Quarry dust emission effects on tree species diversity in chongoni forest reserve and vegetation characteristics in adjacent villages, dedza, Malawi

Quarrying dust is one of the air pollutants and is reported to have adverse effects on human health and alters plant community structure. A study was conducted to investigate the effects of quarrying dust emission on the tree species diversity and vegetation characteristics in Chongoni Forest Reserve and adjacent villages in Dedza, Malawi. An inventory on tree species diversity was carried out within a ground distance of 0–1km from the quarrying site into the reserve at an increasing distance of 250m (0–250m; 250–500m; 500-750m; 750–1000m). Leaves of five common plant species in four adjacent villages, located at 0 to 4km from the quarrying site were collected and brought to the laboratory for analysis. The results show that tree species diversity and chlorophyll content increased at an increasing ground distance away from the quarrying site with high tree species diversity index and evenly distributed individual tree species at 750-1000m as 3.25 to 3.20 from 0-alpha to infinity. Low chlorophyll content of common plants species was observed at Jonathan village, which is 0 km away from the quarrying site, as (13.01±0.16), (17.08±0.15), (8.72±0.16), (14.21±0.15) and (9.86±0.15) mg/g/dry-weight for Brachystegia spiciformis, Eucalyptus grandis, Mangifera indica, Prunus persica and Psidium guajava, respectively. There were significant (P<0.001) differences on chlorophyll content and dust retaining capacity on common plant species growing in the adjacent villages to the quarrying site. Eucalyptus grandis had the highest chlorophyll content and also showed a high dust retaining capacity as (34.01±0.19) mg/g/dry-weight and (1.21±0.03) mg/cm2 respectively.It is therefore, recommended that in the study area there is a need to develop green belt to restrict spreading of quarrying dust for the betterment of the environment and human being and Eucalyptus grandis may be very significant for using as green belt surroundings of the study quarrying site.

Edward Missanjo, Edina Ndalama, Dalirani Sikelo and Gift Kamanga-Thole
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