Regeneration of Mimosa pigra L.following bush clearing and burning in lochinver national park of the Kafue Flats of Zambia

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Nkandu, Brian
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Mimosa pigra has been identified as a serious invasive alien plant that has invaded the floodplain of Lochinvar National Park in the Kafue flats. There has been a challenge in finding an effective method to successfully control Mimosa pigra. This is because when Mimosa pigra is cut, it regenerates rapidly either through seedling emergence or through saplings from severed parts of the plant. The purpose of the study was to investigate the regeneration of Mimosa pigra following bush clearing and burning. The study was conducted in 2009 in Lochinvar National Park, in the southern part of Zambia. The study used a systematic random blocking design in which five transects were randomly established measuring 104 m long x 5 m wide with an inter transect distance of 30 m wide. Each transect consisted of 10 plots of 5 x 5 m sub divided in 1 x 1 m quadrats. Results showed that there was a significant difference in the number of emerging seedlings per square metre among the treatments with p= 0.0017 and F = 4.39. Among all treatments applied on Mimosa pigra the combination of stem cutting, burning and uprooting had the lowest number of seedling emergence, stump resprouts and root resprouts. The treatment was successful in killing both the plant and seeds of Mimosa pigra in the soil seed bank. A comparison of the three modes of regeneration for all treatments investigated showed seedling emergence being the commonest mode of regeneration with a mean value of 604.08 emerging seedlings/m2. The growth pattern of Mimosa pigra showed an exponential increase in length per week, while native plant species returned after the removal of Mimosa pigra. Plant succession after treatment showed appearance of grasses, creepers, herbs and native tree species. The main conclusion of the study was that the method of combining stem cutting, burning and uprooting was most definitive in controlling Mimosa pigra. Although, it would be useful to expand the study in future, these results remain an important element in an effort to regulate the growth of this plant, particularly in areas where the species is in the stage of colonization. Since the plant is resilient and has several ways of regeneration, it is recommended that any control measure of Mimosa pigra should aim at killing the plant and reducing seeds in the soil seed bank.
Mimosa pigra--kafue flats--Zambia , Weeds