Forest structure, diversity and regeneration potential along altitudinal gradient in Dhanaulti of Garhwal Himalaya

Sushil Saha, Govind-Singh Rajwar, Munesh Kumar


Aim of the study: The aim of the present study was to understatnd the forest composition, structure, diversity and regeneration potential along altitudinal gradient.

Area of study: The study was carried out in Dhanaulti forest which falls under temperate region of Garhwal Himalaya in Uttarakhand state, India.

Material and Methods: Vegetation analysis was carried out using 10 quadrats at each altitude using a quadrate size of 10×10 m2. In each quadrate, categories of trees >30 cm cbh were considered as trees, 10-30cm cbh as saplings and <10 cm cbh as seedlings. The data were quantitatively analyzed.

Main results: In upper and middle altitudes, Cedrus deodara was reported dominant tree whereas, in lower altitude Quercus leucotrichophora was reported dominant. Tree density was highest in lower altitude which reduced middle and upper altitudes whereas, total basal cover increased with increasing altitude. The increasing total basal cover with altitude could be because of the presence of Cedrus deodara trees having higher girth classes. In tree, sapling and seedling layers, diversity (H) and equitabiltiy (EC) decreased with increasing altitude. However, concentrations of dominace (CD) and beta diversity (BD have shown reverse trend with H and EC which increased with increasing altitudes, in each layer of tree, sapling and seedling.

The distribution pattern of most species in all layers of trees, saplings and seedlings was contagious. The regeneration potential of the species has shown that some of the species in the absence of tree layer are still regenerating particularly, Rhododendron arboreum, Benthamidia capitata, Neolitsea pallens etc. It indicates that most of the species are shifting upward as they are getting suitable conditions.

Research highlights: Altitude influence species composition, diversity and regeneration potential of species.

Key words: Distribution pattern; tree diversity; regeneration; mountains; temperate; Himalaya. 

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2016252-07432