Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Biotic interactions, climate and disturbance underlie the distribution of two Julbernardia tree species in miombo woodlands of Africa

  • Emmanuel N. Chidumayo (a1)

Occurrence data for Julbernardia globiflora and J. paniculata at 617 sites in the miombo woodland region of central, eastern and southern Africa and forest inventory data for 512 woodland plots in Zambia were used to determine species distribution and dominance. Distribution of the two Julbernardia species overlaps in the central region of the miombo woodland range while the eastern and western range regions are exclusively for only one of the two species. In the region of co-occurrence, there is a clear spatial separation in the dominance of the two species. In old-growth woodland a significant proportion of the variation in the dominance of J. globiflora was explained by the dominance of J. paniculata while mean annual maximum temperature and tree species richness negatively affect the dominance of J. paniculata. Old-growth woodland clearing changes the local climatic conditions and alters the way Julbernardia species in re-growth stands respond to potential evapo-transpiration (PET). Climate change, especially global warming, may further reinforce the impacts of PET to differentially favour J. globiflora. Because of this altered response of Julbernardia species in re-growth miombo, preserving old-growth miombo and preventing present human disturbances in designated areas, such as forest reserves and national parks, may be a useful climate adaptation strategy for these species.

Corresponding author
Email: or
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

P. G. ABBOT & J. D. LOWORE 1999. Characteristics and management potential of some indigenous firewood species in Malawi. Forest Ecology and Management 119:111121.

I. BACKÉUS , B. PETTERSSON , L. STRÖMQUIST & C. RUFFO 2006. Tree communities and structural dynamics in miombo (BrachystegiaJulbernardia) woodland, Tanzania. Forest Ecology and Management 230:171178.

D. D. BALDOCCHI 2005. The role of biodiversity on the evaporation of forests. Pp. 131148 in M. Scherer-Lorenzen , C. Körner & E.-D. Schulze (eds.). Forest diversity and function: temperate and boreal systems. Springer, Berlin.

T. BANDA , M. W. SCHWARTZ & T. CARO 2006. Woody vegetation structure and composition along a protection gradient in a miombo ecosystem of western Tanzania. Forest Ecology and Management 230:179185.

T. BANDA , N. MWANGULANGO , B. MEYER , M.W. SCHWARTZ , F. MBAGO , M. SUNGULA & T. CARO 2008. The woodland vegetation of the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem in western Tanzania. Forest Ecology and Management 255:33823395.

S. B. BOALER & K. C. SCIWALE 1966. Ecology of a miombo site, Lupa North Forest Reserve, Tanzania. III. Effects on the vegetation of local cultivation practices. Journal of Ecology 54:577587.

R. BONNEFILLE 2010. Cenozoic vegetation, climate changes and hominid evolution in tropical Africa. Global and Planetary Change 72:390411.

E. N. CHIDUMAYO 1987. A survey of wood stocks for charcoal production in miombo woodlands of Zambia. Forest Ecology and Management 20:105115.

E. N. CHIDUMAYO 1991. Woody biomass structure and utilisation for charcoal production in a Zambian miombo woodland. Bioresource Technology 37:4352.

E. N. CHIDUMAYO 2013. Forest degradation and recovery in a miombo woodland landscape in Zambia: 22 years of observations on permanent sample plots. Forest Ecology and Management 291:154161.

E. N. CHIDUMAYO 2016. Distribution and abundance of a keystone tree, Schinziophyton rautanenii, and factors affecting its structure in Zambia, southern Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation 25:711724.

E. N. CHIDUMAYO & K. J. MBATA 2002. Shifting cultivation, edible caterpillars and livelihoods in the Kopa area of northern Zambia. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 12:175193.

T. CHINUWO , E. GANDIWA , P. H. MUGABE , I. D. T. MPOFU & E. TIMPONG-JONES 2010. Effects of previous cultivation on regeneration of Julbernadia globiflora and Brachystegia spiciformis in grazing areas of Mupfurudzi Resettlement Scheme, Zimbabwe. African Journal of Range and Forage Science 27:4549.

C. CHOMBA , V. NYIRENDA & M. SILENGO 2013. Selective use patterns of woody plant species by local communities in Mumbwa Game Management Area: a prerequisite for effective management of woodland resources and benefit sharing. Open Journal of Ecology 3:532550.

M. M. COLE 1963. Vegetation and geomorphology in Northern Rhodesia: an aspect of the distribution of the savanna of central Africa. Geographical Journal 129:290310.

B. H. DARU , M. VAN DER BANK , O. MAURIN , K. YESSOUFOU , H. SCHAEFER , J. A. SLINGSBY & T. J. DAVIES 2016. A novel phylogenetic regionalization of phytogeographical zones of southern Africa reveals their hidden evolutionary affinities. Journal of Biogeography 43:155166.

C. ERIKSEN 2007. Why do they burn the ‘bush’? Fire, rural livelihoods, and conservation in Zambia. The Geographical Journal 173:242256.

J. B. FISHER , R. J. WHITTAKER & Y. MALHI 2011. ET come home: potential evapo-transpiration in geographical ecology. Global Ecology and Biogeography 20:118.

