Climatic and soil integrant that drive forest tree species diversity and distribution across cross-river state, Nigeria


  • Patrick Ishoro Akwaji Department of Plant and Ecological Studies, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
  • Glory Nicholas Oden Department of Plant and Ecological Studies, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
  • Dough Owojoku Onah Department of Plant and Ecological Studies, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
  • Ekeng Ita Okon Department of Plant Sciences and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Cross River University of Technology, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
  • Linus Bashie Ajikah Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI), East Campus, Cnr. Jorrissen & Yale Rds. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Dominic Awam Mowang Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria


Forest ecosystem, Ecological conditions, MaxEnt model, Principal component analysis


Awareness of the ecological needs of forest tree species is a necessity for effective and tenable forest management, conservation and restoration. Our study used the modified Whittaker sampling method to assess the diversity and distribution of forest tree species at twenty-two forest sites across northern, central, and southern Cross River State, Nigeria, and to analyse climatic and soil integrant that drive the diversity and distribution of tree species in forests. Only tree species with dbh ≥ 30 cm were identified and recorded. Tree species occurrence points were also marked using Global Positioning System (GPS) software. Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) species distribution model and principal component analysis (PCA) for each zone were used to study climate and soil integrant that drive forest tree species diversity and distribution, respectively. The results of the survey revealed a great diversity of tree species in the forests, as 398 species belonging to 64 families were recorded. The maxEnt model established six climatic integrants that drive forest tree species diversity and distribution across Cross River State. These are ‘BIO 3 – isothermality’, ‘BIO 4 - temperature seasonality’, ‘BIO 7 - annual temperature range’, ‘BIO 12 - annual precipitation’, ‘BIO 16 - precipitation of wettest quarter’, and BIO 17 - precipitation of driest quarter. PCA revealed that the soil in the northern zone had seven main integrants (iron, Available Phosphorus, manganese, exchangeable cations, silicon, Hydrogen ion and organic matter); ten in the central zone (zinc, organic matter, iron, Total Nitrogen, Sodium, boron, clay, soil pH, exchangeable acids and silicon); and nine in the southern zone (sand, silt, Organic Carbon, Manganese, Hydrogen ion, Calcium, cation exchangeable capacity, Potassium and clay) that drive species diversity and distribution. Our findings can be used as rudimentary details for managing forest and ecosystem preservation at all levels and, characteristically, for forest conservation across Cross River State, Nigeria. 


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How to Cite

Ishoro Akwaji, P., Nicholas Oden, G. ., Owojoku Onah, D. ., Ita Okon, E. ., Bashie Ajikah, L. ., & Awam Mowang, D. . (2023). Climatic and soil integrant that drive forest tree species diversity and distribution across cross-river state, Nigeria. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(1), 233–267. Retrieved from