Stars, Long Fingers, and Signals: A Study on Grass Species Diversity, Density, Frequency, and Veld Analysis at Ndarakwai Wildlife Ranch
Brown University / Bucknell University
This study was the first step to assessing veld quality and grass species diversity at Ndarakwai Wildlife Ranch in West Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in an effort to better inform management decisions that affect grasses and grazers. Our study was performed from April 5 to April 26, 2014. We utilized compass line quadrat method (n=600) in six sub-populations within three sample frames to achieve non-representative, random data set on richness, diversity, frequency, and density, with metadata from which we extrapolated veld indicators through secondary-source knowledge. Across all sample frames, we found 43 specimens: identified 29 to species, 7 to genus, and left 7 unidentified. Sample Frame A were sloped and non-sloped sub-populations. We found that sloped grass community had all healthy veld indicators. We recommend management leave the veld un-manipulated. Sample Frame B were Burn A, Burn B, and Non-burned sub-populations. Burned populations were statistically significantly dependent on region (p=0.0000, alpha=0.1), but were ecologically similar to their control. Burns more frequent than five year intervals would decrease high moribund plot frequency and fully reestablished communities. Sample Frame C were farmed and non-farmed sample populations. Farmed sample population exhibited the lowest density (19.48 +- s.d. 25.34 ) and most non-grass plots of all sample populations (17). We recommend an attempt at seeding the area, with efforts to help counter the effects of erosion in the region, such as rock terracing or mulching. Future studies are recommended to achieve a representative grass survey or to incorporate the effects of manipulations such as controlled burns and soil homogenization before any ecological restoration has started.
Natural Resources and Conservation | Plant Sciences | Sustainability
Walker, Reena and Schaffner, Theresa, "Stars, Long Fingers, and Signals: A Study on Grass Species Diversity, Density, Frequency, and Veld Analysis at Ndarakwai Wildlife Ranch" (2014). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 1770.
Natural Resources and Conservation Commons, Plant Sciences Commons, Sustainability Commons
Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology