Topic Editors

Research Center of Plant Diversity, Wuhan Botanical Garden/Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
East African Herbarium, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi 40658-00100, Kenya
School of Life Sciences, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330036, China
Dr. Desalegn Chala
Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
Research Center of Plant Diversity, Wuhan Botanical Garden/Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China

Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa

Abstract submission deadline
closed (31 December 2023)
Manuscript submission deadline
31 March 2024
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7549

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Africa is home to one-fifth of all known mammals, birds and plant species on Earth. It is ranked 8th among the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots. Even though many scientists worldwide are obsessed with Africa’s biodiversity, we must acknowledge the enormous risks and challenges facing Africa's biodiversity under the influence of anthropogenic threat and environmental change. Understanding the composition and ecological preferences of species in the region is the first step to carry out biodiversity conservation. However, in Africa, there are still numerous regions where the species composition, ecological habits, and distribution patterns are not clear. In certain cases, there are even many places where species surveys have never been conducted. Understanding the evolutionary history and coexistence mechanisms of species in Africa can be facilitated by the combination of phylogeny, biogeography, and other knowledge, which can also support the conservation of Africa's biodiversity. In the process of long-term coexistence with nature, many ethnic groups in Africa have accumulated a large amount of traditional ethnic knowledge for the use and protection of biodiversity in many regions, but many of these contents have not been disclosed.

In order to advance the knowledge of African biodiversity and encourage local conservation, this Topic will compile contributions to research on plant biodiversity and conservation in Africa. In this Special Issue, all types of articles (original research papers, reviews, methods papers, opinions, etc.) are welcomed, and the research topics include but are not limited to the following:

1) Species checklist, floristic characteristics, and distribution pattern in biodiversity hotpots areas;

2) Taxonomy, ecology, phylogeny, and biogeography of biological groups;

3) Impact of environmental change on biodiversity and solutions;

4) Traditional ethnic knowledge mining for plant diversity utilization and conservation.

You are cordially invited to submit a manuscript that focuses on one of these issues. Although specific case studies with broad implications are welcome, we encourage authors to submit large-scale and/or multi-specific studies as well as synthesis works to this Special Issue. Review articles and multidisciplinary studies are particularly encouraged. Please contact us if you have any questions about this position or are interested in this opportunity.

Dr. Shengwei Wang
Dr. Veronicah Mutele Ngumbau
Dr. Yadong Zhou
Dr. Desalegn Chala
Prof. Dr. Guangwan Hu
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • taxonomy
  • checklist
  • ethnobotany
  • phylogeny
  • phylogeography
  • geographical pattern
  • ecology
  • evolution
  • conservation

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Biology
biology
4.2 4.0 2012 18.7 Days CHF 2700 Submit
Diversity
diversity
2.4 3.1 2009 17.8 Days CHF 2600 Submit
International Journal of Plant Biology
ijpb
- 1.1 2010 14.4 Days CHF 1200 Submit
Plants
plants
4.5 5.4 2012 15.3 Days CHF 2700 Submit
Taxonomy
taxonomy
- - 2021 45.2 Days CHF 1000 Submit
Ecologies
ecologies
- - 2020 19.8 Days CHF 1000 Submit

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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18 pages, 1884 KiB  
Article
Practice and Biodiversity of Informal Ornamental Horticulture in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Ecologies 2024, 5(1), 83-100; https://doi.org/10.3390/ecologies5010006 - 08 Feb 2024
Viewed by 327
Abstract
Biodiversity conservation is a key factor in meeting sustainable development goals. This is even more important in cities, where green spaces are becoming increasingly scarce. This study analyzes Kinshasa’s proliferating ornamental plant nurseries, known as informal horticultural sites (IHSs). The analysis focused on [...] Read more.
Biodiversity conservation is a key factor in meeting sustainable development goals. This is even more important in cities, where green spaces are becoming increasingly scarce. This study analyzes Kinshasa’s proliferating ornamental plant nurseries, known as informal horticultural sites (IHSs). The analysis focused on characterizing the profile of horticulturists, their production conditions, and the ornamental species produced. A total of 15 IHSs were sampled using the “snowball” technique, and 178 horticulturists were surveyed. Based on the socio-professional profile of the horticulturists, five groups of IHS are distinguished after a hierarchical clustering of principal components (HCPC). We found that IHSs exclusively employed men, most of whom were new to the trade, from all levels of education, and most of whom ranged from 19 to 45 years old. Production conditions are relatively similar from one site to another. However, all IHSs are characterized by permanent land insecurity, the use of phytosanitary products, plant-conditioning methods that are not very diversified and calibrated to growers’ investment capacities, and diversified seed acquisition methods. A total of 139 ornamental species, most of them exotic, were identified. Of these, 37% are phanerophytes, and 24% are considered potentially invasive. We suggest ways of professionalizing the activity and protecting the urban environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa)
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22 pages, 1568 KiB  
Article
Polyherbal Combinations Used by Traditional Health Practitioners against Mental Illnesses in Bamako, Mali, West Africa
Plants 2024, 13(3), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13030454 - 04 Feb 2024
Viewed by 397
Abstract
This study explores the traditional knowledge of plants used by traditional health practitioners (THPs) in the treatment of symptoms or syndromes related to mental illnesses in the district of Bamako in Mali, along with the identification of affiliated traditional treating methods. An exploratory [...] Read more.
This study explores the traditional knowledge of plants used by traditional health practitioners (THPs) in the treatment of symptoms or syndromes related to mental illnesses in the district of Bamako in Mali, along with the identification of affiliated traditional treating methods. An exploratory and cross-sectional ethnopharmacological survey was conducted in the district of Bamako. The Malian Federation of Associations of Therapists and Herbalists (FEMATH) assisted in the identification and inclusion of the THPs. Data sampling included semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and in-depth interviews. Quantitative data were evaluated by analysing reports of the use of different medicinal plants and the number of participants. Fifteen THPs belonging to the district of Bamako participated. In total, 43 medicinal plants belonging to 22 plant families were used by the THPs. The most cited plant species was Securidaca longepedunculata (violet tree), followed by Khaya senegalensis (African mahogany) and Boscia integrifolia (rough-leaved shepherds tree). A great number of herbal combinations, preparation methods, and administration routes were used, often with honey as an adjuvant. To our knowledge, this is the first ethnobotanical survey on the use of medicinal plants in the treatment of all types of mental disorders in Bamako. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa)
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11 pages, 1174 KiB  
Article
Population Structure of an African Cycad: Fire May Stimulate the Coning Phenology of Encephalartos lanatus (Zamiaceae) and Also Predispose Its Cones to Damage
Diversity 2023, 15(10), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15101075 - 10 Oct 2023
Viewed by 936
Abstract
Cycads are the most threatened group in the plant kingdom. Fire is identified as one of the major factors heightening cycad extinction risk. However, compared to South American cycads, we know little about how fire negatively affects the demography of African cycads. Here, [...] Read more.
Cycads are the most threatened group in the plant kingdom. Fire is identified as one of the major factors heightening cycad extinction risk. However, compared to South American cycads, we know little about how fire negatively affects the demography of African cycads. Here, we collected a snapshot of demographic data on the largest known population of South Africa’s cycad species, Encephalartos lanatus, in unburnt and regularly burnt habitats. We fitted several statistical models to investigate the effects of fire on the population structure of E. lanatus. First, we found that the population follows a ‘J’ structure with more adults than any other life stage. Contrary to popular belief, this ‘J’ structure may not necessarily imply the future of the population is at risk, given that E. lanatus is a long-lived species. Second, we found that the abundance of adults explains 25% of the abundance of seedlings but does not predict the abundance of suckers, perhaps suggesting the adults ensure preferential seedling rather than clonal recruitment. Third, irrespective of life stages, the subpopulation in fire-prone habitats is, in term of size, proportionately lower than the subpopulation in unburnt areas, suggesting that fire may negatively affect the dynamic of the population. However, fire is not linked to differences in sex ratio across the population; not only do fire-prone subpopulations have more cones, but they also tend to have more damaged cones than unburnt populations. Overall, although we raised some limitations of the present study, we also inferred that fire may shape the observed ‘J’ structure of the population of E. lanatus, but, contrary to traditional belief, the ‘J’ structure is not enough to raise concern about the future of the population. A population dynamics study is required to determine if the future of the population is at risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa)
