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Tree seedling establishment in dry tropics: an urgent need of interaction studies

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Abstract

The current anthropogenic activities and climate change are increasingly becoming a growing global concern for dry tropical forests. Worldwide, these ecologically important forests have degraded considerably since the past few decades due to such factors. These factors have harmful consequences on the vegetation structure and diversity especially tree seedlings, which may further aggravate climate change. Generally, the vegetation recovery is very slow and unpredictable in the dry tropics due to complex interaction among tree seedling, site (particularly, soil) and climatic conditions. We inculcated that a better understanding of the behavior of individuals of different tree species at seedling stage in dry forests is of immense importance. It is increasingly being recognized for explaining and managing the future composition of plant communities under changing environmental conditions. In this regard, the multi-factorial interaction studies under various resource–disturbance combinations are needed in dry tropical ecosystems to understand the: (1) impact of relative variability in resources and disturbances on the responses of tree seedlings of native species and (2) how the later relates to distinct functional and life history traits of the individual tree species. Most importantly, such studies would improve our limited understanding of how variation (natural and man-made) in nutrient availability, under the influence of other local environmental factors (such as water, light, grass competition, herbivory, fire, allelopathy and enhanced CO2 conditions), would affect the dynamics of dry tropical forest community. It may help in the proper management of these forests. Moreover, it may prove helpful in the current climate change scenario, as change in forest community dynamics may have consequences on soil C sequestration and CO2 efflux at global scale.

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Acknowledgement

Authors are highly thankful to Prof. J. S. Singh, Emeritus professor, Department of Botany, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, for his valuable suggestions and discussions on the present topic. Financial support as research fellowship from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, India, is also acknowledged. Authors gratefully acknowledge the anonymous reviewers and handling editor for their critical suggestions and comments for improving the article to a great extent.

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Correspondence to A. S. Raghubanshi.

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Bhadouria, R., Srivastava, P., Singh, R. et al. Tree seedling establishment in dry tropics: an urgent need of interaction studies. Environ Syst Decis 37, 88–100 (2017) doi:10.1007/s10669-017-9625-x

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Keywords

  • Climatic variability
  • Disturbance
  • Dry tropical ecosystems
  • Growth regulators
  • Herbivory
  • Plant community
  • Seedlings