Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Diversity, use and management of household-located fruit trees in two rapidly developing towns in southeastern D.R. Congo.

Abstract

Recently, the growing need to complement rural and foreign sources of food and woodfuel is driving interest in urban forestry management in medium cities. The present study was designed to characterize the diversity of fruit trees in households of two rapidly developing cities in southeastern DR Congo (Lubumbashi and Kolwezi), and shed light on the sociological aspects of their management. Analyses of data collected through surveys carried out in planned and unplanned neighborhoods revealed noticeable botanical differences between the two neighborhoods within cities. In Lubumbashi, a greater number of fruit trees (6.5) and species (5.7) per 1000 m2 was recorded in the unplanned neighborhood compared to the planned neighborhood (3.4 trees and 2.0 species). A similar trend was noted in Kolwezi, although with significantly reduced values (by more than half). Across the two cities, a total of 36 fruit trees species were listed, of which 8 were exclusively identified in unplanned neighborhoods of Lubumbashi, showing a comparatively greater species richness of the city. Coincidentally, the 8 specific species are characteristic of Miombo woodland, suggesting preexistence of Miombo vegetation in these areas. Overall, the listed flora of studied neighborhoods in the two cities is dominated by exotic species, with Rutaceae the most represented family. Straightforward differences in the use of fruit trees were noted between the two cities; medicinal uses stand out in Lubumbashi, whereas uses such as shading and properties boundary predominate in Kolwezi. As common trend in the two cities, however, fruit trees scarcely receive arboricultural care, partly explained by limited knowledge on the ecological requirements of fruit trees. Current results have provided important insights into the botanical richness of fruit trees and related sociological aspects of their management at household-scale, which may help in formulating guidelines and technical tools to assessing and monitoring urban forestry in Southeastern DR Congo.