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GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 2021, VOL. 5, NO. 1, 7–18 INWASCON https://doi.org/10.1080/24749508.2019.1696157 RESEARCH ARTICLE Changes in tree diversity and carbon stock over a decade in two Indian tropical dry evergreen forests a,b a a K. Naveen Babu , Biswajit Harpal and N. Parthasarathy a b Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India; Department of Ecology, French Institute of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 13 May 2019 Repeated and continuous monitoring of changes in a habitat provides a platform to investigate Accepted 14 August 2019 concurrent variation in the structure, species composition, and function of a forest. We assessed tree diversity and carbon stock changes in two Indian tropical dry evergreen forest (TDEF) sites namely KEYWORDS Sendhirakillai (SK) and Palvathunnan (PT) after 10-year time scale. Two 1-ha plots were delimited one Re-census; forest dynamics; in each disturbed and undisturbed site in 2007 and re-measurements were undertaken in 2017. long-term monitoring; Over the sampling period, species richness showed little variation in both the sites. Out of 38 species anthropogenic pressure; identiﬁed, 26 species decreased in abundance, nine increased, and three remained unchanged. conservation A total of 860 trees were lost from both the sites in 10-year interval. Site PT witnessed maximum loss (44% – 559 stems). Tree species density, basal area, and carbon stocks decreased tremendously in all girth classes at site PT. Total biomass and carbon stocks were decreased by 42% in site PT and conversely, they increased by 9% in site SK. The substantial diﬀerence noticed between the two sites highlights the impact of human disturbance and the need for periodical biodiversity assessment through re-census in Indian TDEFs and also in similar global dry tropical forests. Introduction a small disturbance could result in a notable change in the global carbon cycle (as in Pandian & Parthasarathy, Climate change, habitat loss, and diminishing biodiver- 2016). Thus, accurate data on carbon stocks and the ﬂux sity are the key threats we now face in the 21st century. in tropical forests are necessary to understand how the On the other hand, international communities with dynamics of tropical trees respond to global anthropo- a series of initiatives are trying to protect the biodiversity genic disturbances (Wright, 2005). and carbon stock (Van de Perre et al., 2018). Tropical Monitoring long-term changes in forest structure and forests are biologically rich, and diverse ecosystems on tree species composition in an ecosystem is necessary for the planet earth store vast amount of carbon that an assessment of its response to climate change and is also accounts for more than 80% of the carbon stored in essential for understanding the vegetation and carbon terrestrial vegetation (Thakur, Swamy, Bijalwan, & dynamics and conservation need. Such studies will Dobriyal, 2019) and the global forest carbon stock that allow the researchers to address key questions such as is estimated to be 861 ± 66 Pg C with 30% in soil, 42% in changes in forest structure and composition, richness, above- and belowground biomass, 10% in dead wood, and the extent of biomass or carbon that could be stored and 5% in litter (Pan et al., 2011). Tropical forests are over a period of time. The permanent research plots disappearing at an alarming rate due to multiple reasons ranging from smaller (0.1 ha) to larger (several 1 ha) including land use and related pressures, deforestation, with permanently tagged tree individuals in a habitat forest fragmentation, CO emissions, invasive species, give an opportunity to study the forest and tree dynamics overexploitation of resources, and climate change. More in given space and time (Ayyappan & Parthasarathy, than 50% of the original tropical forest cover has been lost 2001). Inventorying and re-inventorying the same plot due to land-use activities and few other environmental at periodicity would yield data invaluable for conserva- changes leading to high greenhouse gas emissions and tion. Long-term monitoring can also help in generating rapid loss of species (Pyles, Prado-Junior, Magnano, quantitative data and assessing the possible consequences Paula, & Meira-Neto, 2018). During 2000–2005, a net of anthropogenic changes in tropics. Forest dynamics loss of 8 million ha per year was reported from the studies across the tropics employing permanent plots tropical forests due to deforestation coupled with human- reveal signiﬁcant changes in the rates of tree growth, triggered impacts (FAO & JRC, 2012). Similarly between mortality, recruitment, and also in the structure cum 1980s and 1990s with peak deforestation, 50% of tropical function of mature tropical forests (Rees, Condit, forests disappeared (Wright, 2005). Therefore, even Crawley, Pacala, & Tilman, 2001). CONTACT N. Parthasarathy, email@example.com Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry 605014, India © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the International Water, Air & Soil Conservation Society(INWASCON). