Under-planting Native Tree Species in Karnataka's Acacia auriculiformis Stands
This study presents the relative success of species planted in plots to inform decisions about how to plan uneven-age restoration silviculture under certain conditions. The forests of the Western Ghats are some of the most diverse and productive in the world. However, the forests have been degraded from the extraction of high-quality timber, and more recently from fuelwood extraction and for tea and coffee plantations. In response to this, the Karnataka Forest Department embarked on a program of restoration of lands that were converted to agriculture and then abandoned. The Karnataka Forest Department established research plots in acacia plantations and planted native species in a two-aged, multi-species form of silviculture. With the goal of guiding future silviculture, this study revisited and measured some of those plots to determine which species had been the most productive in terms of basal area.
Key findings from the study include::
At the plot-level, more time between planting acacia and under-planting is beneficial for the under-planted species.
There are clearly more productive and less productive species when under-planted, in terms of basal area relative to the expectations of the group.
The study suggests that such long-term experiments are useful for forest managers, and that though long-term management decisions can be improved with information such as from this study, they will only be successful if shared goals are clearly articulated and established based on broad-based stakeholder consultation.