Impact of Wine Tapping on the Population Structure and Regeneration of Hyphaene petersiana Klotzsch ex Mart. in Northern Botswana
Palms are tapped around the world as sources of sugars for fermentation. A comparison of tapped and untapped populations of Hyphaene petersiana Klotsch ex Mart. palm trees was conducted in northern Botswana. The objectives of the study were to: determine the densities, dominances, population structures and regeneration of natural palm stands. Social objectives of the study included assessment of preferred tree sizes for wine tapping, investigation of methods, frequency and processes involved in the wine tapping, and marketing of the tapped palm wine. The results revealed a significant difference in the mean total density of the species at the two study sites (Shorobe with 2,275 individuals/ha and Tubu with 1,402 individuals/ha). Total seed densities at Tubu (6,822/ha) and Shorobe (62/ha) were dramatically different. Mean total dominance (basal area) was significantly higher at Tubu than Shorobe where wine tapping is common. The species exhibited a pattern indicative of hampered population structures/regeneration at both sites. In Shorobe, the hampered regeneration can be attributed mainly to wine tapping associated with cutting down the trees. Palm wine tappers used destructive methods such as burning, felling, pruning and trimming the stem. The results revealed that the methods of wine tapping employed negatively impacted the population structure.
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