Soil seed banks play an important role in tropical rainforest regeneration. Regeneration potentials of 5 sacred groves (Igbo-Ile, Igbo-Oba, Igbo-Olua, Igbo Olodumare, Igbo-Gbopo) in the three states of southwestern Nigeria were purposively selected and assessed. On each site, a representative 50m x 50m plot labeled with pegs, where viable seeds bank was sampled. On each plot, ten randomly located subplots of 1m x 1m were sampled using a soil auger. Then the samples were kept inside screen house and watered regularly. The result revealed a total of 1,870 seedlings found in the five sacred groves. The highest number of germinated seeds was found in Igbo-Olodumare (538 seedlings), followed by Igbo-Gbopo (416 seedlings), Igbo-Oba (340 seedlings), Igbo-Olua (331 seedlings) and the least in Igbo-Ile (245 seedlings). Shannon diversity Index ranged from 2.203 to 2.526 with high diversity index recorded in Igbo-Olodumare (2.526). A total of 21 families (42 plant species) were found in the study areas. Cucurbitaceae was found to be dominant family and Chromolaena odorata had the highest frequency of 310. Simpson Similarity between the sacred groves varied from 0.872 to 0.997. High similarity value was recorded between Igbo-Ile and Igbo-Gbopo (0.997), while low similarity was found between Igbo-Oba and Igbo-Olodumare (0.872). Dialium guineense and Spondias mombin were tree species encountered in all the sacred groves. The regeneration potentials of these sacred groves was generally poor. Comparison of the soil seed bank in other sacred groves would be useful in suggesting restoration measures for the sacred groves.
Key Words: Seed bank, Soil, Scared grove, regeneration, Igbo-Ile, Igbo-Oba, Igbo-Olua, Igbo Olodumare, Igbo-Gbopo