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 8 K. NAVEEN BABU ET AL. In tropics, dry forests constitute a little lower than half Palvathunnan (PT). The study sites SK and PT lie of the world’s tropical and subtropical forests. Regardless between 11°30ʹN and 79°41ʹE along the stretch of of their pervasiveness, these forests remain among the Coromandel Coast in Cuddalore district of Tamil most threatened and overlooked tropical ecosystems in Nadu, India (Figure 1). Vegetation of this region is the world (Sunderland et al., 2015) and pressure for land, characterized as tropical dry evergreen forest (TDEF; changeover to pasture, agriculture, and timber extraction Type 7/CI of Champion & Seth, 1968) that occurs as aresomeofthe keythreats indicating humaninﬂuence patches, basically short-statured (8–12 m), mostly on these forested ecosystems (Chavan, Reddy, Rao, & three-layered, tree-dominated, and liana-dense forests Rao, 2018). Almost 60% of forests in India consist of dry with scanty ground ﬂora (Parthasarathy et al., 2008) forests (Waeber, Ramesh, Parthasarathy, Pulla, & Garcia, and degraded to thorny scrub in few areas. Forest 2012) among which tropical dry evergreen forests are cover is about 3 ha and 1.4 ha, respectively at sites unique forest type restricted to Coromandel Coast and SK and PT and are proximal to human settlements. Eastern Ghats. Tropical dry evergreen forests (TDEFs) Site SK is a tall-statured, 3-layered forest with diverse are both ecologically and economically valued ecosys- medium and large trees in upper and middle stories, tems across the world, restricted to certain geographical whereas site PT harbors a short-statured, 2-layered regions (see Parthasarathy, Selwyn, & Udayakumar, forest with plentiful young stems in the lower story. 2008). Although these occur as small fragments, they The soils are alluvial and ferrallitic sandy loam belong- are reported to provide a suitable habitat for ing to the Miocene Cuddalore sandstone formation asigniﬁcant number of species (see Parthasarathy, (Meher-Homji, 1974). The mean annual temperature Vivek, & Anil, 2015). Indian TDEFs are also well studied and rainfall for both sites are 28.85° and 1184 mm, for biodiversity and ecological aspects, but only few respectively. The mean number of rainy days in the studies have considered vegetation changes at an interval annual cycle is 55.5. The climate is tropical dissym- of 10 years (Baithalu, Anabarashan, & Parthasarathy, metric having two distinctive seasons in a year: the 2012, 2013; Mani & Parthasarathy, 2009; Pandian & long dry season (6–8 months) and the short rainy Parthasarathy, 2016; Venkateswaran & Parthasarathy, season. April, May, and June are the hottest months. 2005). Furthermore, changes with respect to above- Maximum rainfall occurs from October to December ground biomass are very few (Mani & Parthasarathy, due to the northeast monsoon. Both the study sites are 2009; Pandian & Parthasarathy, 2016), and carbon stocks prone to various anthropogenic disturbances but they have not been quantiﬁed yet. Given the fact that the diﬀer in their degree of disturbance (PT – highly TDEFs are unique in terms of geographical distribution disturbed and SK – less disturbed). with an estimation of 4–5% of the original cover and the disturbance is progressing at higher levels in most of the Plot re-census and carbon stock estimation sitesresultedinlossof30% of tree densityinlasttwo decades (Parthasarathy et al., 2015). Despite their impor- During December 2006–January 2007, two 1 ha plots tance, the religious beliefs and rituals associated with were delimited: one in each site, SK and PT conservation of sacred groves are now rapidly eroding, (Anbarashan & Parthasarathy, 2008), and tree inven- which ultimately made many sacred groves to get tory (initial) was carried out within the 100 m × 100 m depleted at higher rate. Hence, this study was aimed to square plot that was further sub-divided into one- generate a robust data on long-term monitoring to hundred 10 m × 10 m continuous subplots wherein address the changes to the forest landscape and its carbon all trees ≥10 cm in girth were measured at breast sequestration potential for conserving these patches. The height (1.3 m; GBH). In case of trees with multi- speciﬁc objectives of this research were to (1) assess the stems, their girth was measured individually and changes to the tree community within the two TDEFs basal area was calculated and added up. During sites between 2007 and 2017, in view of elucidating January 2018, we quantitatively surveyed and re- patterns in