Diversity, population structures and dispersion pattern of woody plants were investigated with respect to elevation gradient in Dakshina Kannada District of Karnataka, Western Ghat. A total of 112 species of the girth>10cm at breast height belonging to 78 genera and 36 families were enumerated. Vateria Indica L. dominates both in medium and lower elevation regions. Euphorbiaceae and Lauraceae, with 9 species each, were the most dominant families, but based on the family importance value, Dipterocarpaceae dominates the stand. The height class distribution revealed that average height of the canopy was more in medium elevation region compared to lower elevation region.

Out of 112 species recorded, 41 species were endemic to Western Ghats and the percentage of endemic was greater in medium elevation region (42.42%) then the lower elevation region (36.36%). A positive correlation was observed between endemic and evergreen plants. Clumped pattern of dispersion was observed in dominant species of both elevation regions, but percentage of clumping is relatively more in medium elevation region.

Originally Written by: M.S.Shashi Kumar, Shashidhara J.S, L. Purushothama.

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