Yusuf R. Simba, Abel M. Kamweya, Peter N. Mwangi, John M. Ochora
Abstract: Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) is an exotic plant considered a serious problem in protected ecosystems globally. Despite this, information about its impact on native plant species in Nairobi National Park is limited yet its invasion is an important conservation and management challenge. We tested the impact by randomly sampling plant species in invaded and un-invaded sites of the park using Modified Whittaker plot design. Two sample t-test results on Shannon diversity values of plant species sampled from invaded (H' = 3.592) and un-invaded (H' = 4.003) riverine indicated significant variations (t121 = 2.01; p = 0.047) but no significant differences were recorded on data of plant species sampled from invaded and un-invaded shrub-grassland and forest (p < 0.05). However, the results showed that the un-invaded riverine and shrub-grassland were more diverse and abundant in species richness. The sites were also more homogenous in spatial distribution of native species compared to the invaded ones. The results of this study suggest that Lantana camara has remarkable negative impact on native plant species and may gradually reduce the endemic species which are the main source of forage and browse for the herbivores in the conservancy.
Keywords: Impact, Forage, Invasive plants, Conservation, Understory