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What is forest?

  • J. B. Hall
  • M. D. Swaine
Part of the Geobotany book series (GEOB, volume 1)

Abstract

Two main kinds of vegetation cover the surface of Ghana: forest and savanna; these, and the various formations into which they may be subdivided were defined at a Pan-African conference at Yangambi (C.S.A. 1956), and more recently by UNESCO (1973). Forest is dominated by trees at least 5 m high, whose crowns interlock, and lacks a continuous grassy ground layer. The crowns of trees in savanna are separated, or trees may be absent; there is always a seasonally dense understorey of grasses. Taxonomic distinctions are also important. Very few plant species occur naturally in both kinds of vegetation — notable exceptions are the trees Afzelia africana and Diospyros mespiliformis. The grasses which flourish in forest — such as Leptaspis cochleata and Olyra latifolia — are not found in savanna, and the grass tribe Andropogoneae which is so abundant in savanna is absent from forest. Both the Yangambi and the UNESCO classifications recognise a third formation-type — woodland — as intermediate between forest and savanna.

Keywords

Secondary Forest Forest Reserve Forest Zone Outer Bark Secondary Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Hall
    • 1
  • M. D. Swaine
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana

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