Tropical Dry Forests: Emerging Features and Ecological Perspectives


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Series: Environmental Research Advances

BISAC: NAT014000

Tropical dry forests (TDFs) constitute one of the most dominant forests, accounting for approximately 45% of all tropical forests. These forests are distributed over an extensive geographical range, spanning large areas of Africa, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific. TDFs occur in severe and extremely variable climate characterized by low annual rainfall and 5-6 months of the dry period within the annual cycle, and nutrient-poor soil. Due to extreme drought conditions, TDFs exhibit deciduousness and various other adaptative features (viz., fire resistance, desiccation tolerance, herbivore defence, high root:shoot ratio, longer seed viability) to establish in the severe environmental conditions, which makes these forests exceptionally critical. These forests are one of the most productive with high biodiversity, but unfortunately, due to persistent anthropogenic pressures in terms of burning, mining, indiscriminate forest cutting, lopping, and increased extraction of non-wood forest products, these forest communities have become one of the most endangered ecosystems.

Disturbances in TDFs have resulted in fragmentation and ecosystem conversion, and therefore, these forests exhibit changes in their biomass and productivity. Anthropogenic pressure is rapidly becoming a growing concern globally due to its negative impacts on the structure and composition of the vegetation. In addition, due to their higher net primary productivity, these forests have a considerable effect on the global carbon cycle. Uncontrolled harvesting for gaining temporal benefits is a major cause of forest destruction and deforestation which may lead to major loss. Deforestation and clearing of forests have resulted in soil erosion, soil degradation and loss of biodiversity, socio-economic damages to food components, water and health, as well as the loss of people’s cultural ethnicity.

In order to assess the conservation status of TDFs, information is required on its distribution pattern, climate, structural and functional traits of the vegetation, phenology, strategies against drought, nutrient deficiency, and disturbances. This book discusses various issues, obstacles and opportunities for protection, regeneration and management of TDFs worldwide, as well as information gaps in the areas referred to above, which may be of critical significance in adapting and mitigating responses to the current climate change scenario.

The book is intended to help in collection of detailed knowledge and to address the concerns from environmental scientists, forestry experts, planners, policymakers and the general public. Starting with a description of plant composition of worldwide TDFs, the book evaluates plant diversity, biomass dynamics, carbon storage, late history and current status of anthropogenic disturbances, distribution pattern of lichen communities, relevance of tree crown architecture, effects of forestry management practices, degradation and traditional land-use practices, impact of changing environment on carbon dynamics, estimating ecosystem services using a geospatial approach, productivity and carbon accumulation, habitat heterogeneity and its impact on organic matter, nutrient pool and nitrogen mineralization, phosphorus and litter decomposability traits. For re-development of TDFs, the book describes improved low-input tree establishment methods, impact of drought and plant mechanisms to mitigate drought stress, importance of serotiny related to delayed seed dispersal, and foraging efficiency of fine roots in relation to carbon dynamics in a changing environment.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Plant Composition of Worldwide Tropical Dry Forests
(G. N. Tanjina Hasnat – Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh)

Chapter 2. Plant Diversity, Biomass Dynamics and Carbon Storage in Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest Ecosystems of Southern Haryana, India
(Vikram Singh and S. R. Gupta – Department of Botany, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, India)

Chapter 3. Late History of Tropical Dry Forests in Colombia: 45 Years of Anthropic Transformation
(Roy González-M. and Camila Pizano – Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos, Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá, Colombia)

Chapter 4. Lichens Distribution Pattern in Tropical Dry Forest: A Case Study from Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Central Western Ghats
(K. S. Vinayaka – Plant Biology Laboratory, Department of Botany, Sri Venkataramana Swamy College, Karnataka, India)

Chapter 5. Relevance of Tree Crown Architecture in Conservation and Management of Dry Tropical Forests
(Jacinta U. Ezenwenyi, Onyekachi Chukwu and Blessing C. Ojomah – Department of Forestry and Wildlife, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria)

Chapter 6. Effects of Forestry Management Practices on Floristic Biodiversity of Dry Deciduous Tropical Forests of Vindhyan Region, India
(Kumud Dubey and K. P. Dubey – Forestry Research Centre for Eco-Rehabilitation, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India, et al.)

Chapter 7. Dry Forest Degradation and Traditional Land-use in the Context of Sustainable Forest Management in Sri Lanka
(W. W. M. Anuradha B. Medawatte, Sudheera M. W. Ranwala, Francis Q. Brearley and Mohamed C. M. Iqbal – Plant and Environmental Sciences, National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, et al.)

Chapter 8. Impact of Changing Environment on Carbon Dynamics in Tropics with Special Focus on Tropical Dry Forest Ecosystems: A Synthesis
(Pardeep Kumar, Abhishek Kumar, Deepika Antil, Meenu Patil and Anand Narain Singh – Soil Ecosystem and Restoration Ecology Lab, Department of Botany, Punjab University, Chandigarh, India)

Chapter 9. Estimating Ecosystem Services Using A Geospatial Approach at the Landscape Level: Experience from Chitwan Annapurna Landscape, Nepal
(Him Lal Shrestha and Kalpana Shrestha – UNIGIS Programme, Kathmandu Forestry College, Kathmandu, Nepal)

Chapter 10. Productivity and Carbon Accumulation in Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest Ecosystem
(Manoj Kumar Jhariya and Lalji Singh – Department of Farm Forestry, Sant Gahira Guru Vishwavidyalaya, Sarguja, India, et al.)

Chapter 11. Habitat Heterogeneity and its Impact on Organic Matter, Nutrient Pool and Nitrogen Mineralization in Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest
(Sajiwan Kumar and Lalji Singh – School of Studies in Forestry & Wildlife, Bastar, Vishwavidyalaya, Jagdalpur, India, et al.)

Chapter 12. Phosphorus and Litter Decomposability Traits in Tropical Forest Ecosystems Under Changing Environment: A Synthesis
(Abhishek Kumar, Meenu Patil, Pardeep Kumar and Anand Narain Singh – Soil Ecosystem and Restoration Ecology Lab, Department of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India)

Chapter 13. Improved Low-Input Tree Establishment with Focus on Direct Seeding Tree Legumes in Landscapes with Dry Forest
(Torsten Mandal – Freelance agronomist and tree-establishment adviser)

Chapter 14. Impact of Drought on Tropical Forests and Plant Mechanism to Mitigate Drought Stress
(K. K. Chandra, Atul Kumar Bhardwaj, Astha Singh and Rajesh Kumar – Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Environmental Sciences, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya (A Central University), Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India)

Chapter 15. Serotiny: An Adaptive Trait Related to Delayed Seed Dispersal
(Manish Mathur – ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, 342003, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India)

Chapter 16. Foraging Efficiency of Fine Roots in Relation to Carbon Dynamics in the Tropical Forest Ecosystems in a Changing Environment: A Synthesis
(Deepika Antil, Pardeep Kumar, Abhishek Kumar, Meenu Patil and Anand Narain Singh – Soil Ecosystem and Restoration Ecology Lab, Department of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India)


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