Conservation Genetics

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Fine- and local- scale genetic structure of Dysoxylum malabaricum, a late-successional canopy tree species in disturbed forest patches in the Western Ghats, India

  • Sofia Bodare
  • Gudasalamani Ravikanth
  • Sascha A. Ismail
  • Mohana Kumara Patel
  • Ilaria Spanu
  • Ramesh Vasudeva
  • Ramanan Uma Shaanker
  • Giovanni Giuseppe Vendramin
  • Martin Lascoux
  • Yoshiaki TsudaEmail author
Research Article


Dysoxylum malabaricum (white cedar) is an economically important tree species, endemic to the Western Ghats, India, which is the world’s most densely populated biodiversity hotspot. In this study, we used variation at ten nuclear simple sequence repeat loci to investigate genetic diversity and fine scale spatial genetic structure (FSGS) in seedlings and adults of D. malabaricum from four forest patches in the northern part of the Western Ghats. When genetic variation was compared between seedlings and adults across locations, significant differences were detected in allelic richness, observed heterozygosity, fixation index (F IS), and relatedness (P < 0.05). Reduced genetic diversity and increased relatedness at the seedling stage might be due to fragmentation and disturbance. There was no FSGS at the adult stage and FSGS was limited to shorter distance classes at the seedling stage. However, there was clear spatial genetic structure at the landscape level (<50 km), regardless of age class, due to limited gene flow between forest patches. A comparison of the distributions of size classes in the four locations with published data from a more southern area, showed that large trees (diameter at breast height, DBH, >130 cm) are present in the southern sacred forests but not in the northern forest reserves. This pattern is likely due to stronger harvesting pressure in the north compared to the south, because in the north there are no cultural taboos regulating the extraction of natural resources. The implications for forest conservation in this biodiversity hotspot are discussed.


Dysoxylum malabaricum Fragmentation Disturbance Land use Spatial genetic structure Western Ghats 



We would like to thank Ashwini S, Sumangala R.C, Jagadish M.R. and Priti Gururaj for their assistance and support in our work in the field and laboratory. This study was supported by a grant from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10592_2016_877_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (115 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 114 kb) Distribution of size classes of adult D. malabricum trees in the Coorg population examined by Ismail et al. (2014). Size is given as diameter at breast height (DBH) in cm
10592_2016_877_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 14 kb)
10592_2016_877_MOESM3_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sofia Bodare
    • 1
  • Gudasalamani Ravikanth
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sascha A. Ismail
    • 4
  • Mohana Kumara Patel
    • 3
  • Ilaria Spanu
    • 5
  • Ramesh Vasudeva
    • 6
  • Ramanan Uma Shaanker
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
  • Giovanni Giuseppe Vendramin
    • 5
  • Martin Lascoux
    • 1
  • Yoshiaki Tsuda
    • 1
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Program in Plant Ecology and Evolution, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the EnvironmentBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.School of Ecology and ConservationUniversity of Agricultural SciencesBangaloreIndia
  4. 4.Ecosystem Management, Department of Environmental Systems ScienceETH ZürichZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Institute of Biosciences and BioresourcesNational Research CouncilSesto FiorentinoItaly
  6. 6.Department of Forest Biology, College of ForestryUniversity of Agricultural SciencesSirsiIndia
  7. 7.Department of Crop PhysiologyUniversity of Agricultural SciencesBangaloreIndia
  8. 8.Sugadaira Montane Research CenterUniversity of TsukubaUedaJapan

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