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Timberline structure and woody taxa regeneration towards treeline along latitudinal gradients in Khangchendzonga National Park, Eastern Himalaya

PLoS One, Nov 2018, Vol.13(11), p.e0207762 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Timberline structure and woody taxa regeneration towards treeline along latitudinal gradients in Khangchendzonga National Park, Eastern Himalaya
  • Author: Pandey, Aseesh ; Singh, Surendra
  • Found In: PLoS One, Nov 2018, Vol.13(11), p.e0207762 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: India ; Tibetan Plateau ; Bophr ; BologalDvrty ; SpCompoto ; SpDvrty ; Tmbrl ; DompogOrgaattr ; Hm ; Tr ; Eologalotorg ; ClmatChag ; Doma ; SpCompoto ; Slg ; Trl ; Fort ; SpDvrty ; HtorSt ; Doma ; St ; BologalDvrty ; Slg ; Compoto ; NatoalPark ; Trl ; Taa ; NatoalPark ; Hm ; Bophr ; WorlHrtagAra ; SpatalDrmato ; Bophr ; Fort ; Eoytm ; Eology ; NatoalPark ; Vgtato ; Rgrato ; Fort ; Dfato ; Tr ; StaablDvlopmt ; NatoalPark ; Hm ; CorrlatoAaly ; United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization ; Trees ; Dendrology ; Seedlings ; Species Diversity ; Forests ; Shrubs ; Shannon Index ; Simpson Index
  • Language: English
  • Description: With main purpose of developing a coherent baseline information of timberline forests of Sikkim, Eastern Himalaya, we investigated, (i) forest structure and composition, (ii) regeneration status of dominant timberline tree species between timberline and treeline, (iii) influence of environmental variables in species composition, and (iv) relationship between environmental variables and ecological attributes. The study was conducted along the timberline stretch of Dzongri landscape nested within the Khangchendzonga National Park (UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, 2016), a core zone of Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (in UNESCO WNBRs, 2018), Sikkim, India. We employed quadrat method to sample 9 contiguous sites to capture all possible variations in timberline composition. Transect method was used to study the regeneration of woody taxa between timberline to treeline. In total, 20 woody species belonging to 10 genera and 6 families were recorded. Among these, Abies densa, Rhododendron lanatum and Sorbus microphylla exhibited higher dominance, comprising of 50% of the total importance value index (IVI) weightage. Betula utilis the common treeline species in much of the western and central parts of Himalaya was absent here. Tree density in studied timberline was significantly higher than its western Himalayan counterparts of Indian Himalayan region. Environmental variables viz., elevation, slope, and humus were observed determinants of species composition across the study area. The species dominance correlated negatively (p<0.01; n = 9) with species diversity and richness. We observed an irregular spatial pattern of timberline across the 9 study sites, and the extent of timberline elements (seedling; sapling; live tree or dead tree) ranged between 5.3m to 187.7m higher than the current timberline at different sites. The present trends suggest that upslope advancement is unlikely to occur in near future, while treeline densification is anticipated. Further investigations are suggested to develop a holistic understating of these timberline patterns across the Indian Himalayan region.
  • Identifier: E-ISSN: 19326203 ; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207762

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