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Pastoralism versus Agriculturalism-How Do Altered Land-Use Forms Affect the Spread of Invasive Plants in the Degraded Mutara Rangelands of North-Eastern Rwanda?

Wronski, T and Bariyanga, JD and Sun, P and Plath, M and Apio, A (2017) Pastoralism versus Agriculturalism-How Do Altered Land-Use Forms Affect the Spread of Invasive Plants in the Degraded Mutara Rangelands of North-Eastern Rwanda? Plants (Basel), 6 (2). ISSN 2223-7747

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Abstract

Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) originates from tropical Central and South America and has become invasive in about 50 countries. It causes problems when invading rangelands due to its toxicity to livestock and its tendency to form dense, monotonous thickets. Its invasiveness can partly be explained by the high tannin content largely protecting the species from being browsed, its tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions, as well as its general preference for anthropogenically disturbed habitats. The dispersal of L. camara is facilitated by birds and other animals consuming its drupes (endozoochory), and so both wild and domestic ungulates could contribute to its spread. In our study, we investigated the distribution of L. camara in the Mutara rangelands of north-eastern Rwanda, an area that faced dramatic landscape changes in recent decades. We assessed 23 ecological factors and factors related to land-use and conservation-political history. Major effects on the local abundance of L. camara were found in that the relative canopy cover of L. camara was negatively correlated with the occurrence of other shrubs (suggesting competition for space and nutrients), while encounter rates of houses, 'living fences' (Euphorbia tirucalli L.) and cattle tracks were positively correlated with L. camara cover. Hence, the spread of non-native L. camara in the Mutara rangelands appears to be linked to landscape alterations arising from the transformation of rangelands supporting traditional pastoralist communities to other agricultural land-use forms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cymbopogon; Dichrostachys; cattle grazing; goat browsing; grassland degradation; living fences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: MDPI
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 31 May 2017 14:49
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2017 17:48
DOI or Identification number: 10.3390/plants6020019
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6607

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