Canopy Gap phase regeneration: A study in moist temperate forests of Central Himalayas, India

Shalini Dhyani, R K Maikhuri, K S Rao


Broad leaved forests continuously have some asynchronous and localized disturbance events.Tree fall gaps are the dominant form of such disturbances in these forests. Moist temperate forests dominated by Quercus leucotricophora in Garhwal were investigated for study. Ten random transect belts were established in a mixed broadleaved forest patch. The forest comprised of gaps, created by various natural processes. Gaps varied in size ranging from 48 to 589 m2. Microclimatic and edaphic variables of canopy gap and understorey areas were recorded to assess the parameters that influence gap phase regeneration. Forests of the studyarea comprised of gaps that varied in size and shape. Light intensity, soil moisture and soil temperature were prime micro-climatic variables influencing species recruitment in gaps.Species assemblage was recorded higher from gaps than forest understorey (20 and 17 tree species, respectively). Overall recruitment of tree species in understorey and canopy gaps was 3054 seedling ha-1 and 2277 saplings ha-1, respectively. The results obtained during our study show that gap formation process in moist temperate forests of Garhwal promotes a strong but temporary variations in microclimatic environment. This heterogeneity factor determines the biological diversity but needs more long term systematic research in Garhwal for better understanding.


Forest disturbance, Gap phase regeneration, Garhwal Himalaya, Moist temperate forests

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