Assessment of the regeneration of chimpanzee food trees in the logged and unlogged compartments of Budongo forest in western Uganda
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Regeneration is a key factor in conservation of threatened of species like the chimpanzees and thus an understanding of the natural regeneration and population trends of chimpanzee food trees is required. This study assessed the regeneration of chimpanzee food in the abandoned logged and unlogged areas of Budongo forest reserve in terms of species composition, population structure and functional characteristics. Employing complete randomized block design a total of forty plots, each 20m ×30m properly distributed in the abandoned logged and unlogged areas with similar habitat conditions were surveyed. Counts of chimpanzee food trees were recorded and their diameter measured. Generalized linear models were used to analyze the abundance and size class distributions of chimpanzee food tree species in logged and unlogged areas. The study revealed that there’s a significant difference between tree compositions in the abandoned logged area compared to the unlogged area. However, population structure in the abandoned logged area was not significantly different from the unlogged areas and there were no trees in some size classes. Furthermore, various functional traits (i.e. Wood density, fruit size, regeneration guilds, dispersal modes and habitat type) in Budongo forest reserve were significantly different in the abandoned logged areas compared to the unlogged areas. Generally this study found that regeneration is more in the unlogged areas compared to the abandoned logged areas and this calls for conservation interventions on these regenerating chimpanzee food trees to enhance regeneration in the abandoned logged areas to ensure continuous presence of chimpanzee food trees of these threatened primates (i.e. chimpanzees) in Budongo Forest Reserve.