Diversity Of Epiphytic ferns in the cross river national park, Akamkpa, Nigeria as indicators of forest disturbance
Keywords:Akamkpa, Cross river national park, diversity, epiphytic ferns, forest disturbance, Nigeria
Epiphytic ferns are autotrophic plants that are essential and delicate members of humid forests, such that their diversity can be adversely affected by any form of disturbances in the forests. Generally, their diversity is greater in the primary forest than in disturbed habitats. Thus, the diversity of epiphytic ferns at the core and buffer zone of the Cross River National Park (CRNP), Akamkpa, Nigeria was investigated. In each study site, 10 (20 × 20m) plots were marked out and sampled taking into account (trees with epiphytic ferns, canopy type, bark texture, girth at breast height (GBH), and the presence or absence of grooves on trees). The statistical analysis showed a positive correlation (r = 0.67 and 0.68) in the epiphyte diversity between the core and buffer zone. Six species of epiphytic ferns (Asplenium nudas, Phloebodium aureum, Platycerium coronarium, Drynaria laurentii, Nephrolepsis biserrata and Cyathea cooperi) were recorded in both study sites. Trees with rough bark texture had a higher number of epiphytic ferns than those with smooth bark. The ferns were mostly attached to the trunk (35) followed by the joint between the branch and trunk (15) and the primary branch (6). The low diversity of epiphytic ferns in the core zone of the CRNP is an indicator of forest disturbance.
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