Coppice and natural regeneration in some Miombo woodlands of Malawi

Abstract

Miombo woodlands in three different areas within Malawi were coppiced in 1992 and assessed to determine the woodlands' ability to regenerate from coppices and seedlings. The number of shoots produced on each coppiced stump, the length and diameter of the leading shoots per stool were measured. Ground regeneration from seedlings by species, number of regenerants and size were also measured. For the common miombo species, the experiment was designed to establish optimal cutting intensities and to generate information on wood production, growth potential and optimum rotations for specific products. The rate and vigour of coppice and seedling regeneration was monitored in plots coppiced at three intensities, namely complete coppice, coppice with standards and selective thinning. A total of 76 woody species recognised on the three study sites of which only two species were recorded as occurring on all sites. Despite the small size of the sample areas, a Detrended Correspondent Analysis (DECORANA) on the pre-felling growing stock at the three sites shows that there is a distinct variation in species composition between sites. The important environmental gradients responsible for this variation appear to be altitude, rainfall, soil moisture and nutrient status. At Phuyu the four important species were Brachystegia pertersiana, Diplorynchus condylocarpon, Diospyros kirkii and Pterocarpus rotundifolia. The complete coppice silvicultural system produced consistently better growth for the major species and B. petersiana, was the best performer. At Chongoni, the three most important species were Uapaca kirkiana and B. spiciformis. After seven years of growth, Uapaca kirkiana has excelled in height and girth with B. floribunda excelling in shoot production. At Chimaliro, the important species were J. paniculata, B. utilis, B. spiciformis, B. manga, B. floribunda, B. boehmii and A. amythethophylla. The Brachystegia species performed consistently better than J. paniculata and complete coppice silvicultural system resulted in better growth of the coppice shoots. The results have also shown that under natural conditions the most important type of regeneration in miombo is by suffrutex. While this information provides useful and important information on the coppice ability of miombo species under various systems, its application should take account of user-preferences by the communities.

Citation

Mwabumba, L; Chirwa, J.D.; Lowore, J.D.; Munthali, C.R.Y. Coppice and natural regeneration in some Miombo woodlands of Malawi. (1999)

Coppice and natural regeneration in some Miombo woodlands of Malawi

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