Under-storey vegetation of forest plantations in N-W India - an Ecological Economic Assessment

Jalota, R. K. ; Sangha, K. K. ; Kohli, R. K. (2000) Under-storey vegetation of forest plantations in N-W India - an Ecological Economic Assessment Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants, 1 (1-2). pp. 115-124. ISSN 1511-8525

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A study was conducted to evaluate the ecological as well as monetary potential of wild plants occurring in pure plantations of exotic Eucalyptus tereticornis, Prosopis juliflora, and native Dalbergia sissoo and mixed culture of D. sissoo+E. tereticornis in Haryana, India, in terms of 5 major uses: food, fuel, fodder, medicine and soil stabilization. The plant diversity on the floor of a plantation is a direct indicator of sustainability. Mixed culture of D. sissoo and E. tereticornis exhibited more diversity of species on its floor compared to monocultures of E. tereticornis and P. juliflora. The biomass production (136.48 gm/m2) in D. sissoo plantation revealed a healthy growth of understorey vegetation, which was approximately 21.06 and 3 times better than that of E. tereticornis and P. juliflora, respectively. While the mixed culture plantations possessed a much higher biomass production value (627.73 gm/m2). Only Chenopodium album exhibited variety of uses (food, fodder, medicine and soil stability) out of all the plants found on the floor of E. tereticornis plantations. On the floor of P. juliflora plantation, the maximum uses were found in Dactyloctenium aegyptium and Dichanthium annulatum for fuel, fodder and soil stability. The scenario was quite different in case of indigenous Dalbergia sissoo plantations. Out of the 25 species, 10 carried food value, 9 had fuel, 16 had fodder and all the species contributed to soil stability. Boerhavia diffusa revealed the capacity to carry potential value for the 5 uses. In mixed culture plantations, out of 20 species, 6 had value, 18 had medicinal importance and all contributed for soil stabilization. The maximum monetary value was seen in case of C. album, for food, fodder, medicine and soil stability. Maximum total monetary value was obtained in Dalbergia sissoo and E. tereticornis mixed culture plantations.

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