Rehabilitation of degraded tropical forests in India's Western Ghats: silvicultural and socio-economic implications of m...


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Rehabilitation of degraded tropical forests in India's Western Ghats: silvicultural and socio-economic implications of multiple species plantations
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svi, 199 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Flickinger, Donald Ian, 1956-
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Forests and forestry -- India   ( lcsh )
Geography thesis, Ph.D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Geography -- UF   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1997.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 190-198).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Donald Ian Flickinger.
General Note:
General Note:

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Copyright 1997


Donald Ian Flickinger

With the base of ignorance, reaction arises; with the base

of reaction, consciousness arises; with the base of

consciousness, mind and body arise; with the base of mind and

body, the six senses arise; with the base of the six senses,

contact arises; with the base of contact, sensation arises; with

the base of sensation, craving and aversion arise; with the base

of craving and aversion, attachment arises; with the base of

attachment, the process of becoming arises; with the base of the

process of becoming, birth arises; with the base of birth, aging

and death arise, together with sorrow, lamentation, physical and

mental sufferings and tribulations. Thus arises the entire mass

of suffering.

With the complete eradication and cessation of ignorance,

reaction ceases; with the cessation of reaction, consciousness

ceases; with the cessation of consciousness, mind and body cease;

with the cessation of mind and body, the six senses cease; with

the cessation of the six senses, contact ceases; with the

cessation of contact, sensation ceases; with the cessation of

sensation, craving and aversion cease; with the cessation of

craving and aversion, attachment ceases; with the cessation of

attachment, the process of becoming ceases; with the cessation of

the process of becoming, birth ceases; with the cessation of

birth, aging and death cease, together with sorrow, lamentation,

physical and mental sufferings and tribulations. Thus this entire

mass of suffering ceases.

Paticca-samuppada Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya, XII (I). 1.


I wish to thank Volunteers in Asia, Inc., Stanford,

California, for posting me in Southeast Asia as an appropriate

technology volunteer, spurring my interest in community resource

work. My professional association with Yayasan Dian Desa

Foundation staff in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and British Oxfam,

Oxford, England, exposed me to technical and administrative

approaches that encourage greater choice and self-sufficiency in

local communities.

The desire to improve my skills as a community worker

brought me back to the United States to pursue graduate

education. At the University of Florida Nigel Smith, Jack Putz,

Abe Goldman, Cesar Caviedes, Marc McLean, Seth Bigelow, and my

graduate peers in the Department of Geography have all assisted

and encouraged me to finish this work.

The kind support of the Fulbright Foundation in India,

Karnataka Forest Department's Y. N. Yelappa Reddy, and my friends

C. Saibaba, Vimla, Pandurang Hegde, Mumta Hegde, Malti Hegde, and

Satish Hegde made my field research in India both possible and

personally rewarding.

My wife, Jennifer Silveira, marked the path to completion of

this work by her own example.

The practice of Vipasana Meditation as taught by S. N.

Goenka has strengthened my sense of humility, acceptance, and

goodwill toward others.

Finally, the memory of my mother, Jane Slusser Flickinger,

and her life-long application of those adages pretty is as pretty

does, and if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at

all strengthens my efforts to pass these pearls on to my sons,

Parker and Whitney.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............... .................. .............. iv

LIST OF TABLES .................................. .............. ix

LIST OF FIGURES ................. ............... .............. xii

INTRODUCTION ................. ..... ...... ....................1
Forest Rehabilitation and the Needs of Forest-Dependent
Communities: A Dual Research Agenda .......................3
The Research Area .............................................7
Multiple Species Plantations (MSPs) .........................10
Gender and Caste-based Analysis of Forest Resource Use ......13
Village Study Area ..........................................15

(MSPs):THE SILVICULTURAL STUDY ..............................17
Tree Seedlings and the Forest Understory ...................17
Silvicultural Study Focus ...................................21

Research Area Selection ......................................26
Research Site Selection .....................................28
Silvicultural Experiment Design .............................32
Plant Selection and Imposition of Experimental Treatments ...35
Plot Maintenance ............................................39
Plant Harvesting, Processing and Measurement ................ 40
Calibration Estimates Requiring Destructive Measurements ....41

INTRODUCTION .................................................45
Seedling Growth Rates During Monsoon versus Dry Seasons .....45
Experimental Plant Damage and Measurement Problems .......... 46
Shoot and Root Collar Relative Growth Rate (RGR) Results .... 48
Discussion: Ecological Potential of MSPs ....................56
Local Misgivings about MSPs: Reduced Biodiversity and
Forest Reservation .......................................59

LOCAL EXCLUSION ..............................................62
The Historical Context ......................................63
British Colonial Administration of Indian Forest
Resources.................... .................... 65
Ecology and Aesthetics of Forests: Colonial
Perceptions .................... .....................70

