Original Research

Seasonal variation in soil seed bank size and species composition of selected habitat types in Maputaland, South Africa

M. J. S. Kellerman, M. W. van Rooyen
Bothalia | Vol 37, No 2 | a323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v37i2.323 | © 2007 M. J. S. Kellerman, M. W. van Rooyen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 August 2007 | Published: 18 August 2007

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M. J. S. Kellerman, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, South Africa
M. W. van Rooyen, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria,, South Africa

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Seasonal variation in seed bank size and species composition of five selected habitat types within the Tembe Elephant Park. South Africa, was investigated. At three-month intervals, soil samples were randomly collected from five different habitat types: a, Licuati forest; b, Licuati thicket; c, a bare or sparsely vegetated zone surrounding the forest edge, referred to as the forest/grassland ecotone; d, grassland; and e, open woodland. Most species in the seed bank flora were either grasses, sedges, or forbs, with hardly any evidence of woody species. The Licuati forest and thicket soils produced the lowest seed densities in all seasons.  Licuati forest and grassland seed banks showed a two-fold seasonal variation in size, those of the Licuati thicket and woodland a three-fold variation in size, whereas the forest/grassland ecotone maintained a relatively large seed bank all year round. The woodland seed bank had the highest species richness, whereas the Licuati forest and thicket soils were poor in species. Generally, it was found that the greatest correspondence in species composition was between the Licuati forest and thicket, as well as the forest/grassland ecotone and grassland seed bank floras.


<i>Licuati</i>; Maputaland; Sand Forest; seed bank dynamics; Tembe Elephant Park; temporal variation; transient seed bank


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