Plant Diversity ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (04): 220-228.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2019.06.005

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Elevational changes in vascular plants richness, diversity, and distribution pattern in Abune Yosef mountain range, Northern Ethiopia

Kflay Gebrehiwota,b, Sebsebe Demissewa, Zerihun Woldua, Mekbib Fekadua, Temesgen Desalegnc, Ermias Teferid   

  1. a Department of Plant Biology and Biodiversity Management, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
    b Department of Biology, Samara University, Afar, Ethiopia;
    c Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Holetta, Ethiopia;
    d Department of Environmental and Developmental Studies, Addis Ababa, University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Received:2019-02-28 Revised:2019-06-05 Online:2019-08-25 Published:2019-09-17
  • Contact: Kflay Gebrehiwot,E-mail
  • Supported by:
    We are very grateful for Addis Ababa University office of vice president for research and Technology transfer for funding the thematic research, "Integrated approaches of Molecular Systematics and plant Biodiversity Informatics to Climate Change Mitigation and Monitoring in Ethiopian Mountains". The first author is grateful for the local people for their hospitality and kindness during the field work.

Abstract: The aim of this research is to investigate the patterns of vascular plant species richness, diversity, and distribution along an elevation gradient in the Abune Yosef mountain range, Ethiopia. Preferential systematic sampling was employed to collect vegetation and environmental data along the elevation gradient. We found that plant species richness declines monotonically from low to high elevations. Specifically, vascular plant species richness and diversity were lower in the Afroalpine grassland (high elevation) than in the Dry evergreen Afromontane forest and Ericaceous forest (low elevations). In contrast, endemic vascular plant richness was significantly higher in the Afroalpine grassland than in the Dry evergreen Afromontane forest and Ericaceous forest. Elevation showed a significant impact on the richness, diversity, and endemism of vascular plants. According to Sørensen's coefficient, the similarity between Dry evergreen Afromontane forest and Ericaceous forest vegetation types is higher (32%) than the similarity between Ericaceous forest and Afroalpine grassland (18%). Only 5% similarity was recorded between the Dry evergreen Afromontane forest and Afroalpine grassland. Growth forms showed different elevational richness patterns. Trees and liana increased monotonically up to 3300 m. Shrub and herb richness patterns followed a hump-shaped and inverted hump-shaped pattern along the elevation gradient. The elevation patterns of vascular plant species richness, diversity, and growth form in the present study may be attributed to differences in management intensity, spatial heterogeneity, microclimatic variations, and anthropogenic disturbances.

Key words: Afroalpine, Church forest, Diversity, Elevation gradient, Plant community, Species richness