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Patterns in woody species diversity, richness and partitioning of diversity in forest communities of tropical deciduous forest biome

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The regressive succession model hypothesizes tropical savanna-woodlands to be a degraded stage of primary deciduous forests. Species diversity, richness and evenness of woody species in savanna-woodlands, secondary deciduous forests and mature deciduous forests of central India were compared to test if the regressive succession explained pattern in species richness, diversity, functional diversity and basal area. At the plot scale (0.1 ha) secondary deciduous forests and savanna-woodlands had similar species diversity, a pattern not consistent with the regressive model of deciduous forest succession, and mature deciduous forests had greater species diversity and richness (p<0.05). When examined at a larger scale or community scale by pooling all plots within a community type, the trend in diversity persisted even with greater effort allocated to sampling of secondary deciduous forests. Species richness at the community scale was greatest in secondary deciduous forest as expected from species area relationship. The communities shared 28 woody species but the species composition was significantly different between the communities. I suggest that conservation of tropical deciduous forests based on regressive succession model is problematic.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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