Entandrophragma bussei Harms ex Engl. (wooden banana) is an important indigenous multipurpose tree species endemic to Tanzania. The species has a long history of human use but recent increased utilization pressure, deforestation and high mortality rate of seedlings threaten the survival of natural populations in the wilderness. Therefore, to facilitate domestication, two experimental studies were conducted to evaluate variations in seed germination and seedling growth of three wild populations at the Directorate of Tree Seed Production Laboratories in Morogoro, Tanzania. Germination percentage, mean germination rate, final germination rate and germination index varied significantly among the populations. In terms of seedling growth there was a significant difference in number of leaves among the populations at 3 months of age. The number of course roots and seedling shoot fresh weight varied significantly among the studied populations at 10 months of age. Ruaha population had the highest survival (56%) followed by Kigwe (41%) and Tarangire being the last (36%). The two experiments have clearly demonstrated the existence of considerable variation in germination and seedling growth traits in E. bussei. These traits may prove to be important tools for selection of suitable seed sources for domestication and tree improvement programmes.
Part of the book: Vegetation Index and Dynamics