• Structure and function of the Central Himalayan oak forests

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      Permanent link:
      https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/plnt/096/03/0159-0189

    • Keywords

       

      Quercus spp.; Oak forests; Central Himalaya; biotic stress; biomass; climax vegetation

    • Abstract

       

      Oak (Quercus spp.) forests represent the climax evergreen vegetation between 1000–3600 m in the Central Himalaya. Shrub layer is well developed in these forests and phanerophytes prevail (50–60%). Though one oak species mixes frequently with other oak species, or conifers, the single-species dominance is quite common. All the oak forests are vulnerable to fire. They support a great variety of wildlife. Coppicing subsequent to cutting is well developed in all oak species and helps them in regeneration. However, because of severe biotic stress oaks are failing to regenerate in forest stands. The forest biomass ranges between 294–787 t ha−1 and the net primary productivity generally between 16–21 t ha−1 yr−1. Oak forests store a large proportion of their nutrients in biomass component. Leaves are nutrient-rich and decompose rapidly. Evergreen woody species with concentrated summer leaf drop prevail in oak forests. The seasonality of the ecosystem activities seem to be influenced by the monsoon pattern of rainfall. Though the recovery is rapid after the forest destruction, because of continuous and severe biotic stress, oaks are being replaced with other communities.

    • Author Affiliations

       

      S P Singh1 J S Singh2

      1. Department of Botany, Kumaun University, Nainital - 263 002, India
      2. Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi - 221 005, India
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