Local Resistance to Capitalization of Forests ..........71
Management of Indian forests in the early 20th
Century ................ .............................72
Post-Colonial Management of Forest Resources .............74
Capitalization of Indian Forest Resources: An Analytical
Framework .................................................77
Forest Policy and Management in Northwestern Karnataka
State ..................................................... 80
Pushing Back the Forest Frontier: Forest Encroachment
in Sirsi Taluk..........................................84
Conclusion ...................................................86

Introduction ..................................................88
The Forest Resource Use Study: A Two-Tiered Approach ........89
Hypotheses of Caste, Gender, and Age to be Tested by the
Surveys ................. ...................................90
The Baseline Survey ............................ .............91
Creation and Administration of the Baseline Survey ....... 91
Caste Groups ..............................................94
Ham lets .............................. .....................96
Gender ....................................................96
Age ................. ...................................... 97
Marital Status ............................................98
Literacy ..................................... ............. 98
Land Ownership, Employment, and Land Encroachment .......100
House and Roof Type ......................................105
Income ............ ..................................... 105
Livestock Ownership ................................... 106
Collection of Non-Timber Forest Products ................107
Table 6-11--continued .... ............................ 110
Fuelwood ..............................................112
Leaves ................................................113
Fruits .................................................116
Mushrooms................................................. 117
Date Palm..............................................118
Disappearing Forest Products ............................118
Local Perceptions of Multiple Species Plantations
(MSPs) ............................................ 120
Perceived Need for Local Forests ........................122
Locally Popular Tree Species ............................123
Suggested Future Reforestation Methodologies ............125

SURVEY ............. ........................................128
Introduction .................................... ... ....... 128
Forest Products Use Survey Data Collection .................129
Forest Products Use Survey Data Analysis Tools and
Procedures ........................................... 131
Similarity Matrices .....................................132
Hierarchical Clustering .................................133
Multidimensional Scaling ................................134
Consensus Analysis ......................................135
Forest Products Use Survey Results ......................... 138


Plant Identification ....................................138
Priority Use of Plants ..................................146
Plant Versatility (Number of plant uses) ................151
Plant Usefulness .........................................157
Plant Abundance ..........................................163
Discussion of Survey Results ...............................165

Introduction ................................................168
Participatory Research in Forest Planning and Management ...168
Using Spatial Information to Catalyze Local Participation ..171
Community-Based Natural Resource Management: An Applied
Scenario ................................................. 172


INDIA .......................................................177


VILLAGE, NORTH KANARA, KARNATAKA, INDIA .................... 180

LIST OF REFERENCES .............................. ............. 190

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................... 199



Table page

Table 1-1 Native hardwood species often incorporated into
Multiple Species Plantations (MSPs) .........................11

Table 3-1 Sirsi Forest Division plantations: number of
plantations planted from 1987-1991 ...........................29

Table 3-2 Local names of 1988-91 research plots located
within each of 4 research blocks ............................ 30

Table 3-3 Number of treatments assigned to experimental
units in 1988 MSP plots .................................... 33

Table 3-4 Number of treatments assigned to experimental
units in 1989 and 1990 MSP plots ............................33

Table 3-5 Regressions used to estimate 1990 Lagerstroemia
lanceolata and Terminalia tomentosa seedling shoot dry
weights at the start of the experiment .....................43

Table 4-1 Percentage of annual seedling shoot growth
occurring during monsoon versus dry season, n=174 ........... 46

Table 4-2 Comparative growth of 16 seedlings grown with and
without matrix trees in multiple species plantations ........ 57

Table 6-2 Age distribution, by 10-year intervals, of
baseline survey informants ..................................98

Table 6-3 Distribution of households in which all females
are literate, by caste ..................................... 99

Table 6-4 Distribution of households in which all females
or all males are illiterate, by caste .......................100

Table 6-5 Land ownership and forest use rights by caste
family .......................................................101

Table 6-6 Distribution of employment by caste ................102

Table 6-7 Distribution of unskilled laborers, by caste and
gender ..................................................... 103

Table 6-8 Distribution of Gaonthana use and land
encroachment, by caste .................................... 104

Table 6-9 Distribution of annual household income in Indian
Rupees, by caste ...........................................106

Table 6-10 Distribution of average number of 4 types of
livestock, by caste family .................................107

Table 6-11 Priority forest products, months) collected,
forest type where collected, and number of times
mentioned, by caste ................... ..................... 109

Table 6-12 Numbers and percentage of female and male
informants that collect priority forest products ...........112

Table 6-13 Fuelwood collection by gender and caste ...........112

Table 6-14 Average annual fuelwood collection in kilograms
and cartloads, by caste household ..........................113

