Plant Ecology and Evolution 145(3): 410-418, doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2012.516
Ecological survey of the Lycophytes and Ferns of the Vohimana Reserve, Madagascar
expand article infoCatherine Reeb, Hery Lisy Ranarijaona, Jean-Yves Dubuisson
Open Access
Background and aims – The Malagasy Vohimana Reserve, is situated in an ecologically sensitive area subject to mining and the pressure from neighbouring communities. The aim of this study is to look at the structure of the plant community, to determine indicator species of undisturbed areas and areas affected by human activities, and to present a checklist of ferns and lycophytes of the reserve. Methods – The Vohimana Reserve was visited twice and an improved quadrat method of sampling was used; specimens were collected and identified at both TAN and P herbaria. Ecological data were statistically analysed using the Factorial Correspondence Analysis methods. Key results – One hundred and thirty two lycopod and fern taxa were identified, including four undescribed fern species. The plant community structure suggests a gradation from primary forest to disturbed zones. This can be explained by local ecological factors and topography, as well as the effect of human pressure on the plant community. The narrow altitudinal gradient (780–1,030 m) is not considered as a factor influencing species composition, as shown in analogous studies performed in larger parks or reserves elsewhere in Madagascar. Conclusion – Despite the human impact on the reserve, the fern and lycophyte diversity indices suggest that it should be classified as an area of significant diversity.