The Dynamics on the Ecology of Pterocarpus angolensis DC
Pterocarpus angolensis is a tree species that is extensively used for its medicinal bark and good quality wood in South Africa. Its demand has resulted in some local extinctions in distribution area, leaving very few viable populations in natural areas. The current study was looked at the status of a pristine population located in the Lowveld National Botanical Garden, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Data on population parameters such as basal stem circumferences, plant height, and crown health estimates were collected from 16 transects of 100 m x 5 m. Results showed a healthy population that displayed an inverse J-shaped curve as analysed from some of the parameters sampled. More individuals found within the 0-50 cm stem circumference size class is an indication of a population with a healthy base for recruitment. Most of trees were in the 6.1-8.0 m height class which is a sign of a population with a good number of individuals in fruits bearing stage. High levels of canopy damage are an area of concern, since it impacts on the vigour of the population. It is concluded that this is a healthy population of P. angolensis, which could serve as a source of propagules in re-forestation programmes. It is recommended that the population be closely monitored for any signs of human disturbance, which would negatively influence its health.
Sadiki TS, Tshisikhawe MP* and Potgieter MJ