Seedling dynamics and community forecast for disturbed forests of the Western Himalayas: a multivariate analysis

Khan A. (2020): Seedling dynamics and community forecast for disturbed forests of the Western Himalayas: a multivariate analysis. J. For. Sci., 66: 383–392.

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The present study focuses on the forest structure of highly disturbed sites in Western Himalayan regions in Pakistan. In this study, the regeneration potential of conifer species is a key point for the assessment of future conifer status in disturbed environment by employing multivariate techniques. The forests are composed of four conifer species Pinus wallichiana A. B. Jacks, Pinus roxburghii Sarg., Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G. Don, and Abies pindrow (Royle ex D. Don) Royle., associated with broadleaved species Quercus baloot Griffith, Quercus dilatata Raf., and Aesculus indica (Wall. ex Cambess.) Hook. Cluster analysis shows five groups when Pinus wallichiana (PW) forms the largest group, incorporates with other conifers and broadleaved species and in some cases it overlaps with its subgroups forming a pure larger group. Similarly in DCA (ordination) overlapping exists in all the axes while elevation is the only variable that shows a highly significant (P < 0.001) correlation with conifers. Cedrus deodara (CD) with Quercus baloot (QB) and Aesculus indica (AI) shares a significant (P < 0.05) correlation in the same habitat while there is no correlation between the remaining conifers. It is anticipated that overlapping in cluster analysis and ordination and non-significant correlations in cluster analysis and ordination are due to the highly disturbed nature of the sites. It is also suggested that seedling recruitment and development are highly affected due to the anthropogenic disturbance. Therefore, proper maintenance of the forest, proper management and conservational practice should be imposed. 

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