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Title Soil factors that influence the abundance and distribution of threatened and endangered species in the Okavango Delta; with particular emphasis on Eulophia angolensis

Short title Eulophia angolensis in the Okavango Delta

Author(s) Middleton, S. (1); Mfundisi, K.B. (2); Kurugundla, N. (3)

Presenting author Mfundisi, K.B.

Institution(s) (1) Environmental Sciences Department, University of Botswana, Gaborone; (2) Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre, University of Botswana, Maun; (3) Department of Water Affairs, Maun

Keywords Eulophia angolensis; Okavango Delta; nutrients, endangered species

Abstract Eulophia angolensis is an endangered plant species found in the Okavango Delta. Generally, there is lack of botanical information on this species in Botswana, which is necessary for its in-situ and ex-situ conservation. The objective of this study was to establish soil factors that influence the abundance and distribution of E. angolensis in the Okavango Delta. A survey of the area where the plant was sighted in 2004 was carriedout using recorded GPS points. Soil samples were collected at 0-20cm depth from the floodplain where the species occurred to determine the nutrients (N, P, and K) and soil organic carbon (SOC) contents. A floodplain where the species did not occur was selected as a control site. A new site was discovered for the species. The results from a t-test showed a significant difference in N, P, K and SOC contents between the floodplain where the plant occurred and the control site with (P ≤ 0.05) at 95% confidence interval. Furthermore, there was a significant difference in K within the E. angolensis habitat, with more concentrations directly around the plant. Therefore, E. angolensis needs critical amounts of N, P, K and SOC, with SOC, K and water being the crucial factors.

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Ref. No. 656