Tree Species Composition and Forest Stratification along the Gradients in the Dry Deciduous Forests of Godavari Valley, Telangana, India

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Abstract

It is important to understand the tree species composition, abundance, species diversity and stratification in tropical dry deciduous forests that are under threat. A quadrat study was attempted in the dry deciduous forests along the ecological gradients in the Godavari Valley of northern Telangana, India. The study records the presence of 110 flowering plant taxa belonging to 82 genera and 37 families in 120 sampled plots, and there was enumeration of 15,192 individuals of ≥10 cm girth at breast height. Tectona grandis (teak) is the principal forest cover component in the region, which often formed pure stands in Adilabad and, to some extent, in Nizamabad districts. Further down to the Warangal district, teak was gradually replaced by Terminalia alata. Twenty tree species were found dominant at one place to the other, and the top 10 dominant taxa have shared nearly 41% of the total density of the forest cover. The tree relative density ranged from 0.007% to 20.84%. The values of Importance Value Index were between 0.245 (12 spp. including some exotics) and 32.6 (teak). These baseline data help to know the change detection along the gradients in the tropical forest ecosystem of a major river valley in the region and the drivers of change

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