Comparing regeneration in forests with contrasting logging histories in Kibale National Park, Uganda
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The knowledge of regeneration following logging interventions is still limited to the neotropics. This study was carried out to compare forest structure, population structure and species composition in unlogged, slightly logged and heavily logged compartments of Kanyawara in Kibale National Park. Nested plots were established to measure trees (dbh ≥ 10 cm), saplings (dhb ≥ 6 cm) and seedlings (≤3cm collar diameter). Forest structure was assessed by calculating the sum of basal area (m2/ha) plot assuming all stems have a circular cross section and stem density as (stems/ha). Population structure was assessed by classifying trees into size classes and species composition was assessed using unconstrained ordination based on a Bray-Curtis distance measure. The results showed that basal area was significantly higher in the unlogged forest than slightly logged and heavily logged forest implying that logging alters the structure of forests by modifying communities of seedlings, saplings and trees. The unlogged, slightly logged and heavily logged forests exhibited an inverse J-curve which demonstrates forest ecosystem health and stable regeneration. The unlogged, slightly logged and heavily logged forests exhibited different species composition highlighting the long term impacts of logging on community assembly.