species diversity, density, and composition inventoried the same plots in both the sites following and (2) study the changes in biomass and carbon stocks the same methodology adopted by Anbarashan and of tress in 10-year interval. We hypothesize that anthro- Parthasarathy (2008). Further, the new stems that had pogenic disturbances, land-use change, and people per- attained 10 cm girth at breast height (GBH) were ception would have resulted in decline of forest cover identiﬁed within the plot and their girth was measured and biomass in both the sites. at breast height. The initial and re-inventory results were compared to decipher the changes in tree density and carbon stock in 10-year interval. The Initial Materials and methods (Anbarashan & Parthasarathy, 2008) database was re- examined, corrected during re-inventory, and pro- Study sites cessed up to carbon stock. Anthropogenic distur- This study was conducted in two Indian tropical dry bances such as logging, site encroachment, cattle evergreen forests namely Sendhirakialli (SK) and grazing, trails, construction activities, and fuel wood GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 9 Figure 1. Map showing the location of study sites (Sendhirakillai – SK; Palvathunnan – PT) along the Coromandel coast in Tamil Nadu state of India and the google image of SK and PT sites. extraction were observed and evidences were recorded Carbon stock ¼ðÞ AGB þ BGB =2 (4) during the ﬁeld survey by direct observations and interviews with local communities. We estimated aboveground biomass (AGB) for Results each tree individual using the following allometric Equation (1) provided by Chave et al. (2005). Changes in tree species diversity and carbon stocks 1:499 þ 2:148 lnðÞ D AGB ¼ρ exp 2 3 est þ0:207ðÞ lnðÞ D 0:0281ðÞ lnðÞ D Tree diversity attributes of tropical dry evergreen for- (1) ests diﬀered between two study periods. During the re- inventory, a total of 1264 tree individuals representing where ρ is the wood speciﬁc density (WSD) of tree 28 species and 707 individuals belonging to 21 species species and D is their diameter. were enumerated from the less disturbed site SK and The WSD was sourced from the global wood den- highly disturbed site PT, respectively (Table 1). Over sity database (Zanne et al., 2009) and the available all, contradictory results were obtained from both the literature (Mani & Parthasarathy, 2007). The woody sites. In site SK, species richness slightly increased species for which wood-speciﬁc density value was not from 27 in 2007 to 28 species in 2017. However, genera available, a generalized allometric Equation (2) and families remained constant. In site PT, species (Pearson, Walker, & Brown, 2005) was used. richness dropped from 25 species to 21 species with 2:3196 decrease in both genera and families. Maximum ABG ¼ 0:2035 dbh (2) decline in tree density was observed in site PT by The belowground biomass was determined by multi- 44% compared to site SK 19%. During the 10-year plying AGB with 0.26 [Equation (3)] (Cairns, Brown, time interval (2007–2017) the AGB, belowground bio- Helmer, & Baumgardner, 1997). mass (BGB), and carbon stocks (CS) were increased by −1 31.78, 8.26, and 20.01 Mg ha in site SK; but in site PT BGB ¼ AGB 0:26 (3) −1 they decreased by 258.34, 67.17, and 162.76 Mg ha . The carbon stock was computed to be 50% of the total Similarly, total biomass and carbon stocks also biomass [Equation (4)] (IPCC, 2005). decreased by 42% in site PT, whereas it increased by 10 K. NAVEEN BABU ET AL. Table 1. Tree diversity changes over a decade (2007–2017) in two Indian tropical dry evergreen forest sites, Sendhirakillai (SK) and Palvathunnan (PT). SK PT Variable 2007 2017 Surviving New Missing 2007 2017 Surviving New Missing Species richness 27 28 24 4 3 25 21 19 2 6 Number of genera 25 25 23 2 2 24 19 18 2 6 Number of families 20 20 18 2 2 16 14 13 1 3 Net change Net change −1 Tree density (stems ha ) 1565 1264 −301 1266 707 −559 2 −1 Stand basal area (m ha ) 31.02 33.33 2.31 46.06 27.62 −18.44 −1 AGB (Mg ha ) 354.85 386.63 31.78 617 358.66 −258.34 −1 BGB (Mg ha ) 92.26 100.52 8.26 160.42 93.25 −67.17 −1 Total Biomass (Mg ha ) 447.12 478.15 40.03 777.42 451.91 −325.51 −1 Carbon stock (Mg ha ) 223.56 243.57 20.01 388.71 225.95 −162.76 9% in site SK (Table 1). These results indicate that site change over the 10-year sampling period (Table 2). PT suﬀered notable loss in terms of tree species rich- Out of 38 species recorded from both the sites, in 10- ness, density, biomass, and carbon stocks compared to year gap, four were additions and ﬁve species disap- site SK that alters high degree of disturbance in site PT peared. In undisturbed site SK, four species by various anthropogenic activities leading to severe (Allophyllus serratus, Maytenus emarginata, Ochna degradation of forest patch. obtusata and Polyalthia suberosa) gained by two to nine