Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2021, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (1): 1-10.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.001

• Forest Ecosystem •     Next Articles

Implications of Anthropogenic Disturbances for Species Diversity, Recruitment and Carbon Density in the Mid-hills Forests of Nepal

Hari Prasad PANDEY*()   

  1. Ministry of Forests and Environment, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
  • Received:2020-07-18 Accepted:2020-09-07 Online:2021-01-30 Published:2021-03-30
  • Contact: Hari Prasad PANDEY

Abstract:

Almost three-fourths of forests are experiencing anthropogenic disturbances globally, and more than two-thirds of the forests in Nepal receive different types of disturbances. In community forests (CFs), local communities are dependent on the ecosystem services provided by the forests for various aspects of their livelihoods, which disturb the forests’ natural conditions and ecosystem functioning in a variety of ways. This study tested the major disturbance factors that had influential roles on plant species diversity, recruitment (seedlings and saplings), biomass, soil organic carbon (SOC) and total carbon density in two community-managed forests in the Mid-hills of Nepal. The stump number, cut-off seedlings and saplings, lopping, dropping, and grazing/trampling were used as measures of the major anthropogenic disturbances. The necessary data were collected from 89 randomly selected sample plots, each with an area of 250 m2. The responses to anthropogenic disturbances were analyzed using Generalized Linear Models (GLM). The results showed that forest lopping was the most significant anthropogenic disturbance for biomass and total carbon density balance. A higher degree of lopping in the forests resulted in a lowering of the forests' carbon stock in the study area. SOC showed no significant response to any of the tested anthropogenic disturbances. Woody species richness and number of saplings increased with an increasing number of stumps, which signifies that intermediate disturbance was beneficial. However, a higher intensity of lopping reduced the sapling density. Grazing/trampling was the most significant disturbance for inhibiting seedling growth. Areas in the forests with a higher intensity of trampling showed lower numbers of seedlings and saplings. These results will be a guide for managing anthropogenic disturbances in multiple-use forests in Nepal, as well as those in similar socio-economic environments worldwide.

Key words: anthropogenic disturbance, biomass, carbon density, community-managed forest, seedlings and saplings, woody plants’ diversity