An Investigation into the Effect of Bamboo on the Surrounding Vegetation in the Arena Forest Reserve

Jason Scott Teixeira, Michael P. Oatham

Abstract


Bambusa vulgaris (Bamboo) is widespread in Trinidad. It occurs at all elevations and in all counties of the island. A study was conducted in the Arena Forest Reserve to determine whether or not B. vulgaris had an effect on the vegetation surrounding it, and whether or not it was an invasive species in a closed canopy forest in Trinidad. Species composition, diversity and density of all trees and seedlings within the immediate area of effect of four bamboo clumps in the Reserve were recorded and the parameters compared with an area of natural forest of the same size in the immediate vicinity. The abiotic conditions of dead organic matter (DOM) depth, and canopy closure were also compared between bamboo and natural forest plots. It was found that B. vulgaris does not appear to be invasive in the closed canopy areas of the Arena Forest Reserve in Trinidad, but where it exists it modifies its environment to the detriment of some tree species and the apparent benefit of others.

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