individuals and three species (Azadirachta indica, Chionanthus zeylanica, and Pongamia pinnata) were Changes in tree species composition lost and 24 species survived in 2017 census. In dis- turbed site PT, two species (Ficus hispida and The species richness and density of tree species in 2007 Maytenus emarginata) gained by one and two and 2017 for the two sites revealed a considerable net Table 2. Changes in stem density of tree species over a decade (2007–2017) in two tropical dry evergreen forest sites SK and PT arranged in decreasing order of total net change (TNC). NC – net change. Stem density SK PT Name of tree species Family 2007 2017 NC 2007 2017 NC TNC Maytenus emarginata (Wild.) Ding Hou Celastraceae 0 9 9 0 2 2 11 Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Meliaceae 2 0 −2820 12 10 Polyalthia korintii (Dunal) Thw. Annonaceae 25 33 8 0 0 0 8 Allophyllus serratus (Roxb.) Kurz Sapindaceae 0 7 7 0 0 0 7 Strychnos potatorum L.f. Loganiaceae 2 6 4 0 0 0 4 Diospyros ebenum J. Koenig ex Retz. Ebenaceae 1 1 0 2 4 2 2 Morinda coriea Buch.-Ham. Rubiaceae 0 0 0 1 3 2 2 Ochna obtusata DC. Ochnaceae 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 Ficus hispida L.f. Moraceae 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertner Barringtoniaceae 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 Dalbergia paniculata Roxb. Fabaceae 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 Pavetta indica L. Rubiaceae 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 Diospyros ferrea (Wild.) Bakh. Var. buxifolia (Rottb.) Bakh. Ebenaceae 6 4 −22 2 0 −2 Strychnos nux-vomica L. Loganiaceae 3 1 −20 0 0 −2 Semecarpus anacardium L.f. Anacardiaceae 0 0 0 2 0 −2 −2 Lannea coromandelica (Houtt.) Merr. Anacardiaceae 3 1 −21 0 −1 −3 Alangium salvifolium (L.f.) Wangerin Alangiaceae 0 0 0 3 0 −3 −3 Pongamia pinnata (L.) Pierre Fabaceae 5 0 −50 0 0 −5 Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. Mimosaceae 8 2 −60 0 0 −6 Tarenna asiatica (L.) Kuntez ex Schumann Rubiaceae 0 0 0 6 0 −6 −6 Premna latifolia Roxb. Verbenaceae 13 10 −310 6 −4 −7 Borassus ﬂabellifer L. Arecaceae 16 11 −53 0 −3 −8 Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels. Myrtaceae 12 7 −59 6 −3 −8 Pamburus missionis (Wight) Swingle Rutaceae 10 9 −123 16 −7 −8 Polyalthia suberosa (Roxb.) Thwaites Annonaceae 0 4 4 13 1 −12 −8 Strebulus asper Lour. Moraceae 10 2 −83 1 −2 −10 Ixora pavetta T. Anderson Rubiaceae 18 8 −10 4 3 −1 −11 Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Muell.-Arg. Euphorbiaceae 0 0 0 11 0 −11 −11 Chionanthus zeylanica L. Oleaceae 16 0 −16 0 0 0 −16 Drypetes sepiaria (Wight and Arn.) Pax & Hoﬀm. Euphorbiaceae 32 32 0 58 33 −25 −25 Pterospermum canescens Roxb. Sterculiaceae 115 95 −20 59 52 −7 −27 Ficus benghalensis L. Moraceae 4 1 −329 3 −26 −29 Canthium dicoccum (Gaertn.) Teijsm.& Binn. Rubiaceae 0 0 0 54 9 −45 −45 Lepisanthes tetraphylla (Vahl.) Radlk Sapindaceae 166 110 −56 52 37 −15 −71 Atalantia monophylla (L.) Correa Rutaceae 282 173 −109 117 118 1 −109 Garcinia spicata (Wight & Arn.) J.D. Hook Clusiaceae 101 58 −43 225 147 −78 −121 Glycosmis mauritiana (Lam.) Yuich. Tanaka Rutaceae 303 206 −97 108 25 −83 −180 Memecylon umbellatum Burm.f. Melastomataceae 407 467 60 463 218 −245 −184 1565 1264 −301 1266 707 −559 −860 GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 11 individuals and six species (Alangium salvifolium, the girth classes were inconsistent with a moderate Borassus ﬂabellifer, Lannea coromandelica, Mallotus loss in the lower girth class 10–30 cm (132 stems, 2 −1 philippensis, Semecarpus anacardium and Tarenna 0.14 m ha ), but a heavy loss in 30–60 cm and asiatica) were lost and 19 species survived over the 60–90 cm size classes (88 and 63 stems; 1.22 and 2 −1 same period (Table 2). 2.84 m ha )(Figure 2). The density was fairly con- A total of 860 trees (301 in SK and 559 in PT) were stant, while stem basal area increased marginally in lost during the 10-year period 2007 and 2017. The subsequent girth classes over time. In lower girth class density gained ranged between 0 and 60 stems and 0 (10–30 cm), tree density and basal area reduced by and 12 stems in site SK and PT respectively. Similarly 44% and 22% in site PT, whereas in site SK it the loss ranged between −1 and −109 for site SK and decreased by 13% and 6%. The changes in carbon −1 and −245 for site PT. In site SK, 19 (70%) of the 27 stock across the girth classes between the two study species identiﬁed in 2007 decreased in abundance, for sites showed a little variation among all size classes three species (11%) it increased, and for ﬁve species except the largest girth class ≥210 cm. In site PT, (18%) it remained the same after 10 years. Whereas in carbon stocks declined in all the size classes; lower −1 site PT, 20 (80%) of 24 species decreased in abun- (10–30 cm) by 2.96 Mg ha , middle (30–60 cm, −1 dance, for four species (16%) it increased, and for 60–90 cm, 90–120 cm) by 42.87 Mg ha , and higher −1 one species (4%) it remained the same without any (≥210 cm) by 116.55 Mg ha . However, in site SK, change (Table 2). Four species in SK and two species carbon stock decreased in lower and middle classes by −1 −1 in PT not recorded in initial census (2007) attained the 0.76 Mg ha and 40.82 Mg ha and increased in −1 minimum girth threshold of ≥10 cm GBH and reached higher girth class by 60.49 Mg ha (Figure 3). densities greater than one stem per hectare by 2017. Overall, maximum carbon loss occurred in middle Overall, there is almost a ﬁvefold increment in stem girth classes in both the study sites over a decade. density in site SK over site PT. Several species suﬀered severe stem loss. Notable among them include Changes in dominant species by girth class Atalantia monophylla (109 stems), Glycosmis mauriti- ana (97 stems), Lepisanthes tetraphylla (54 stems), and Girth-class distribution of ﬁve dominant species at Garcinia spicata (44 stems) in site SK and Memecylon two time periods (2007–2017) showed contrasting umbellatum (245 stems), Glycosmis mauritiana (97 features (Figure 4). Memecylon umbellatum in site stems), Garcinia spicata (44 stems), and Canthium SK and Atalantia monophylla and Pterospermum dicoccum (45 stems) in site PT. The dominant tree canescens in site PT dominated lower girth class in Memecylon umbellatum had maximum density gain the re-census (2018) showing greater recruitment in (60 stems) in site SK and, while in site PT, it was 10 years. However, the most dominant tree maximum for Azadirachta indica (12 stems). Stem Memecylon umbellatum in site PT suﬀered a great density decreased markedly in dominant species by stem loss in all the girth classes. Tree density of other 33% and 48% in sites SK and PT. Among the total dominant species such as Garcinia spicata in site PT species enumerated in 2017 re-census, two species and Glycosmis mauritiana in site SK declined in lower (Diospyros ebenum and Pavetta indica) in SK and and middle girth classes over the 10-year time period. one species (Ficus hispida) in PT were represented by Pterospermum canescens, Lepisanthes tetraphylla, and single stem (Table 2). Memecylon umbellatum showed a ﬂuctuation in popu- lation structure across the girth classes. Overall, all ﬁve species remained as dominants in 2017 even after Changes in basal area, density, and carbon stock showing considerable variation. by girth class The girth-class distribution of stems and basal area Discussion diﬀered markedly between the study sites in 2007 and 2017 censuses (Figure 2). Tree mortality diﬀered Tree species composition diﬀered profoundly in terms across the size classes with maximum number of of richness, density, and carbon stocks from the com- deaths reported in lower girth class to minimum in prehensive re-survey of two Indian tropical dry ever- moderate and higher girth classes. In site PT, girth- green forest sites after a decade. The relatively class distribution of stems as well as basal area typi- undisturbed site SK accounted 11% of loss and 14% cally exhibited an inverse “J”-shaped curve both in of gain in species richness. However, the disturbed site 2007 and 2017. In site SK, the density curve was little PT exhibited 24% (twice that of SK) loss and 9% of inconsistent during re-census with a negative trend till gain. Possible reason could be the variation in prevail- 90–120 cm and thereafter it was stable. In site PT, the ing anthropogenic disturbances between the two sites. density and basal area declined in all girth classes with An attempt was made to compare the available data a maximum loss in all the seven girth classes; whereas, reporting changes in species composition from long- in site SK, density and basal area distribution across term monitoring studies within the Indian TDEFs 12 K. NAVEEN BABU ET AL. 9 1200 (a) SK 6 800 3 400 0 0 10-30 30-60 60-90 90-120 120-150 150-180 180-210 >210 Girth class (cm) 2007 TD 2017 TD 2007 BA 2017 BA 14 700 (b) PT 12 600 10 500 8 400 4 200 2 100 0 0 10-30 30-60 60-90 90-120 120-150 150-180 180-210 >210 Girth class (cm) 2007 TD 2017 TD 2007 BA 2017 BA Figure 2. Changes in tree density (TD) and basal area (BA) by girth classes over a decade (2007–2017) in two Indian tropical dry evergreen forest sites, SK (a) and PT (b). (Table 3). The species richness also declined in the abundance of lost and newly added species was low disturbed sites PP, AK, KK, and TM, which conform (one individual) to moderate (16 individuals) (Table our ﬁndings (Table 3). Previous works also illustrate 2). This ﬁnding was similar to the other TDEF sites that species richness changed over a period of time. (Baithalu et al., 2012, 2013; Mani & Parthasarathy, Holland and Winkler (2018) reported increase in spe- 2009; Pandian & Parthasarathy, 2016; Venkateswaran cies richness in three