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Prosopis juliflora invasion and environmental factors on density of soil seed bank in Afar Region, Northeast Ethiopia

  • Shiferaw, Wakshum1
  • Bekele, Tamrat2
  • Demissew, Sebsebe2
  • Aynekulu, Ermias3
  • 1 Arba Minch University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources Management, Arba Minch, Ethiopia , Arba Minch (Ethiopia)
  • 2 Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia , Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
  • 3 The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), UN Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya , Nairobi (Kenya)
Published Article
Journal of Ecology and Environment
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Dec 19, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s41610-019-0133-4
Springer Nature


The aims of the study were to analyze (1) the effects of Prosopis juliflora (Prosopis) on the spatial distribution and soil seed banks (SSB) diversity and density, (2) the effects of environmental factors on SSB diversity and density (number of seeds in the soil per unit area), and (3) the effects of animal fecal droppings on SSB diversity, density, and dispersal. Aboveground vegetation data were collected from different Prosopis-infested habitats from quadrats (20 × 20 m) in Prosopis thickets, Prosopis + native species stand, non-invaded woodlands, and open grazing lands. In each Prosopis-infested habitats, soil samples were collected from the litter layer and three successive soil layer, i.e., 0–3 cm, 3–6 cm, and 6–9 cm. Seeds from soil samples and animal fecal matter were separated in the green house using the seedling emergence technique. Invasion of Prosopis had significant effects on the soil seed bank diversity. Results revealed that the mean value of the Shannon diversity of non-invaded woodlands was being higher by 19.2%, 18.5%, and 11.0% than Prosopis thickets; Prosopis + native species stand and open grazing lands, respectively. The seed diversity and richness, recovered from 6–9-cm-deep layer were the highest. On the other hand, the density of Prosopis seeds was the highest in the litter layer. About 156 of seeds/kg (92.9%) of seeds were germinated from cattle fecal matter. However, in a small proportion of seedlings, 12 of seeds/kg (7.1%) were germinated from shot fecal matter. Thus, as the seeds in the soil were low in the study areas, in situ and ex situ conservation of original plants and reseeding of persistent grass species such as Cynodon dactylon, Cenchrus ciliaris, Chrysopogon plumulosus, and Brachiaria ramosa are recommended.

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