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Possible control of Senna spectabilis (Caesalpiniaceae), an invasive tree in Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2002

James V. Wakibara
Tanzania National Parks, P.O. Box 3134, Arusha, Tanzania Present address: Department of Zoology, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606–8502 Japan. E-mail:
Bakari J. Mnaya
Tanzania National Parks, P.O. Box 3134, Arusha, Tanzania
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Senna spectabilis is a tree native to South and Central America. Thirty-five years ago it invaded the Mahale Mountains National Park in western Tanzania where it presently covers c. 225 ha. We quantified its occurrence relative to that of sympatric species of native trees, and compared girdling and felling as methods for its control in three 0.25 ha plots. Within invaded areas of forest this exotic species was both the most abundant and dominant of the 26 species of tree recorded. During 4 years of monitoring the experimental plots the abundance of S. spectabilis declined markedly in the plots where control methods were practised, but increased slightly in the unmanipulated plot. In contrast, the abundance of native tree species increased markedly in the plots where S. spectabilis had been removed or killed, with higher densities in the girdled rather than the felled plot. S. spectabilis appears to suppress the recruitment of native trees in the Park, and its removal can encourage regeneration of the degraded forest without the need for artificial seeding.

2002 Fauna & Flora International