I. M. GRUNDY , B. M. CAMPBELL , S. BALEBEREHO , R. CUNLIFFE , C. TAFANGENYASHA , R. FERGUSSON & D. PARRY 1993. Availability and use of trees in Mutanda Resettlement Area, Zimbabwe. Forest Ecology and Management 56:243266.

M. C. HANSEN , R. S. DEFRIES , J. R. G. TOWNSHEND , L. MARUFU & R. SOHLBERG 2002. Development of a MODIS tree cover validation data set for Western Province, Zambia. Remote Sensing of Environment 83:320335.

W. A. HOFFMANN & R. B. JACKSON 2000. Vegetation–climate feedbacks in the conversion of tropical savanna to grassland. Journal of Climate 13:15931602.

H. JACHMANN & R. H. V. BELL 1985. Utilization by elephants of the Brachystegia woodlands of the Kasungu National Park, Malawi. African Journal of Ecology 23:245258.

E. K. K. JEW , A. J. DOUGILL , S. M. SALLU , J. O'CONNELL , T. G. BENTON 2016. Miombo woodland under threat: consequences for tree diversity and carbon storage. Forest Ecology and Management 361:144153.

F. KAMANGADAZI , L. MWABUMBA , E. MISSANJO & F. PHIRI 2016. Selective harvesting impact on natural regeneration, tree species richness and diversity in forest co-management block in Liwonde Forest Reserve, Malawi. International Journal of Scientific Research in Environmental Sciences 4:4754.

S. KUYAH , G. W. SILESHI , J. NJOLOMA , S. MNG'OMBA & H. NEUFELDT 2014. Estimating aboveground tree biomass in three different miombo woodlands and associated land use systems in Malawi. Biomass and Energy 66:214222.

R. M. LAWTON 1978. A study of the dynamic ecology of Zambian vegetation. Journal of Ecology 66:175198.

F. MALAISSE , R. FRESON , G. GOFFINET & M. MALAISSE-MOUSSET 1975. Litter fall and litter breakdown in miombo. Ecological Studies 11:137152.

F. MAPANDA , S. MUNOTENGWA , M. WUTA , P. NYAMUGAFATA & J. NYAMANGARA 2013. Short-term responses of selected soil properties to clearing and cropping of miombo woodlands in central Zimbabwe. Soil and Tillage Research 129:7582.

I. MAPAURE 2013. Short-term responses of shrub layer communities to dry season fires and tree thinning in semi-arid miombo woodlands of north-western Zimbabwe. African Journal of Plant Science 7:414425.

I. M. MCNICOL , C. M. RYAN & M. WILLIAMS 2015. How resilient are African woodlands to disturbance from shifting cultivation? Ecological Applications 25:23202336.

E. M. O'BRIEN 1993. Climatic gradients in woody plant species richness: towards an explanation based on an analysis of Southern Africa's woody flora. Journal of Biogeography 20: 181198.

E. M. O'BRIEN 2006. Biological relativity to water-energy dynamics. Journal of Biogeography 33:18681888.

W. A. REES 1974. Preliminary studies into bush utilization by cattle in Zambia. Journal of Applied Ecology 11:207214.

N. S. RIBEIRO , H. H. SHUGART & R. WASHINGTON-ALLEN 2008. The effects of fire and elephants on species composition and structure of the Niassa Reserve, northern Mozambique. Forest Ecology and Management 255:16261636.

N. S. RIBEIRO , C. N. MATOS , I. R. MOURA , R. A. WASHINGTON-ALLEN & A. RIBEIRO 2013. Monitoring vegetation dynamics and carbon stock density in miombo woodlands. Carbon Balance and Management 8:11,

C. M. RYAN , M. WILLIAMS & J. GRACE 2011. Above- and belowground carbon stocks in a miombo woodland landscape of Mozambique. Biotropica 43:423.

R. W. SHEA , B. W. SHEA & J. B. KAUFFMAN 1996. Fuel biomass and combustion factors associated with fires in savanna ecosystems of South Africa and Zambia. Journal of Geophysical Research 101:2355123568.

D. D. SHIRIMA , Ø. TOTLAND , P. K. T. MUNISHI & S. R. MOE 2015. Relationships between tree species richness, evenness and aboveground carbon storage in montane forests and miombo woodlands of Tanzania. Basic and Applied Ecology 16:239249.

J. SHUKLA & Y. MINTZ 1982. Influence of land-surface evapo-transpiration on the Earth's climate. Science 215:14981501.

P. P. SMITH 1998. A reconnaissance survey of the vegetation of the North Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Bothalia 28:197211.

P. STROMGAARD 1985. Biomass, growth, and burning of woodland in a shifting cultivation area of south central Africa. Forest Ecology and Management 12:163178.

D. S. G. THOMAS & P. A. SHAW 2002. Late Quaternary environmental change in central southern Africa: new data, synthesis, issues and prospects. Quaternary Science Reviews 21:783797.

M. J. A. WERGER & B. J. COETZEE 1978. The Sudano-Zambezian region. Pp. 301462 in M. J. A. Werger (ed.) Biogeography and ecology of southern Africa. Dr W Junk Publishers, The Hague.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 55 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 225 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th December 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.