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12 pages, 662 KiB  
Article
Seeding African Forest and Landscape Restoration: Evaluating Native Tree Seed Systems in Four African Countries
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090981 - 30 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1382
Abstract
Commitments to Forest and Landscape Restoration are rapidly growing and being implemented globally to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. Restoration initiatives largely based on tree planting necessitate an increased supply of high-quality and suitably adapted tree planting material. We evaluated the native [...] Read more.
Commitments to Forest and Landscape Restoration are rapidly growing and being implemented globally to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. Restoration initiatives largely based on tree planting necessitate an increased supply of high-quality and suitably adapted tree planting material. We evaluated the native tree seed supply systems in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, and Kenya, four countries with large commitments to increase tree cover. We applied an established indicator framework to assess the adequacy of any current tree seed system to meet national needs. The study aimed to analyse (i) how well-established the native tree seed supply systems are, (ii) how public and non-public actors differ regarding the perception of existing seed systems, and (iii) the main barriers to strengthening current seed systems. Our findings identified significant gaps in the native tree seed supply systems of the four countries, arising particularly from shortfalls in the enabling environment. We found a lack of involvement of local community members in the seed systems, with a crucial need for strengthening policy, capacity building and investment in seed systems. We propose a multi-stakeholder approach and the application of online tools to improve seed systems to meet the demand for high-quality native tree seeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa)
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18 pages, 808 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Diffuse Land-Use on Plant Diversity Patterns in the Miombo Woodlands of Western Zambia
Diversity 2023, 15(6), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15060739 - 03 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1144
Abstract
Land use is known to influence the diversity of vascular plants in the Miombo woodlands. However, little is known about the interaction between soil and land use in herbaceous and woody species. We compared the diversity of vascular plants at the plot level [...] Read more.
Land use is known to influence the diversity of vascular plants in the Miombo woodlands. However, little is known about the interaction between soil and land use in herbaceous and woody species. We compared the diversity of vascular plants at the plot level (20 m × 50 m) and site level for three sites in the Miombo woodlands of western Zambia subject to different levels of intensity classes of diffuse land use (e.g., livestock herbivory and selective timber harvesting). For each of the sites, twenty plots were randomly selected for assessment of species composition of vascular plant species, indicators of land-use intensity, and soil chemistry per plot. We hypothesized that the site with the lowest human impact would have the highest richness and diversity of woody and herbaceous species. At the site level, we found that richness and diversity of woody species were unaffected by land-use intensity, whereas herbaceous species richness was higher for the protected site (28 species on average per 1000 m2) than the two other sites (23 and 21 species on average per 1000 m2). At the plot level, herbaceous species richness was positively associated with woodcutting and soil pH. We interpret the positive effect of woodcutting on herbaceous species richness as the effect of lower competition by the woody component for resources such as water, nutrients, and light. With regard to the absence of any effect of land-use intensity on the richness of woody species, we conclude that in our study areas selective timber harvesting may be at a sustainable level and might even have a positive effect on the diversity of the herbaceous layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa)
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11 pages, 6220 KiB  
Review
Contributions to the Flora of Tropical East Africa
Plants 2023, 12(6), 1336; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12061336 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2053
Abstract
Tropical East Africa (TEA) is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the planet. Its rich flora diversity and inventory have been clearly recognized after the publication of the last volume of the Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA) in 2012. However, [...] Read more.
Tropical East Africa (TEA) is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the planet. Its rich flora diversity and inventory have been clearly recognized after the publication of the last volume of the Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA) in 2012. However, many new and newly recorded taxa have been named and documented since the publication of the first volume of FTEA in 1952. In this study, we comprehensively compiled new taxa and new records by reviewing the literature on the taxonomic contributions of vascular plants in TEA from 1952 to 2022. Our list includes 444 new and newly recorded species belonging to 81 families and 218 genera. Among these taxa, 94.59% of the plants are endemic to TEA and 48.42% are herbs. Additionally, members of Rubiaceae and Aloe are the most numerous family and genus respectively. These new taxa are unevenly distributed in TEA, but are found mainly in areas of high species richness, such as coastal, central and western areas of Kenya, central and southeastern Tanzania. This study offers summative assessment of the newly recorded flora inventory in TEA and provides recommendations for future research on plant diversity survey and conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Diversity and Conservation of Flora in Africa)
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