Woody species diversity from proposed ecologically sensitive area of northern Western Ghats: implications for biodiversity management

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M. Tadwalkar
A. Joglekar
Monali Mhaskar
A. Patwardhan


The Western Ghats of India support an array of tropical forests ranging from wet evergreen to scrub formations.  Several endemic and threatened plant species are located in areas other than protected areas (PAs).  There is an urgent need to understand species diversity in areas other than PAs, for effective management of tropical forests.  In this context, reserve forests and informal PAs of Amboli from northern Western Ghats have been investigated. Woody species composition, diversity, and stand structure were assessed by laying quadrats and transects (n=46, area=2.575ha) in closed and open canopy forest patches covering habitat heterogeneity and environmental gradient of the area. A total of 2,224 individuals (of 87 species, 68 genera, and 35 families) was enumerated.  Memecylon umbellatum, Syzygium cumini, and Diospyros nigrescens were found to be the most dominant species as per importance value index.  Melastomataceae was the most dominant family as per family importance value, whereas Euphorbiaceae and Rutaceae were the most speciose.  Fourteen IUCN Red List assessed species and 18 species endemic to the Western Ghats were encountered.  Endemic species accounted for nearly 20% of the total number of individuals sampled.  Demographic profile exhibited reverse ‘J’ pattern.  Average basal area was 27.02m2 per hectare. Woody species diversity of Amboli forests was found comparable with other PAs from northern Western Ghats.  Amboli and the adjoining area have been proposed as ecologically sensitive and in the wake of anthropogenic and developmental pressures they experience, it calls for urgent conservation attention.

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