EFFECT OF LOGGING ON THE STRUCTURE AND REGENERATION OF IMPORTANT FRUIT BEARING TREES IN A WET EVERGREEN FOREST, SOUTHERN WESTERN GHATS, INDIA
Keywords:Logging effect, population structure, Agasthyamalai, disperser and pollinators
The effect of selective and clearcut logging on stem density and regeneration
of six important resource trees, namely, Cullenia exarillata, Aglaia bourdillonii, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Myrislica dactyloides, Gomphandra coriacea and Palaquium ellipticum, were studied. Forests logged 24 years ago were compared with an unlogged forest. Belt transects (10 x 100 m) were established to enumerate adult trees (>10 cm dbh). Subplots (10 x 10 m) along the belt transects at 0-10,40-50 and 90-100 m were enumerated for saplings (1-10 cm dbh). Adult stem density was significantly lower in both selectively
logged and clearcut logged sites for all species except A. heterophyllus. Palaquium ellipticum was missing in clearcut logged sites. The higher dbh class (>50 cm) remained missing in the logged forests after 24 years. Sapling densities of A. heterophyllus and P. ellipticum were significantly reduced in the selectively logged forests. In the clearcut logged forest, other species had significantly reduced sapling density except A. bourdillonii. Palaquium ellipticum had no saplings in the clearcut logged forest. The adult:sapling ratios were generally high in the unlogged forest. Low adult density and reduced regeneration potential of these species in the logged sites suggest that the
medium elevation evergreen forest at Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve,
Agasthyamalai Range, is degraded by logging.