Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 157–165 | Cite as

Effects of disturbance intensities on vegetation patterns in oak forests of Kumaun, west Himalaya

  • Ranbeer S. Rawal
  • Sanjay GairolaEmail author
  • Uppeandra Dhar


In order to realize the significance of oak forests for ecology and economy of the Himalayan region, the present study attempts to objectively characterize disturbance intensities and their impacts on compositional features of identified Oak forests, i.e. Banj-oak (Quercus leucotrichophora A. Camus), Tilonj-oak (Q. floribunda Lindley) and Kharsu-oak (Q. semecarpifolia J. E. Smith) in west Himalaya. Amongst studied forests, Q. leucotrichophora and Q. semecarpifolia forests exhibited high sensitivity towards disturbance intensities. In both forests, increasing level of disturbance significantly lowered tree density, dominance and natural recruitment (seedling and sapling density). Q. floribunda forests, however, appeared relatively more resilient to anthropogenic disturbances. Amongst studied oak forests, Q. semecarpifolia forests with overall poor natural regeneration are in a most critically endangered demographic state. However, a slightly improved regeneration (i.e., seedling density) in moderately disturbed plots is indicative that such plots may be utilized most suitably for in situ revival of these forests. Effect of disturbance intensities on tree population is an important subject for forest ecology and management and the present study highlights a need for adopting different management strategies across disturbance intensities in diverse oak forests of west Himalaya.


Forest vegetation Anthropogenic disturbance Oak forests west Himalaya 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranbeer S. Rawal
    • 1
  • Sanjay Gairola
    • 2
    Email author
  • Uppeandra Dhar
    • 3
  1. 1.G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and DevelopmentKosi-KatarmalIndia
  2. 2.School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of BotanyHamdard University (Jamia Hamdard)New DelhiIndia

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