Sachin Medigeshi Harish

The drivers of population structure and community dynamics of dry forests in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Tiger Reserve (BRT) in Southern India

Sachin M.H., Ganesan R. and Dayanandan S. 

In the tropics, regional scale events will have profound impact on the structure and dynamics of forests. We examined the influence of anthropogenic disturbance, land use patterns and climatic events on the dynamics of dry forests and scrublands managed by the indigenous community and the Forest Department of the government of India.  We analysed the census data of 13146 stems ≥1cm diameter at breast height distributed in ten 1-ha plots measured at five-year intervals from 2002 to 2017.  In the dry deciduous (DF) and scrub (SF) forests, the mortality rates were higher and recruitment rates were lower during the first term (2002-07) than second term (2007-11). This can be attributed to drought prevalent in southern India during 2004-05. The group of species that experienced high mortality at sapling stage were different from the group of species with high mortality at the adult stage in both forest types. Our data suggest multiple factors including past forest management practices and drought may have influenced the community dynamics and population structure in dry forests.