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2Laboratory of Plant Biology: Higher Teachers’ Training College, University of Yaoundé I; P. O. Box. 47, Yaoundé, Cameroon
3Department of plant Biology: Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé I; P. O. Box. 812 Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The aim of this study is to describe the spatial heterogeneity of the vegetation of the Rio del Rey estuary in the South-West of Cameroon by identifying and characterizing their plant communities. The study also highlights the sociological organization of the forest and contributes to knowledge on the phytosociology of Cameroon’s forest ecosystems, which is still fragmentary. The analyses are based on data collected from 14 phytosociological plots in Rio del Rey estuary forest and from measurements of tree diameter at breast height or under for the bushes, along these transects. An area of 0.5 ha was inventoried per sampling of 25×200 m plots, of a total area 7 ha. Ligneous plants (1 cm ≤ diameter) were inventoried: 15 vascular species, 11 genera and 11 families were recorded; 1 herbaceous species; 10227 shrubs 1≤dbh10 cm than those of 10cm ≤ dbh. The minimal area was reached at 5 ha inventoried. For the ligneous plants, stem density was 2758 stems ha-1 and basal area 412.7m2ha-1. Species diversity as measured by Shannon diversity index was 1.81. Three species were common and widely distributed among 13 over 15 (86.6%) sampling forests. Rhizophora racemosa is the species having the strongest IVI value (95.72) and Rhizophoraceae, the family having the highest FIV value (171.11). The forest is marked by the abundance of the Rhizophoraceae, Avicenniaceae, Meliaceae and Combretaceae. Four plant communities were identified and characterized and their higher taxa classified. The water salinity clearly influences the biological diversity of the plant communities; however, the heterogeneity of the vegetation seems to correspond to local soil submersion phenomena in the same vegetation context.