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title: Recruitment of saplings in active tea plantations of the Nilgiri Mountains: Implications for restoration ecology
author: Mohandass, D.;  Chhabra, Tarun;  Pannu, Ramneek Singh;  Beng, Kingsly Chuo
Issued Date: 2016
Abstract: Restoration and reforestation of montane forests (sholas) constitute a major challenge in open, degraded and plantation areas in the upper Nilgiri Mountains, southern India. Recent studies have reported that exotic and tea plantations enhance natural regeneration of native species. In this study, we selected three treatments (thinned, unthinned and control) and established four 40 x 40 m (0.16 ha) plots as follows: one in a Thinned treatment (TP), two in an Unthinned treatment (UNT1 and UNT2) and one in a control treatment. The thinned and unthinned treatments were established in tea plantations while the control treatment was in a nearby shola nature reserve. Overall, a total of 635 sapling individuals belonging to 38 species, 31 genera and 22 families were recovered in all four plots. Species richness and stem density were lower while mean sapling height was higher in the thinned and unthinned treatments than in the control. The thinned and unthinned treatments shared only eight (21 %) species, indicating low spatial turnover. Berberis tinctoria Lesch. Daphniphyllum neilgherrense (Wight) K. Rosenthal., Neolitsea cassia (L.) Kosterm and Ligustrum perrottetii A. DC. were the most dominant species in the thinned and unthinned treatments. Litsea glabrata Gamble was the most dominant species in the control plot. Among the pioneers, most species (74 %) were shade tolerant while 26 % of the species were light tolerant. Bird dispersal (39 +/- 12.02 %) was significantly higher than Mammal/Anemochory/Autochory. Random spatial distribution (58 %) was higher than clumped distribution (48 %) but the difference was not significant. Species diversity was significantly correlated among treatment plots. We, therefore, concluded that proper management of tea plantations facilitates regeneration of woody species of sholas and good recruitment of their seedlings into saplings were influenced by biotic dispersal. In addition, our results suggest that shola woody saplings growing in active tea plantations might be early successional species, thus making these species more effective for restoration of shola ecosystems.
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Recommended Citation:
Mohandass, D.,Chhabra, Tarun,Pannu, Ramneek Singh,et al. Recruitment Of Saplings In Active Tea Plantations Of The Nilgiri Mountains: Implications For Restoration Ecology[J]. Tropical Ecology,2016,57(1):101-118.

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