Islands, New Hampshire, USA in & Parthasarathy, 2005) and also in rain forest of 13 years. Similarly, Fashing, Forrestel, Scully, and Brazilian coast (Saiter, Guilherme, Thomaz, & Cords (2004) and Sheil, Jennings, and Savill (2000) Wendt, 2011) wherein researchers reported that the also found gain in species richness over 18- and 48- abundance of lost species was never more than four year time interval. On the other hand, tropical forests individuals. These rare species are more prone to are prone to massive loss in species richness driven by extinction due to their low population size, competi- both climate change and/or various other global tion between the species, natural death, and human- change drivers, including habitat fragmentation and induced disturbances. As a result, death of rare species forest destruction. According to Gaveau et al. (2016) will lead to the loss of species representation in an area heavy logging and subsequent establishment of oil (Primack & Hall, 1992). Thus, the variation in species palm plantations resulted in loss of 62% of Borneo’s number is determined by the appearance or disap- original old-growth forest. Lalfakawma, Sahoo, Roy, pearance of rare species in an ecosystem (Ayyappan Vanlalhriatpuia, and Vanalalhluna (2009) noted fall in & Parthasarathy, 2004). richness in semi-evergreen forests of northeast India. Another ﬁnding of this study is that stem density Furthermore, Liu, Ni, Zhong, Hu, and Zhang (2018) reduced in both the sites. The disturbed site PT lost also reported that species richness depreciated by eight more stems as the abundance of small stems is high species in just 3 years in Karst evergreen and decid- here and locals frequently harvest large number of uous broad leaved mixed forests of Central Guizhou small stems for domestic use and also allow the cattle Province, southwest China due to disturbance and all to trample and graze over the understory. Our ﬁnding eight species belonged to rare category. In this study, was similar to those found in various other tropical -1 Basal area (m2 ha ) 2 -1 Basal area (m ha ) -1 Tree density (no.of stems ha ) -1 Tree density (no.of stems ha ) GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 13 160 density suggesting that if disturbances are curtailed species turnover may increase in these sites. Swaine, SK 2007 Lieberman, and Putz (1987) reviewed the tree dynamics (5–36 years) of 18 undisturbed tropical for- SK 2017 ests from SE Asia, Africa, and America and found that mortality rate and recruitment rate per year ranged between 1% and 2% across the sites maintaining dynamic equilibrium. The Core results of 91 RAINFOR network permanent plots in Amazon revealed small increase in stem density between ﬁrst and re-census (Phillips, Lewis, Higuchi, & Baker, 10-30 30-60 60-90 90-120 >120 2016). They also found signiﬁcant increase in the key Girth class (cm) ecological processes such as stem recruitment, growth, and mortality (Phillips et al., 2016). The re-census of PT 2007 2.08 ha in a 50 ha long-term Wanang forest dynamics PT 2017 plot in New Guinea revealed that stem density increased by 2.58 ± 0.49 per year, mortality by 3.95% and recruitment rate by 2.77% per year (Vincent et al., 2018). Similarly, few other forest dynamics plots in Dinghushan, China; Pasoh, Malaysia; BCI Panama experienced annual mortality rate of 5.85%, 2.55%, and 2.24 ± 0.54%, respectively (Shen et al., 2013; Vincent et al., 2018). The observed negative trend girth-class distribution 10-30 30-60 60-90 90-120 >120 in both the sites is on par with other studies (Amiri, Girth class (cm) 2019; Chandrasekhara, 2013; Fashing et al., 2004). Our Figure 3. Changes in carbon stock across the girth classes over results showed poor regeneration potential in both the a decade (2007–2017) in two Indian tropical dry evergreen sites. This is due to natural death (in site SK), heavy forest sites, SK and PT. logging, and fuel wood collection especially in the heavily disturbed site PT. Similar trend was observed and temperate forests of the world. Manokaran, in other TDEF sites (Baithalu et al., 2013; Mani & Kassim, Hassan, Quah, and Chong (1992) noted rela- Parthasarathy, 2009; Pandian & Parthasarathy, 2016). tively high mortality of trees in 3-year interval in In just 3-year interval of time, Karst evergreen and a 50 ha plot of Pasoh forest reserve, Malaysia. deciduous broad-leaved mixed forests in southwestern Sundaram and Parthasarathy (2002) reported mar- China witnessed 77% of stem loss in the lower DBH ginal reduction in stem density in 3-year period from class (Liu et al., 2018). On the other hand, Kolli hills, Eastern Ghats. Conversely, a high reduction Chandrasekhara (2013), Fashing et al. (2004), Sheil et was reported in four continuous re-census of 50 ha al. (2000), and Ray, Chandran, and Ramachandra permanent plot in Mudumalai, Western Ghats (2012) reported stem