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Tree Population Dynamics in a Low Elevation Evergreen Forest in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India

U.M. Chabdrashekara

Abstract


Forest dynamics were studied for trees > 10.1 cm gbh in a 0.5 ha plot in a low elevation evergreen forest at Sivapuram in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. The plot, established and inventoried for trees in 2000 and resurveyed in 2010, represented a fresh-water swamp forest dominated by Knema attenuata, Myristica malabarica, Holigarna arnottiana, Polyalthia fragrans and Hopea parviflora during both censuses. During the 10-year interval the tree species composition did not change and the overall changes in total stem density and basal area were small. Girth class distribution of trees showed a negative exponential pattern in both 2000 and 2010 and did not differ significantly between the two study periods. The arboreal community of the sampled plot found to be stable and dynamic as indicated by the mortality, recruitment rates, and consequently those of half-life and duplication period, are approximately balanced. The mortality of stem was size-dependent with higher values for density and basal area mortality rate in larger stems > 120.1 cm gbh due to natural death of old trees. Density and basal area recruitment were comparatively high in girth classes 10.1- 30.0 cm and 30.1 -60.0 cm respectively. These attributes suggest that the study area has remained in good condition since monitoring began in 2000.

Keywords


Forest Dynamics; Freshwater Swamp Forest; Permanent Plot; Tree Basal Area; Tree Density; Tropical Forest

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