Effects of anthropogenic activities on tree species diversity in Gishwati forest reserve, Western, Rwanda

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Kampala International University, School of Engineering and Applied Science
The study in Gishwati forest Reserve aimed at determining the effect of anthropogenic activities on tree species diversity. Three areas within the forest were described as Disturbed Forest (DF), Natural forest (NF) and secondary forest (SF) in consideration of level of human disturbance. Data collection was done using plot sampling based on enumerating tree species (with a diameter at breast height ≥10 cm) within the forest, and observations to improve on validity and reliability of the measurement. Four transects, ranging from 2 to 3.8 km in length and cutting through the disturbed and undisturbed portions of the study were established. The distribution of species within the sample plots was determined using percentage frequency, relative density and species abundance. Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H) and Pielou’s evenness index (~ were used to characterize species diversity in the sampling area. To determine if there was significant difference in tree species diversity between the disturbed and undisturbed areas of the Forest reserve, one-way Analysis of Variance (one-way ANOVA) test using SPSS package, version 16.0 was used to find if the means are different between different areas of the forest. Analysis of data collected from the 60 sample plots in the study area, revealed that 753 individuals trees were in existence: 44 species, 43 genera and 27 families. There was a difference in number of tree species and individual trees. The results showed 31 species with 235 tree individuals in disturbed forest, 40 species with 291 tree individuals in natural forest and 30 species with 227 tree individuals in secondary forest. The results revealed also that the differences in tree canopy density and tree diversity and DBH distribution are highly significant in three area of the forest.
A Thesis Presented to the School of Postgraduate Studies and Research Kampala International University Kampala, Uganda in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Environmental management and Development
Anthropogenic activities, Species diversity