Seed and seedling establishment in abandoned tea plantations role of ecological and edaphic factors, southern Western Ghats, India

  • H. C. ChetanEmail author
  • R. Ganesan
  • T. Ganesh
Research Article


Seed input and microsite suitability play a major role in tropical forest recovery. Understanding these can provide insights on passive restoration, especially in abandoned plantations near forests. This study assesses recovery of native species in abandoned tea plantations and identifies ecological and edaphic factors influencing seed input and seedling recruitment. We measured seed inputs from forest to plantation using 1 × 1 m plot along a transect at specific distances from the forest edge. The results showed that 54–63% of species reached plantations. Proximity to forest strongly influenced both seeds from seed bank and seedling establishment within the plantations. The plantations 25 m from forest recorded 37–59% of forest species while at 95 m only 11–14% of species were recorded. Seed input varied with elevation and seedling establishment at lower elevation strongly correlated with organic carbon and phosphorous whereas at higher elevation it was soil pH and electrical conductivity. Overall dispersal limitation and microsite conditions strongly influence seed colonization and establishment.


Forest regeneration Microsite suitability Seed bank Tea landscape Western Ghats  



This research is part of Ph.D. work by first author and was funded by the Rufford small grant UK and Student fellowship from Norwegian fund. We thank the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for permission. We also thank Tamil Azhagan, Johnson and over dozen other field assistants who helped us with this work. We thank three anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Tropical Ecology 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and TechnologyBengaluruIndia
  2. 2.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)BengaluruIndia

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