Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 8, Issue 11, pp 1533–1554 | Cite as

Biodiversity inventory of trees in a large-scale permanent plot of tropical evergreen forest at Varagalaiar, Anamalais, Western Ghats, India

  • N. Ayyappan
  • N. Parthasarathy


A permanent plot of 30 ha (600 × 500 m2) was established for long-term ecological research on biodiversity and forest functioning in a tropical evergreen forest at Varagalaiar, Anamalais, Western Ghats. This paper gives the results of the first census of trees in the 30 ha plot. All trees ≥30 cm gbh were permanently tagged with sequentially numbered aluminium tags and their girth measured. 148 tree species (in 120 genera and 49 families) were enumerated in a total sample of 13,393 individuals. Species diversity, density and dispersion patterns were determined. The mean species richness, density and basal area per hectare were 65 species, 446 stems and 36.26 m2 respectively. The Sorensen similarity index for thirty 1-ha subplots varied from 0.7 to 0.9, indicating the homogeneity in species composition of the stand. The pronounced species hierarchy has resulted in the dominance of four species that occupy four different forest storeys: Drypetes longifolia (lower storey) Reinwardtiodendron anamallayanum (middle storey), Poeciloneuron indicum (upper storey) and Dipterocarpus indicus (emergent). The forest was dominated by Euphorbiaceae in terms of richness (18 species) and abundance of species (3788 stems), and Dipterocarpaceae based on the contribution to basal area (18.4%). Species richness and density decreased with increasing girth-class. Girth class frequency of the stand exhibited an expanding population of trees. Twenty-nine tree species, analysed for spatial dispersion at 1-ha scale, exhibited both clumped and uniform patterns, except Vateria indica which was randomly distributed in one hectare. Repeat census scheduled for subsequent years, will elucidate the behaviour of the individual species and the population dynamics of the tree flora and will be useful for forest conservation and management. It will also help to monitor human activity within this forest.

permanent plot species hierarchy stand structure tree diversity tropical forest Western Ghats 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Ayyappan
    • 1
  • N. Parthasarathy
    • 1
  1. 1.Salim Ali School of Ecology and Environmental SciencesPondicherry UniversityPondicherryIndia

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