Forest stand structure and composition in 96 sites along environmental gradients in the central Western Ghats of India
This data set reports woody plant species abundances in a network of 96 sampling sites spread across 22 000 km2 in the central Western Ghats region, Karnataka, India (74°15′–75°40′ E; 15°15′–13°30′ N). Due to its varied climate and diverse topography, the study area, which is part of the Western Ghats–Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot, supports a wide array of non-equatorial tropical habitats including wet evergreen, moist and dry deciduous, and intact as well as degraded forests and scrublands. These formations, floristically moderately rich and diversified, are characterized by a lower rate of endemism than in the southern part of the Western Ghats. This data paper provides abundance and girth data for 76 813 trees and lianas of 446 species collected in 96 sampling sites during 1996–1997. A total of 61 965 individuals ≥10-cm girth at breast height (gbh) were recorded in 96 1-ha macroplots, while 14 848 individuals <10 cm gbh, but >1 m height, were sampled in three 0.1-ha microplots located within each macroplot. Additional data regarding the stand structure (average canopy height, percent canopy cover, number of strata) and the level of degradation are available for the macroplots, along with environmental data derived from other sources and analyses, such as soil types, rainfall, length of the dry season, and altitude. These data have been used to produce ecological research papers, as well as to elaborate conservation value maps and recommendations toward sustainable management of the forests of the central Western Ghats region.
The complete data sets corresponding to abstracts published in the Data Papers section of the journal are published electronically in Ecological Archives at 〈http://esapubs.org/archive〉. (The accession number for each Data Paper is given directly beneath the title.)