Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Assessing Restoration Potential of Fragmented and Degraded Fagaceae Forests in Meghalaya, North-East India

Version 1 : Received: 5 August 2020 / Approved: 6 August 2020 / Online: 6 August 2020 (05:09:00 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Singh, P.P.; Chakraborty, T.; Dermann, A.; Dermann, F.; Adhikari, D.; Gurung, P.B.; Barik, S.K.; Bauhus, J.; Fassnacht, F.E.; Dey, D.C.; Rösch, C.; Saha, S. Assessing Restoration Potential of Fragmented and Degraded Fagaceae Forests in Meghalaya, North-East India. Forests 2020, 11, 1008. Singh, P.P.; Chakraborty, T.; Dermann, A.; Dermann, F.; Adhikari, D.; Gurung, P.B.; Barik, S.K.; Bauhus, J.; Fassnacht, F.E.; Dey, D.C.; Rösch, C.; Saha, S. Assessing Restoration Potential of Fragmented and Degraded Fagaceae Forests in Meghalaya, North-East India. Forests 2020, 11, 1008.

Journal reference: Forests 2020, 11, 1008
DOI: 10.3390/f11091008

Abstract

The montane subtropical broadleaved humid forests of Meghalaya (Northeast India) are highly diverse and situated at the transition zone between the Eastern Himalayas and Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspots. Fagaceae family are the keystone species forms an important component of these forests. These forests in Meghalaya are highly degraded and fragmented due to anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., mining, unsustainable forest utilization, shifting cultivation, browsing, etc.). In this study, we assessed for the first time, the restoration potential (i.e. capacity to naturally regenerate and sustain desired forest structure) of Fagaceae species (2 Lithocarpus, 4 Castanopsis, and 4 Quercus species) in Meghalaya and how the biotic and abiotic factors, as well as anthropogenic disturbances, influence the restoration potential of these species. We selected fragmented forest patches in six locations on an elevational gradient on south-facing slopes in the Khasi Hills, Meghalaya. Fagaceae was the most dominant family in all sites except one site (Laitkynsew) where Fagaceae was co-dominant with Lauraceae. The family also had high natural regeneration (i.e., a high number of seedlings and saplings) but low recruitment to adult trees (DBH ≥ 10cm) at all sites. This study provides a means for assessing regeneration and a basis for forest management strategies in degraded and fragmented forests of Meghalaya.

Subject Areas

species composition; fagaceae; keystone; restoration potential; anthropogenic disturbance; fragmented forests; coppicing

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