Chapter The Impacts of Soil Degradation Effects on Phytodiversity and Vegetation Structure on Atacora Mountain Chain in Benin (West Africa)
Atacora mountain is a particular ecosystem of West Africa where soil degradation occurs. The present study assessed the impacts of physical soil degradation on vegetation in the Beninese portion of this mountain chain. Phytosociological surveys were carried out along line transects from plain to summit within 22 plots of 30 m x 30 m. Based on indicators of physical soil degradation each plot was classified into one soil degradation class (Light, Moderate, High or Extreme). Impacts on plant diversity were assessed by comparing the floristic composition of soil degradation classes with the index of similarity of Jaccard. Variations between soil degradation classes of species richness, species chorological types, species life forms and species dispersal were also tested using a discriminant analysis combined with ANOVA. The Multi-Response Permutation Procedures analysis was used to pairwise compare the soil degradation classes based on the cover data of the species lists. All soil degradation classes were dissimilar, depending on the floristic composition. Discriminant analysis and ANOVA performed on biodiversity indicators had shown that species richness, and the number of regional species, phanerophytes and sarcochory decreased along the increasing degradation gradient in contrast to the number of species with wide distribution, therophytes and sclerochory. With regard to vegetation structure, the results had shown that only moderately and highly degraded soils presented the similar vegetation type. Physical soil degradation induced modification of floristic composition, phytodiversity loss and modification of vegetation structure. These results showed that the soil degradation gradient corresponds to a vegetation disturbance gradient.
Keywordssoil degradation, phytodiversity loss, mountain chain, West Africa
Publication date and place2020
Soil science, sedimentology