Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Regeneration strategy and plant diversity status in degraded sal forests.

Abstract

The degraded sal forests of north-eastern Uttar Pradesh, India, were observed for the regeneration strategy of constituent woody perennials and the status of resultant plant diversity. The species showing poor sprouting were much greater in number at low disturbance. Conversely, the species showing rich sprouting and ramet formation were much more at high disturbance. The diversity index () was always greater when a genet complex was treated as a single individual than in case when each ramet, distinct at soil surface, was treated as a separate individual. The value of , however, was lower at low disturbance. It is a moot point whether the diversity index should be based on the number of genets (biotypes) or superficially distinct shoots (including ramets) irrespective of their genetic status. The species like Clerodendron infortunatum [Clerodendrum infortunatum], Croton oblongifolius, Mallotus philippensis and Flacourtia indica increased their ramet production with increase in disturbance level, but recurrent disturbance of high intensity affected ramet proliferation quite adversely. Bridelia retusa, Casearia tomentosa and Holarrhena antidysenterica [H. pubescens] produced comparatively much lesser number of ramets per genet. The inter-ramet distances or spacers on rootstock as well as the number of ramets per genet showed significant differences with respect to the level of disturbance. The age structure and spatial pattern of ramet population were also correlated with the level of disturbance. In a forest environment which is too harsh to allow regeneration through seed, a non-seed regeneration of a group of woody perennials may help maintain the minimal vegetation cover and considerable plant diversity. The non-seed regeneration strategy of prolific ramet producers, therefore, shows a promise to the quick recovery of forest ecosystems ravaged by anthropogenic perturbations.