Anthropogenic impact on the population of vepris glandulosa (Hoyle and ledkey) Kokwaro (Rutaceae), and endangered tree species in Muguga South forest reserve, Kenya
Achieng, Salmon Okelo
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Vepris glandulosa (Hoyle and Leakey) Kokwaro (Rutaceae) is a rare, shade loving lower canopy tree, previously known to occur only in Muguga South Forest Reserve (MSFR) (Kiambu), but has now been discovered in Ragati (Nyeri) and Limuru (Kiambu), all localities in Central Kenya. This study focused on the impact of human activities on the population of V.glandulosa in (the KEFRI managed) MSFR. Information on previous works on V. glandulosa was obtained mainly from literature survey while population data obtained by census method. Height and diameter measurements of individual tree stands were taken, coupled with field observations of human disturbance. Questionnaires were used to obtain information on the uses, threats and conservation status of V.glandulosa. Chi-square distribution at 95% confidence level demonstrated three items: Firstly, there was a significant relationship between human activities and the population of V. glandulosa. Secondly, the population of V. glandulosa saplings exceeded that of trees, suggesting potential for regeneration and population increase. Thirdly, the population of V.glandulosa trees in MSFR has increased significantly since 1991. The population of V. glandulosa was highest where human disturbance was high, a phenomenon associated with the release of monopolised resources. This observation suggests that some disturbance may be important for sustainable management of the species. There was inadequate knowledge of V.glandulosa among the young generation, an observation associated with barbed-wire approach to forest management. Improving local knowledge of the species may be necessary for the promotion of ex-situ conservation. The study also suggests the need to research on the reproductive biology of V. glandulosa, in order to increase knowledge of its regeneration and endangerment. Tagging of existing population, making regular reports and conducting comparative studies within the population range were suggested to be crucial in the management of V. glandulosa.