Tree diversity and structure in logged area and unlogged area of Budongo forest reserve focusing on N3 and nature reserve of N15.
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Due to increasing populations this has accelerated the increase of forestry related activities for the last 30-40years leading destruction of the forest ecosystem services including loss of carbon sequestration sinks, loss of plant species diversity. Timber harvesting in Budongo forest directly affected the forest ecosystem through removing mature individual timber trees, causing incidental damage to seedlings and saplings during the logging operation. The study was to cover up the gap of lacking knowledge about the effects of seedling recruitment on the tree diversity and tree structure and composition in unlogged and logged forest area (research area N3) and its contribution in scientific research concerning forest ecology. The study aimed to compare the survival and status in the logged and unlogged area in Budongo Forest Reserve focusing on N3 and N15. The study was grounded on three objectives: (I) To assess seedling recruitment in the logged area of N3 and the unlogged areas of N15, (II) To document tree diversity within logged and unlogged forest area, (III)To determine species dominance for different growth stages in the logged and unlogged area. The study was conducted in 40 nested Plots of 30mX20m where the first plot was established randomly 10m from the edge of the compartment avoiding the edge effect with 30metres left between the adjacent plots to allow heterogeneity The results indicated that N3 was more diverse with a sum of 710 and 445 observed individuals for the logged and unlogged areas respectively in seedling stage, is a significant relationship between RCD and Height of the species since P-value (0.000) is less than the α-value (0.05) for N3, while in N15, there is a significant relationship between RCD and Height of the species since P-value (0.000) for N15. The study revealed results that there was slight difference in Shannon diversity H1 , N3 being more diverse both in saplings and adults with 2.4572 and 2.1012 (saplings), 2.8005 and 2.5838 (adults). Furthermore, results revealed that there is no consistency of species dominancy among the different growth stages that is species dominant in seedling stage differ from those in sapling stage and adult stages due to a combination of various factors that are both environmental and physical. Furthermore, the three species Rinorea ilicifolia N15, Lasiodiscus mildbraedii N3 for seedlings, Celtis mildbraedii N5, Lasiodiscus mildbraedii N3 for saplings and Lasiodiscus mildbraedii N15, Funtumia elastica N3 were widely distributed throughout the forest, although at varying abundances. However, Logging has put pressure on preferred species. Khaya anthotheca, was one of the species that dominated the forest in the past and today, it is found mostly in the nature reserve the majority being in the sapling stage and therefore silivicultural practices such as enrichment planting, close supervision and patrol should be emphasized to reduce the illegal utilization (harvesting) of forest resource