Effect of lantana camara on plant structure and diversity in Bumanya sub county Kaliro district.
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Invasive species are among the world’s greatest threat to biodiversity and native species in protected areas. Invasions by introduced species are the third biggest threat to biodiversity in Uganda today after habitat loss and unsustainable utilization of natural resources. Invasive plants can transform ecosystems by establishing populations with high growth rates that displace the native biota, or thereby potentially transforming ecosystem structure and functionality. The vegetation of the northern, central and southern parts of Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) has, since the mid 1970’s, been progressively invaded by the invasive shrub Lantana camara. The study was carried out in the three villages of Bumanya, Bulima and Wampeewo, found in Bumanya Sub-county. The main objective of this study was to assess the effect of Lantana camara invasion on the floral diversity and structure. This was conducted to compare plant species richness and diversity between Lantana camara invaded and un-invaded sites and assessing the impact of invasion on cover of trees, shrubs and forbs, by plot sampling at both Lantana camara infested and un-infested sites Larger numbers of species were registered for the non-invaded sites as compared to the L.camara invaded sites. Species percentage cover at the un-invaded site was higher than at the invaded. Similarly, diversity was higher in L. camara infested than the non-infested sites. Results therefore indicate that the weed (Lantana camara) affects negatively the floral structure and diversity by smothering native plants. More research is needed into the management of this invasive species as well as restoration of degraded habitats in order to avoid irrevocable degradation of habitats and wildlife and decline in livestock production.