, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 583-597

Tree diversity in sacred groves of the Jaintia hills in Meghalaya, northeast India

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Biodiversity of woody species was investigated in Ialong and Raliangsacred groves of the Jaintia hills in Meghalaya, northeast India. These grovesrepresent the climax subtropical broad-leaved forest of the area. A total of 738individuals belonging to 82 species, 59 genera and 39 families was identified ina 0.5 ha plot of the Ialong sacred grove, whereas the same area in theRaliang sacred grove had 469 individuals of 80 species, 62 genera and 41families. About 32% species were common to both groves. Lauraceae, with10–17 species, was the dominant family. The canopy and subcanopy stratawere respectively composed of 28 and 33% of the total tree species in theforest. The number of species as well as stem density were greater for the treesof lower dbh (5–15 cm) class compared to the higher (> 66cm) dbh class. The majority of the species showed a contagiousdistribution pattern and low frequency. The basal area varied from 57.4 to 71.4m2 ha−1. Species richness within theforest varied from 3 to 15 per 100 m2 in Ialong and 3 to 12 per 100m2 in Raliang. The dominance–distribution curves showed highequitability and low dominance in both groves.