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Keywords:

  • Andhra Pradesh;
  • prescribed burning;
  • red sanders;
  • restoration;
  • silvicultural treatments;
  • tropical dry forest

Red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus L.) is an endangered and endemic tropical tree species from India in need of restoration. This study evaluated options for improving establishment of its advance regeneration in degraded forests. Using randomized complete block design, the effect of silvicultural treatments involving prescribed fire, in combination with disking, singling, disking with singling, and control (no treatment) on survival and growth of advanced regeneration were evaluated for a period of 2 years. Results indicate that the treatments served to ameliorate microsite conditions resulting in better survival and growth. Seedlings with fewer coppice shoots, treatments with a singling component, and treatments with disking component showed better survival and growth. The number and height of other neighboring seedlings and trees also influenced seedling establishment. Seedlings showed significantly higher survival results in the prescribed fire with disking (disking with prescribed burn [DPB]: 96%) and prescribed fires with disking and singling (singling plus disking with prescribed burn [SDPB]: 94%) treatments. Similarly, tall seedlings and those with larger root collar diameters accrued significantly higher volume growth in DPB (87%) and SDPB (97%) treatments. Although seedlings showed similar increments in DPB and SDPB treatments, better survival due to singling indicated the latter as the best option. In dense regeneration areas, preferential treatment of the taller and larger stump-sized seedlings and, in limited regeneration areas that of smaller seedlings, may yield better results. Additionally, removal of competing vegetation and canopy opening may also help establishment of young regeneration. The results of this study have applications for restoration of endangered species in other tropical dry deciduous ecosystems worldwide.