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Carbon stock dynamics in the tropical rain forests of the Uttara Kannada district, Western Ghats, India

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Carbon stock dynamics was monitored in the Uttara Kannada district, Western Ghats, India, for ten years on eight one-hectare sampling areas belonging to different management and forest categories. The study was initiated in 1984 and the area was monitored until 1994. Our study indicates that, in general, the carbon stock has enhanced during the study period with an average growth of 1.008 t/ha/year. However, there were differences in carbon stocks in different management regimes. The minor forests that are subjected to intense human pressures had a negative growth rate, i.e. 0.237 t/ha/year, while the reserve forests have a carbon assimilation rate of 1.31 t/ha/year. This indicates that human pressure has certainly decreased the carbon accumulation in the forests of Uttara Kannada. Despite the anthropogenic pressure, the minor forests have higher carbon accumulation through recruits as compared to the reserve forests. Thus it is suggested that a management strategy is needed to look into enhancing recruitment patterns in the minor forests which would become future carbon stocks.

Keywords: carbon stock dynamics, tropical rain forests, Uttara Kannada, Western Ghats, India

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