density increase in lower girth (Sukumar, Suresh, Dattaraja, John, & Joshi, 2004), classes showing greater regeneration potential over 45% of loss over a period of 25 years in Uttar 10–53 years of time. In the site SK, basal area increased 2 −1 Kannada districts, Western Ghats. Tree density by 2.31 m ha . The surviving population of trees in declined by 1673 stems in two forest types of south- middle and large girth classes accumulated higher western China in 3 years (Liu et al., 2018). Enoki, basal area due to the presence of high voluminous Hishi, and Tashiro (2018) also reported decrease in stems and also gradual progress of stems from lower density due to decrease in small stems in temperate girth class to higher classes. Yet, cut stems found in −1 forests. The stand density decreased by 230 stems ha lower girth classes reveal that in spite of restriction and in just 8 years from sub-tropical forests of Australia. belief system few people are still dependent on this Conversely, in undisturbed forests they increased by forest for resources. Basal area declined sharply in 5% (Garcia_Florez, Vanclay, Glencross, & Nichols, disturbed site PT due to heavy anthropogenic pressure 2017). A recent study from Iran reported increase in such as selective felling of smaller to larger size trees stem density by 119 individuals in 10-year period for domestic usage and temple-related activities, cattle (Amiri, 2019). Few other Indian TDEF sites also grazing, etc. are very much evident. Many studies also showed a decline in tree density over one and two reported reduction in basal area with increase in dis- decadal intervals (Table 3). Interestingly, the relatively turbance over diﬀerent intervals of time in Indian undisturbed and moderately disturbed Indian TDEF TDEFs (Baithalu et al., 2013; Mani & Parthasarathy, sites KR, MM, and TM showed increment in stem 2009) and other tropical forests of the world (Bhat -1 -1 Carbon stock (Mg ha ) Carbon stock (Mg ha ) 14 K. NAVEEN BABU ET AL. Figure 4. Changes in stem density of dominant tree species by girth classes over a decade (2007–2017) in Indian two tropical dry evergreen forest sites, SK and PT. et al., 2000; Garcia_Florez et al., 2017; Sukumar et al., potential and growth supported by suitable edaphic 2004). features. These sites are rich with oxides of iron and Across TDEF landscape, the top three dominant aluminium. According to Meher-Homji (1974), tree species varied, revealing the uniqueness of each Melastomataceae members are usually associated site (Table 4). However, comparative analysis of eight with lateritic soils and are reported to be aluminium re-inventoried Indian TDEF sites portray that accumulators. On the other hand site, PT witnessed Memecylon umbellatum constituted one of the three 50% loss of Memecylon umbellatum because of mas- dominants in seven sites that also faced a substantial sive exploitation of this species. Almost all dominant loss in density, basal area, and carbon stocks (Table 4). species of eight Indian TDEFs decreased in abun- The persistent dominance of Memecylon umbellatum dance, basal area, and carbon stocks (Table 4). Liu even after 10 years can be ascribed to the geological et al. (2018) found in their study that the dominant features of the landscape and successful regenerative tree species had seen maximum deaths. The dominant GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 15 Table 3. Comparison of changes in tree species richness, density, and basal area over a decade in various tropical dry evergreen forest sites on the Coromandel Coast of India. (SK – Sendhirakillai; PT – Palvathunnan; AP – Araiyapatti; KR – Karisakkadu; MM – Maramadakki; SP – Shanmuganathapuram; PP – Puthupet, AK – Arasadikuppam; OR – Oorani; KK – Kuzhanthaikuppam; TM – Thirumanikkuzhi). Net change over a decade Site Plot size Species richness Density Basal area Reference SK 1 ha 1 −301 0.12 Present study PT 1 ha −4 −559 −18.24 Present study AP 1 ha 2 −102 0.42 Pandian and Parthasarathy (2016) KR 1 ha 1 82 −1.34 Pandian and Parthasarathy (2016) MM 1 ha −1 26 3.13 Pandian and Parthasarathy (2016) SP 1 ha 3 −481 −1.72 Pandian and Parthasarathy (2016) PP 1 ha −5 −747 −9.36 Baithalu et al. (2013) AK 1 ha −7 −1479 −3.11 Baithalu et al. (2012) OR 1 ha −1 −381 4.81 Baithalu et al. (2012) KK 1 ha −2 −197 0.34 Mani and Parthasarathy (2009) TM 1 ha −4 146 −1.9 Mani and Parthasarathy (2009) PP 1 ha 5 8 −3 Venkateswaran and Parthasarathy (2005) palm tree in a montane rain forest at Santa Lúcia, 2009; Liu et al., 2018; Malhi & Wright, 2004; Pandian & Brazil increased by 34 individuals over a decade Parthasarathy, 2016; Poorter et al., 2016; Terakunpisut, (Saiter et al., 2011). The relatively balanced ecosystems Gajesani, & Raunkawe, 2007). Phillips et al. (2016) provided with minimum disturbances favor dominant reported signiﬁcant increase in AGB and CS from the species to