EFFECTS OF THE ABUNDANCE OF PARTHENIUM HYSTEROPHORUS ON THE COMPOSITION AND DIVERSITY OF OTHER HERBACEOUS PLANT SPECIES IN SIMANJIRO RANGELAND, TANZANIA
Parthenium hysterophorus is an annual herbaceous plant native to tropical America; and an invasive plant in Africa causing distressing effects on natural flora. This study investigated the effects of P. hysterophorus on the composition and diversity of native herbaceous plant species in Simanjiro rangeland, Tanzania. Plant species count data were collected from 60 (1m2) quadrats. Using generalized linear models (GLM), the abundance of P. hysterophorus was regressed against the abundance and diversity of the native herbaceous plants. Also, Jaccard’s similarity index was used to compare species composition. Results showed that there were 14 herbaceous plant species belonging to 13 genera and 10 families in the study area. Parthenium hysterophorus was the most dominant species recorded. The abundance of P. hysterophorus has a substantial negative effect on the abundance and diversity of other herbaceous plant species. Moreover, Jaccard’s similarity index showed a slightly significant difference between the infested and non-infested areas. This finding suggests that P. hysterophorus has a substantial potential threat on other herbaceous flora which are sources of food and nutrients to livestock and wild animals in the area. Thus, integrated management strategies are required to control the weed from spreading to other nearby rangelands.
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