Title: Greater biodiversity in regenerated native tropical dry evergreen forest compared to non-native Acacia regeneration in Southeastern India
Authors: Christopher Frignoca; John McCarthy; Aviram Rozin; Leonard Reitsma
Addresses: Deparment of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA ' Deparment of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA ' Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India ' Department of Biological Sciences, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA
Abstract: The 20 km-50 km-wide belt of tropical dry evergreen forest inland from the southeastern coastline of India has undergone biodiversity loss due to timber harvest and agriculture in the last 200 years. Reforestation restores ecosystem function and increases population sizes and diversity. Sadhana Forest reforested an area of 28 ha and replenished the water table through intensive soil moisture conservation. Results show rapid growth of planted native species and germination of two species of dormant Acacia seeds. Using standardised inventory methods, we documented 75 bird, eight mammal, 12 reptile, five amphibian, 55 invertebrate species, and 22 invertebrate orders. Bird abundance at point count stations, invertebrate sweep net captures and leaf count detections, and Odonate and Lepidopteran visual detections along fixed-paced transects were significantly greater in areas with native plants. Sadhana Forest's reforestation demonstrates the potential to restore ecosystems and replenish water tables, vital components to reversing ecosystem degradation, and corroborates reforestation efforts in other regions of the world.
Keywords: reforestation; water conservation; forest regeneration; biodiversity; tropical dry evergreen forest; TDEF; Tamil Nadu; India.
Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2021 Vol.21 No.1, pp.1 - 18
Accepted: 15 Jan 2021
Published online: 26 Mar 2021 *