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Exotic Gmelina arborea Roxb. plantation supports better understory plant diversity than native Nauclea orientalis (L.) plantation 30 years after their establishment in a watershed area in Southern Philippines

Research Paper | August 1, 2017

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Jupiter V. Casas, Adrian M. Tulod, Lowell G. Aribal, Jose Hermis P. Patricio

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.11( 2), 134-147, August 2017


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Native tree plantations are often preferred as nurse vegetation to facilitate succession as they are assumed to have favorable habitat for native species regeneration than exotic stands.. To ascertain this, we characterized the respective attributes of exotic Gmelina (Gmelina arborea Roxb., Lamiaceae) and native Bangkal (Nauclea orientalis L., Rubiaceae) plantations in terms of canopy structure, understory biomass and soil attributes; and relate these to the diversity and number of regenerating woody species in each stand. We found that exotic Gmelina plantation had significantly better species diversity(H = 1.06 ± 0.10) and species richness(42 species, 959 individuals)than Bangkal(H= 0.52 ± 0.27, 9 species, 584 indivisials). Majority of the species found in Gmelina are trees (64%), while Bangkal was dominated (90%) by herbaceous plants. Themore dense canopy structure in terms of canopy height (36.79 ± 12.37) in Gmelina in comparison to Bangkal (19.61 ± 0.75) appearedto favor woody species regeneration, thus suppressing the possible invasion by herbaceous plants. In contrast, the better soil CEC in Bangkal plantation (i.e. 51.00 ± 8.23 vs 40.20 ± 3.66 in Gmelina) has favored the growth of herbaceous plants and resulted to arrested succession.Thus, our findings suggest that exotic-based tree plantations in the country can beimportant successional sites and are not at all detrimental to biodiversity conservation as commonly perceived. Moreover, it is possible that without active interventions to accelerate the growth of native woody regeneration, succession in tree planrations can be vulnerable to invasionby herbaceous plants over time.


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Exotic Gmelina arborea Roxb. plantation supports better understory plant diversity than native Nauclea orientalis (L.) plantation 30 years after their establishment in a watershed area in Southern Philippines

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