The French Institute of Pondicherry in collaboration with the Karnataka Forest Department, installed permanent sampling plots in the Kadamakal Reserve Forest and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary with the main objective to document, analyses and model forest dynamics.
Ecosystems worldwide are changing as a result of myriad anthropogenic processes viz., deforestation, fragmentation, hunting, changes in CO2 concentrations, increasing temperatures and altered rates of nitrogen deposition etc. It may be easy to measure these physical and chemical drivers with reasonable accuracy and precision. However quantifying possible ecological responses to these drivers is an extremely difficult task. Such effects are best perceived through long-term monitoring of permanent plots in ecological communities. The accumulating literature over the past two decades on the rates of tropical tree growth, mortality and recruitment showed significant changes in the structure and function of mature tropical forests by the close of the twentieth century. Notably tree turnover rates (Phillips 1996) and growth rates in the tropical forests have accelerated over the past decades (Laurence et al., 2004), which are consistent with the hypothesis of increased productivity caused by the rising concentrations CO2 (Lewis 2006). Contrastingly, Feely et al. (2007) documented decelerating growth rates of tropical tree species over the past two decades in the 50 ha forest dynamic plots in Panama and Malaysia. The French Institute of Pondicherry in collaboration with the Karnataka Forest Department, installed permanent sampling plots in the Kadamakal Reserve Forest and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary with the main objective to document, analyses and model forest dynamics.
The principal objectives are:
- to gather baseline information on tree diversity in a logged forest and monitor post-logging forest dynamics,
- to assess tree diversity in a unlogged forest and monitor the natural forest dynamics,
- to compare the demographic processes across spatio-temporal scales in logged and unlogged forests,
- to describe the growth strategies of tree species according to their position at the adult stage in the canopy such as understorey, low-canopy, canopy or emergent species,
- to elucidate and modeling the ecological processes that may interact upon the distribution, abundance and growth of species across spatio-temporal scales in order to draw insights on diversity and coexistence of species in tropical forests,
- to estimate the above ground biomass of tropical evergreen forest
The study area, Uppangala forest is situated in the Kadamakal Reserve Forest (Coorg district) at the foothills of the Western Ghats, located between 12° 33′ N latitude and 75° 39′ E longitude (Fig 1a). The elevation ranges between 400 and 600 m a.s.l. It belongs to the Dipterocarpus indicus–Kingiodendron pinnatum–Humboldtia brunonis type of wet evergreen forests and is a part of the West Coast Tropical Forests of Champion and Seth’s classification. Uppangala receives slightly more than 5100 mm per year and the dry season lasts 4.5 months.