Threats to vegetation diversity and habitats Niumi National Park has three resident communities within its boundaries and numerous others on its periphery.
These communities depend to a large degree on resource utilization within the park area. The management of the park is based on the incorporation of the needs and views of the people to arrive at a sustainable approach to land use 37 practices compatible with the objectives of conservation.
The direct human impact on vegetation and habitat includes cultivation, logging and collection of fuelwood, fruits, foliage and inappropriate oyster havesting methods, etc.
Traditional approaches to agriculture were based on leaving land fallow in a rotational system which enabled regeneration of bushland in the intervening years. With increasing populations the demands placed on the land have increased and clearance of agriculture constitutes a significant threat to the plateau areas of the park.
The clearance of land prior to the onset of the rains is typically conducted through the use of fire, which frequently runs out of control.
The impact of fire is most prevalent on forest area where young regeneration is often killed or severely set back and mature trees suffer successive damage.
The impact fire has on forest composition and structure has been studied in depth in the neighbouring Senegalese fathala forest and plateau woodlands (Lykke, 1996) who concluded that fire was probably the most destructive single factor affecting vegetation.
Vegetation types associated with human occupation are profoundly altered and are characterized by a high percentage of introduced species most notably neem trees (Azadirachta indica) which have the habit of forming dense monotypic stands