Pinus roxburghii (chir-pine) and Quercus leucothchophora (banj-oak) are dominant forests of mountainous part of the Uttarakhand Himalaya. The continued anthropogenic disturbance is opening the canopy, forming canopy gaps and as a result forest fragments are developing. Thus, the present study aims to analyze variations in species richness and vegetational parameters in relation to canopy gaps in forests. Total species richness was greater in open canopied forest compared to moderate and close canopied forests. In comparison between oak and pine forest, it was greater in oak forest while the proportion of common species was low between oak—pine forests. Mean species richness did not significantly vary from one canopy gap to another as well as in oak and pine dominated forest. This indicated that dominant forest types played an important role to form the community structure. The shrubs richness were greater in closed canopy and between the forests it was greater in pine forest. Tree and shrub density was low in open canopy while herb density was high in moderate canopy. Thus, this study indicated that the dominant canopy species play an important role in deciding the community structures especially the distribution of under canopy species. These parameters should be considered for conservation and maintenance of plant biodiversity of a region.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 27, 2012
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