, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 61-69

Tree population structure of certain Himalayan forest associations and implications concerning their future composition

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This study deals with the regeneration status of certain tree components of forests in the northwestern catchment of the river Gola in Kumaun Himalaya and explores possible compositional changes in time.Pinus roxburghii, Quercus floribunda andQuercus lanuginosa in their respective forest types had a stable population structure with a large percentage of young individuals (seedlings) and relatively few old ones, indicating that these species are frequent reproducers. The girth class distribution of the individuals ofQuercus leucotrichophora in theQuercus leucotrichophora forest suggests that this species is likely to disappear gradually. In this forest, although forest composition will remain unchanged for some time, a complete absence of seedlings of any species shows the possibility of its complete replacement by a scrub or a grassland vegetation. In the mixed forest, the dominant species, viz.,Quercus leucotrichophora, Persea odoratissima andBauhinia retusa did not have saplings/seedlings, indicating a possible change in forest composition in the near future whenSapium insigne, Cocculus laurifolius, Celtis eriocarpa andAcer oblongum are likely to gain dominance. Finally, suggestions are made to explain the poor regeneration ofQuercus leucotrichophora.

Nomenclature: see Figure 3.
Financial support from the Indian Space Research Organisation, Bangalore, is gratefully acknowledged.