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Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 857–866 | Cite as

Wildland fires and moist deciduous forests of Chhattisgarh, India: divergent component assessment

  • B. H. Kittur
  • S. L. Swamy
  • S. S. Bargali
  • Manoj Kumar Jhariya
Original Paper

Abstract

We studied moist deciduous forests of Chhattisgarh, India (1) to assess the effect of four levels of historic wildland fire frequency (high, medium, low, and no-fire) on regeneration of seedlings in fire affected areas during pre and post-fire seasons, (2) to evaluate vegetation structure and diversity by layer in the four fire frequency zones, (3) to evaluate the impact of fire frequency on the structure of economically important tree species of the region, and (4) to quantify fuel loads by fire frequency level. We classified fire-affected areas into high, medium, low, and no-fire frequency classes based on government records. Tree species were unevenly distributed across fire frequency categories. Shrub density was maximum in zones of high fire frequency and minimum in low-frequency and no-fire zones. Lower tree density after fires indicated that regeneration of seedlings was reduced by fire. The population structure in the high-frequency zone was comprised of seedlings of size class (A) and saplings of size class (B), represented by Diospyros melanoxylon, Dalbergia sissoo, Shorea robusta and Tectona grandis. Younger and older trees were more abundant for Tectona grandis and Dalbargia sissoo after fire, whereas intermediate-aged trees were more abundant prefire, indicating that the latter age-class was thinned by the catastrophic effect of fire. The major contributing components of fuel load included duff litter and small woody branches and twigs on the forest floor. Total fuel load on the forest floor ranged from 2.2 to 3.38 Mg/ha. The net change in fuel load was positive in high- and medium-frequency fire zones and negative under low- and no-fire zones. Repeated fires, however, slowly reduced stand stability. An ecological approach is needed for fire management to restore the no-fire spatial and temporal structure of moist deciduous forests, their species composition and fuel loads. The management approach should incorporate participatory forest management. Use of controlled fire, fire lines and mapping of fire prone areas are fundamental principles of fire hazard reduction in these areas.

Keywords

forest fire diversity fuel load vegetation structure 

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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. H. Kittur
    • 1
  • S. L. Swamy
    • 2
  • S. S. Bargali
    • 3
  • Manoj Kumar Jhariya
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Silviculture & Agroforestry, College of ForestryKerala Agriculture UniversityVellanikara, ThrissureIndia
  2. 2.Department of Forestry, College of Agriculture, Indira Gandhi KrishiVishwavidyalayaRaipurIndia
  3. 3.Department of Botany, DSB CampusKumaun UniversityNainitalIndia

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