The present study describes vegetation diversity along an altitudinal gradient in three sites of sub-alpine forests. The altitude of the study sites ranged from 2800 - 3600 m asl and represented a transition from closed canopy temperate forests to open canopy sub-alpine forests. The results revealed that from low to high altitude strata, size and density of trees decline sharply. The density of sapling and seedling do not follow the trend of trees and exhibit site/location specific trends. Shrub and herb also did not exhibit uniform patterns across altitudinal range of the sites. As sub-alpine forests are considered to be potentially prone to the adverse effects of climate change, present study will provide important baseline information for future evaluation of the impact of climate change on sub-alpine forest communities.
Key words: Diversity, timberline, altitude, west Himalaya
SAF- Sub-alpine forest; CBH - Circumference at breast height; ANOVA - Analysis of Variance; TBA - Total basal area.
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