Establishment and growth of Quercus floribunda seedlings after a mast year



Abstract. Population dynamics, mortality factors, growth and dry weight changes in Quercus floribunda seedlings were studied to determine the implication of sun and shade microsites and the role of mast years on regeneration and maintenance of oak forests in Kumaun Himalaya. The number of seedlings was significantly greater at the sun microsites, but seedling survival was not, as ground herbage clearance at sun microsites accounted for 53.5% mortality. Insect herbivores (e.g. acorn worm) were also one of the major mortality factors. At both microsites, most mortality was encountered between June and August. The initial seedling height at sun microsites was significantly lower compared to shade microsites. Seedlings at sun microsites were superior in terms of number of leaves and peak dry weight. Dry mass allocation in seedling components and root:shoot ratio was similar at both microsites. The study shows the importance of sun microsites and of masting in the potential for regeneration and expansion of Q. floribunda forests.