Open Access Original Research Article

Population Density and Diversity of Trees on Farmlands in Three Districts of the Upper East Region of Ghana: Implications for Food Security and Ecosystem Sustainability

Stephen Edem Akpalu, Gloria Kukurije Adeyiga, Maurice Kwame Amooh, Dennis Kyereh, Mercy Marilyn Akpalu

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2017/31186

Ghanaian farmers have been practicing farming since time immemorial and trees are a normal component of farmlands. However, the choice of particular tree species and their population on the farms is greatly influenced by the farmers’ preferences and therefore, the utility value placed on particular tree species. This study was conducted to determine the number of trees per unit area of farmland, the diversity of the tree species, and the factors that influence farmers’ decision to leave trees on their farms in three districts of the Upper East region of Ghana. It also seeks to determine any relationship between tree density and the yields of commonly cultivated crops in the study area. The area falls within the Guinea and Sudan savanna zones, characterized by a short unimodal rainfall regime (about 5 months) and a rather long dry season. Twelve communities (4 per district) were randomly selected and farmers were interviewed on their reasons for allowing trees on their farmlands as well as the yields of major crops cultivated. Ten farms in each community were also randomly selected and inventories of trees were conducted, where trees were identified, and enumerated. Farm sizes were also measured. Mean tree population densities on farms were 18.5, 18.4 and 25.9 trees per hectare in the Garu-Tempane, Bawku West and Kassena Nankana West districts respectively. A Shannon Weiner diversity index of 1.563, 1.195 and 1.551 were calculated for Garu-Tempane, Bawku West and Kassena Nankana West districts respectively. Forty-two (42) different tree species belonging to 23 families were encountered in Garu-Tempane district, 28 species from 18 families were encountered in the Bawku West district and 37 species belonging to 21 families in the Kassena Nankana West district. Azadirachta indica, Combretum molle, Diospyros mespiliformis were the commonest on all farms. Factors that influenced farmers’ decision to allow trees on their farms were shade (22%), fuelwood (18%), food (15%), medicine (13%), housing (13%), soil improvement (10%), erosion control (7%), fodder (1%) and others (1%). Crop yields were generally high in the Bawku West district and there was no significant relationship between tree population density and the yields of crops.

Open Access Original Research Article

Consequences of Environmental Stressors on Hematological Parameters, Blood Glucose, Cortisol and Phagocytic Activity of Nile Tilapia Fish

M. M. Zeitoun, K. M. El-Azrak, M. A. Zaki, B. R. Nemat Allah, E. E. Mehana

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2017/29133

Introduction: Under intensive fish culture of Tilapia, there appears to be susceptible various environmental stressors. Stress factors normally reduce growth and damage the biological system of the fish resulting in a great economic loss.

Aims: The study aimed at elucidating effects of lack of feedstuffs, overcrowding and protein deficiency on Tilapia physiology and production.

Study Design: Ninety Tilapia fish, half males and half females were randomly allocated into four treatments [control (C), protein deficiency (P), fasting (F) and overcrowding (O)].

Materials and Methods: Three aquaria were used for each treatment. Each aquarium has 6 fishes except in case of overcrowding each aquarium contained 12 fishes. Treatment lapsed for 30 days in C and P, 21 days for F and 14 days for O. Blood was collected for hematological traits and for biochemical attributes.

Results: There exists significant increase (p<0.05) in MCV values in fishes (males & females) exposed to deprivation of food. Moreover, males exhibited significant high MCV value when they were overcrowded. Mean values for MCV in males were 112.93, 123.45, 118.41 and 121.68 µm3 for C, F, P and O, respectively. Males didn’t express changes in MCH due to treatment. The values for MCH (pg) were; 35.15, 35.45, 34.15 and 35.74 pg for C, F, P and O, respectively. On the other hand, there exist significant (p<0.05) decreases in MCH values in overcrowded and protein deficiency-group. The respective MCH values in females were; 37, 35.05, 34.35 and 34.46 for C, F, P and O, respectively. Percentage of MCHC showed significant decreases (p<0.05) in treated males and females compared with control fish. Values of mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration in males were 31.11, 28.92, 28.98 and 29.42 mg/dl for C, F, P and O, respectively. Similarly in females the respective values were; 30.99, 27.84, 28.16 and 29.21 mg/dl, respectively.

