Forest succession in former sawmill site in Budongo Central Forest Reserve in Western Uganda
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Logging is the major form of disturbance that has continued to be a threat to natural forest ecosystems over the years. With the fact that logged areas can actually recover over time through succession, it is necessary to find out and quantify the functional changes that take place during the process of recovery. The study aimed at asssessing forest sucession in the former sawmill site of Budongo forest reserve in western Uganda, following the decline of logging activities that started in 1974, and complete abandonment in 1998. Specifically, the study assessed the; functional composition of trees in natural and successional habitats, functional diversity of trees in natural and successional habitats and influence of habitat characteristics on functional composition of trees in successional habitats. The study was done by sampling trees in 20 plots of the sawmill site and the natural forest. The results indicated that the former sawmill has recovered in terms of functional diversity, though the functional composition traits in the sawmill site are still very different from those of the natural forest. The results of this study demonstrate that site characteristics have no substantial influence on the functional composition of abandoned sawmill site that is bound by a natural forest.