiopia
Authors: Aynekulu, E ×
Denich, M
Tsegaye, D
Aerts, Raf
Neuwirth, B
Boehmer, H.J #
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Academic Press
Series Title: Journal of Arid Environments
Abstract: Forests are highly susceptible to dieback under ongoing climate warming. In degraded forests, dead
standing trees, or snags, have become such prominent features that they should be taken into account
when setting management interventions. This study investigated (1) the extent and spatial pattern of
standing dead stems of Juniperus procera and Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata along an elevational
gradient, and (2) the effect of dieback on forest stand structure. We quantified abundance, size, and
spatial pattern of tree dieback in 57 plots (50 m  50 m) established at 100 m intervals along five
transects. The snag density and basal area (mean  SE) of the two species combined were 147  23
stems ha1 and 5.35  0.81 m2 ha1, respectively. The percentages of snags were extremely high for both
J. procera (57  7%) and O. europaea subsp. cuspidata (60  5%), but showed a decreasing trend with
increasing elevation suggesting that restoration is even more urgent at the lower elevations. Snags of the
two species accounted for 31 and 45% of total stand density and basal area, respectively. Living stems
exhibited truncated inverse-J-shaped diameter and height class distributions, indicating serious regeneration
problems of these foundation species in the study area. In addition to direct interventions to
assist recruitment of climax tree species, sites with high dieback would probably benefit from snag
reduction to prevent fire incidents in the remaining dry Afromontane forests in northern Ethiopia.
ISSN: 0140-1963
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division Forest, Nature and Landscape Research
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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