regenerate (Liu et al., 2018). long-term ecological monitoring of international net- Temporal analysis of AGB and CS revealed variation work (RAINFOR and AfriTRON) permanent plots between the sites showing an increase in 9% in site SK from Amazon and Africa. The continuous disturbances and decrease by 42% in site PT. The increase in AGB such as logging, particularly of large voluminous trees, and CS in relatively undisturbed site is due to the resulted in greater loss of AGB and CS in site PT that restriction in extraction of fuel wood and timber was also reported by Pyles et al. (2018)fromthe nine from the site. The large trees being the indication of tropical rain forests along the Atlantic Coast of Brazil. past carbon storage could withstand well and seques- Information collected during interviewing local tered more carbon because they are left untouched. Ray people reveals that site PT is more prone to distur- et al. (2012) found increment in CS after 18 years due to bance due to its nearness to the habitation, inﬂuence the long-term protection provided to the sacred grove of younger generation (part of the sacred grove con- with the involvement of local communities. Several verted as playground), over grazing, logging, fuel studies also have drawn positive results in terms of wood collection, and weakening of human–nature– growth in biomass over a diﬀerent time scales across God relationship resulted in loss of 50% of its original the world (Lewis, Lloyd, Sitch, Mitchard, & Laurance, cover. Conversely, site SK is comparatively least Table 4. Comparison of changes in density, basal area, and carbon stocks of top three dominant species over a decadal interval in eight tropical dry evergreen sites on the Coromandel Coast of India (for site code expansion, see legend of Table 3). −1 2 −1 −1 Density (no. stems ha ) Basal area (m ha ) Carbon stock (Mg ha ) First Site Top 3 dominant species Re-census First Census Net change Re-census First Census Net change Re-census Census Net change SK Memecylon umbellatum 467 407 60 2.69 2.01 0.68 13.7 8.82 4.88 Glycosmis mauritiana 206 303 −97 0.23 0.04 0.19 0.49 1.03 −0.54 Atalantia monophylla 173 282 −109 1.43 2.77 −1.34 8.13 16.03 −7.9 PT Memecylon umbellatum 218 463 −245 2.54 3.82 −1.28 12.96 19.2 −6.24 Garcinia spicata 147 225 −78 5.41 7.44 −2.03 44.96 60.57 −15.61 Atalantia monophylla 118 117 1 1.4 1.77 −0.37 8.65 11.46 −2.81 KK Memecylon umbellatum 314 449 −135 1.89 2.35 −0.46 7.1 8.6 −1.5 Tricalysia sphaerocarpa 251 283 −32 2.55 2.51 0.04 11.6 10.66 0.94 Diospyros ebenum 93 103 −10 0.76 0.64 0.12 3.85 3.17 0.68 TM Lepisanthes tetraphylla 185 251 −66 5.54 5.03 0.51 48 38.59 9.41 Tricalysia sphaerocarpa 235 301 −66 0.74 1.25 −0.51 0.22 4.63 −4.41 Mallotus rhamnifolius 60 73 −13 0.15 0.19 −0.04 0.52 0.68 −0.16 KR Drypetes sepiaria 202 253 −51 7.22 8.91 −1.69 64.09 79.17 −15.08 Memecylon umbellatum 48 73 −25 0.09 0.13 −0.04 3.9 0.29 3.61 Euphorbia antiquorum 93 56 37 0.16 1.07 −0.91 0.34 4.39 −4.05 MM Memecylon umbellatum 282 323 −41 0.79 0.63 0.16 1.86 1.32 0.54 Drypetes sepiaria 87 86 1 4.55 3.94 0.61 44.38 37.8 6.58 Glycosmis mauritiana 128 80 48 0.21 0.08 0.13 0.37 0.13 0.24 AP Strychnos nux-vomica 173 235 −62 3.43 3.1 0.33 24.96 21.43 3.53 Lepisanthes tetraphylla 99 121 −22 1.56 1.47 0.09 9.37 8.46 0.91 Memecylon umbellatum 83 89 −6 0.78 0.82 −0.04 3.25 3.13 0.12 SP Pterospermum canescens 188 228 −40 7.76 7.73 0.03 44.31 42.14 2.17 Memecylon umbellatum 713 1148 −435 2.6 3.11 −0.51 7.05 8.1 −1.05 Atalantia monophylla 32 48 −16 3.21 3.7 −0.49 26.98 29.6 −2.62 16 K. NAVEEN BABU ET AL. disturbed because people still believe that there exists Acknowledgments a relation with God and the forest and the access to the First author thanks Hemanth and Nangi for the ﬁnancial forest is limited by the fear of deity. However, the support. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their valu- other activities were also observed (grazing, fuel able suggestions in improving the manuscript. wood collection, etc.) but in less optimum. Parthasarathy (2017) found in a study that among Disclosure statement the 100 persons sampled only 45% of the people use sacred groves for religious purpose. Surprisingly, 33% No potential conﬂict of interest was reported by the authors. of people use it for recreational purpose and some for illegal activities. Encroachment is also evident in all ORCID the sites for expanding agricultural lands, temple structures, construction of roads, and also new tem- K. Naveen Babu http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8134-5024 ples (Parthasarathy, 2017). 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Geology Ecology and Landscapes – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jan 2, 2021
Keywords: Re-census; forest dynamics; long-term monitoring; anthropogenic pressure; conservation
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