Tree Diversity and Their Regeneration in the Sacred Groves of Virajpet, Central Western Ghats, India
Sacred groves are one of the finest examples of informal way of conserving the forest wealth. Baseline data collection of their diversity, distribution and regeneration capacity becomes necessary for the management and conservation of these undisturbed forest patches. In this context, the present investigation was carried out using random quadrat method in the sacred groves of Virajpet, Karnataka, India. A total of 132 tree species belonging to 113 genera and 45 families were identified within five sacred groves. Higher basal area (51.73-85.65 m2/ha) and tree density (453.33-515.9 individuals/ha) were observed as compared to other forests of Western Ghats region. The present investigation has revealed a healthy regeneration of tree species. Seedling and sapling composition differed to some extent from the mature tree species composition which could be used in predicting the future possibilities. Protection and conservation of such sacred groves should be of interest, for better regeneration of the rich diversity they harbour.
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