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Modelling the distribution of the invasive Ziziphus mauritiana along road corridors in Zimbabwe

Mungate, Pauline N. P., Masocha, Mhosisi, Dube, Timothy
African journal of ecology 2019 v.57 no.1 pp. 122-129
Ziziphus mauritiana, adults, fruit consumption, humans, mature plants, models, roads, saplings, stems, surveys, t-test, Zimbabwe
We investigate how human fruit consumption affects the spread of the alien invasive Ziziphus mauritiana along road corridors in northern Zimbabwe. A field survey was conducted to identify and map Z. Mauritiana stems at 25 randomly located 6‐ha plots placed along two main roads connecting the Zambezi Valley to the Highveld region. The L‐function was used to test for evidence of significant spatial clustering of the stems. The inhomogeneous point model fitted by maximum likelihood was also applied to check whether distance from the road explains variation in the number of stems per unit area. Finally, a t test was executed on log‐transformed abundance data to test for significant differences in the mean number of saplings and adults between the Zambezi Valley and the Highveld. Results of the L‐function indicated that Z. mauritiana had a clustered and linear distribution along roads both in the Zambezi Valley and Highveld regions. Results of the t test showed that the mean number of saplings per plot in the Zambezi Valley (μ₁ = 275) was three times higher than in the Highveld (μ₂ = 78), with p < 0.01. The mean number of adult trees was also significantly higher in the Zambezi Valley than in the Highveld.