Factors associated with long-term species composition in dry tropical forests of Central India

Agarwala, M.; DeFries, Ruth S.; Qureshi, Q.; Jhala, Y. V.

The long-term future of species composition in forests depends on regeneration. Many factors can affect regeneration, including human use, environmental conditions, and species' traits. This study examines the influence of these factors in a tropical deciduous forest of Central India, which is heavily used by local, forest-dependent residents for livestock grazing, fuel-wood extraction, construction and other livelihood needs. We measure size-class proportions (the ratio of abundance of a species at a site in a higher size class to total abundance in both lower and higher size classes) for 39 tree species across 20 transects at different intensities of human use. The size-class proportions for medium to large trees and for small to medium-sized trees were negatively associated with species that are used for local construction, while size class proportions for saplings to small trees were positively associated with those species that are fire resistant and negatively associated with livestock density. Results indicate that grazing and fire prevent non-fire resistant species from reaching reproductive age, which can alter the long term composition and future availability of species that are important for local use and ecosystem services. Management efforts to reduce fire and forest grazing could reverse these impacts on long-term forest composition.


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Also Published In

Environmental Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
IOP Publishing
Published Here
October 26, 2016