Conclusions: Adverse environmental stressors had negative impacts on different physiological parameters of Tilapia fish causing severe reduction in the productivity and consequent severe economic losses.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effects of Coir Dust Mulch on Evapotranspiration of PH4 Maize in Coastal Region of Kenya

S. M. Muti, A. M. Kibe, W. Nge’tich, E. Muindi

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-16
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2017/29611

Although the Coastal region of Kenya is awash with abundance of moisture bearing South Easterly monsoons, (and therefore tropical rainfall) from the adjacent vast Indian Ocean, heat stress, high velocity wind regimes are major factors limiting crop productivity in the region. Occurrence of these abiotic factors tend to occasion cloud free conditions, high atmospheric demand and vapor pressure deficit that results in increased soil moisture deficit, which more often coincides with critical stages of maize growth resulting in poor maize yields. A 2x3 randomized complete block design experiment was set in 2007 and 2008 seasons at Pwani university farm using PH4 maize variety and coir dust mulch treatments at two levels, with and without mulch, to evaluate effects of coir dust mulch in ameliorating the effects of high temperatures and high velocity wind regimes on soil moisture status. The results showed that PH4 maize evapotranspired at an average rate of 157.5 mm and 151.3 mm per phasic growth stage in non-mulched and coir mulched maize crops, respectively during the relatively wetter season I; and by 156.3 mm and 151.0 mm in non-mulched and coir mulched maize crops, respectively during the relatively drier season II. Coir mulching reduced the average rates of water use per phasic growth stage by 3.9% and 3.4% during the relatively wetter and drier seasons I and II, respectively. The results showed that during the relatively wetter season I, between 534-549.6 mm of soil moisture had to be expended as basal evaporation before any tangible dry matter yields could be obtained, while during the relatively drier season, 167.7-190.1 mm had to be expended. This basal evaporation values represented 48.2% and 17.0% of long rain’s total precipitation during seasons’ I and II, respectively, indicating that much of the received precipitation was not effectively used for grain production, but mainly lost as non-productive component of seasonal evapotranspiration. The results also indicated coir mulching resulted in decreased seasonal evapotranspiration but significantly increased conserved 100 cm-profile soil moisture early in the season, when compared to non-mulched control treatments. This conserved moisture was available later in the season for increased dry matter and grain yields. Coir mulching increased WUE by 8.4%. The study showed that adoption of a simple agronomic practice of applying a 10 cm thick layer of coir dust mulch could increase maize productivity by 10.4% and help improve livelihoods of people in Coastal region.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effects of Farming Activities on the Population of Three Sympatric Species of Guenons in Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, Cross River State, Nigeria

James Oshita Bukie, Vincent Tawo Ebu, Sijeh Agbor Asuk

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2017/30524

A survey was conducted to determine the effects of farming activities on the population of three sympatric species of guenons in Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS), Cross River State, Nigeria. Line transect method was adapted to determine the status and population density of guenons, while plant species composition of the study was determined using the Total Enumeration Count Method of vegetation sampling. Snowball sampling technique was used to administer hundred (100) semi structured questionnaire representing five (5) percent sampling intensity of inhabitants population for collection of information on farming indices. Two censuses were carried out in each of the ten (10) transects (2.0 km length, 0.02 km width) and at interval of 1.0 km randomly selected. Direct method of animal sighting was employed. The three species of guenon monkeys sighted had low mean population densities of 4 / km2. This implied that the population of guenons in the study area was affected, while the vegetation assessment revealed the study area to compose mainly of tropical plants species, though seriously modified through farming activities. More than seventy (70) percent of the respondents were farmers predominantly youths (25 – 35 years) who farm within the sanctuary. This age was considered a threat to wildlife conservation in the study area due to their energetic and restive characteristics. It was therefore recommended that alternative form of employment be provided to the youths to check further encroachment through farming activities.

Open Access Original Research Article

Determination of the Soil Quality Index by Principal Component Analysis in Cocoa Agroforestry System in the Orinoco Region, Colombia

Sergio David Parra-González, Jeisson Rodriguez-Valenzuela

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2017/31346

Soil quality index can be determined by assessing the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. When large datasets are used, redundant information is obtained very often. Therefore, principal component analysis (PCA) is a multivariate method that allows the reduction of datasets, and in this way, it is possible to determine management objectives. This study was carried out in order to obtain a Soil quality index in an agroforestry system of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) and yopo (Anadenanthera peregrine Vell) established in 2012 under Pie de Monte Llanero conditions in the Orinoco Region, Colombia. The properties used to obtain the index were: bulk density, pH in water (1: 1), pH KCl (1: 1), ΔpH, total porosity, drainage porosity, field capacity, available phosphorus, organic matter, clay, silt and sand content, and soil penetration resistance. Using the principal components analysis for this study, the soil quality was: 0.4931, which it can be classified as mean (medium), and this works in function of: BD, O.M, ΔpH, pHh2o and P. Therefore, after determination the sensitive elements of this soil and assess its quality regarding to the AFS applied, it was possible to assume that management strategies and decision making would be addressed towards an appropriate litter production, the improvement of organic matter and management of soil structure.