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Unveiling tree diversity and carbon density of homegarden in the Thodupuzha urban region of Kerala, India: a contribution towards urban sustainability

Abstract

The present study aimed to assess the role of homegarden (HG) in safeguarding the tree diversity and carbon (C) density or storage in the Thodupuza urban region of Idukki district in Kerala, India. A stratified random approach was used for selecting the four homegardens (HGs) with a size of 1hectare (ha). The study mainly focused on species richness, diversity, above ground biomass, carbon, correlation and distribution of carbon with various variables, species and group wise carbon storage of the system. A total of 992 trees from 66 species belonging to 31 families were enumerated with representation of 4 endemic, 1 vulnerable, 1 endangered and 23 exotics. The diversity indices obtained were closer to those of the forest ecosystem. Above ground biomass and carbon density were estimated to be 67.06 t/ha (tonne/hectare) and 31.85 6 t/ha respectively. Species Tectona grandis showed dominancy in carbon and Important Value Index. Correlation analysis among species revealed that carbon exhibited a strong positive trend with basal area and tree density, but in the case of plot (HG)-wise examination only basal area had a strong positive relationship. The diametric class analysis showed skewed type of distribution for carbon and tree density while diversity had reverse j-shaped curve. Among the two plant groups, cultivated species had an edge over native in storing carbon. Overall, this assessment shows the potential of using homegardens as a socio-ecological systems for sustainable development particularly in terms of land availability and climate mitigation options in the face of rapid urbanization.

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the funding from the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Department of Space and Government of India. Authors acknowledge Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala for the support extended for this work. We are grateful to members of the School of Environmental Sciences for assisting us during data collection. Authors also thank Forest Department, Government of Kerala for their service in connection with the work. We are also thankful to Dr Sarnam Singh for his invaluable contributions to the work.

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Padmakumar, B., Sreekanth, N.P., Shanthiprabha, V. et al. Unveiling tree diversity and carbon density of homegarden in the Thodupuzha urban region of Kerala, India: a contribution towards urban sustainability. Trop Ecol 62, 508–524 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42965-021-00149-2

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Keywords

  • Above ground biomass
  • Basal area
  • Endemism
  • Exotics
  • Important Value Index
  • Sequestration