Table 6-15 Collection of green leaf fodder, by caste and
gender ..................................................... 114

Table 6-16 Average annual green leaf collection in
kilograms, for the 2 major leaf-collecting castes ..........115

Table 6-17 Dry leaf collection by caste and gender ........... 115

Table 6-18 Average annual dry leaf collection in kilograms,
for the 2 major leaf-collecting castes .....................116

Table 6-19 Collection of 6 popular species of fruit, by
caste ................... .................................. 116

Table 6-20 Mushroom Collection, by caste .....................117

Table 6-21 Date palm collection, by caste .................... 118

Table 6-22 Increasingly scarce forest products ...............119

Table 6-23 Reasons cited why 10 forest products are
becoming locally scarce, by caste ..........................120

Table 6-24 Local opinions about MSPs .........................121

Table 6-25 Local opinions about MSPs versus minor forests .... 122

Table 6-26 Perceptions about the utility of local forests ....123

Table 6-27 Tree species most requested for inclusion in
future reforestation programs, and their use ...............124

Table 6-28 Local recommendations for siting of future
reforestation programs, by caste ...........................125

Table 6-29 Local recommendations for implementation
strategy of future reforestation programs, by caste ........126

Table 7-1 Consensus analysis of informant identification of
65 plants, by caste .................... ....................143

Table 7-2 Knowledge coefficient of informants in
identifying 65 local plants with respect to caste,
gender, and age class ......................................146

Table 7-3 Informants' knowledge coefficients of the
priority use of recognized plants, by caste and gender .....150

Table 7-4 Consensus analysis of informant knowledge of
plant versatility, by caste ................................153

Table 7-5 Informants' knowledge coefficients of versatility
of recognized plants by caste, gender, and age .............154

Table 7-6 Knowledge coefficients of versatility of
recognized plants, by caste, for Havik Brahmins ............ 157

Table 7-7 Consensus analysis of perceived usefulness of
recognized plants, by caste ................................160

Table 7-8 Knowledge coefficients of perceived usefulness of
recognized plants, by caste and gender .....................161

Table 7-9 Rankings and usefulness scores of the most useful
survey plants, according to survey informants ..............162

Table 7-10 Knowledge coefficients of perceived local
abundance of recognized plant species by caste, gender,
and age .................... ........... ....................... 164

Table 7-1 Plant species included in a survey of local
vegetation resources obtained from minor forests of North
Kanara District, Karnataka, India ...........................177


Figure page

Figure 1-1 Uttara Kanada (North Kanara) District,
Karnataka, India .............................................. 8

Figure 1-2 Forest types and forest conversion, Uttara
Kanada District, Karnataka, India ............................9

Figure 3-1 Location of research blocks and Uttara Kanada
cities ....................................................... 31

Figure 3-2 Silviculture experiment design: blocks, whole
plots, and split plots .......................................33

Figure 3-3 Comparison of control and combined soil
trenching-canopy guying treatments applied in 1991 to
one, two, and three year old plantations ....................36

Figure 3-4 Destructive seedling harvest plan used to
estimate shoot biomass of 1, 2, and 3 year-old seedlings
at the start of the 1991-92 study ...........................42

Figure 4-1 Shoot extension comparison of Terminalia
tomentosa and Lagerstroemia lanceolata 1, 2, and 3
years after outplanting into MSPs ...........................49

Figure 4-2 Root collar area growth comparison of Terminalia
tomentosa and Lagerstroemia lanceolata 1, 2, and 3
years after outplanting into MSPs ...........................49

Figure 4-3 Shoot dry weight increment comparison of
Terminalia tomentosa and Lagerstroemia lanceolata 1, 2,
and 3 years after outplanting into MSPs ..................... 50

Figure 4-4 Shoot extension of Lagerstroemia lanceolata 1,
2, and 3 years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench & Guy
(T + G) vs Control (Ctrl) ...................................51

Figure 4-5 Shoot extension of Terminalia tomentosa 1, 2,
and 3 years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench & Guy (T
+ G) vs Control (Ctrl) ......................................51

Figure 4-6 Root collar area growth of Terminalia tomentosa
1, 2, and 3 years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench &
Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl) ............................... 52

Figure 4-7 Root collar area growth of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata 1, 2, and 3 years after outplanting into
MSPs, Trench & Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl) ................53

Figure 4-8 Shoot dry weight increment of Terminalia
tomentosa 1, 2, and 3 years after outplanting into
MSPs, Trench & Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl) ................53

Figure 4-9 Shoot dry weight increment of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata 1, 2, and 3 years after outplanting into
MSPs, Trench & Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl) ................54

Figure 4-10 Shoot extension of Lagerstroemia lanceolata 3
years after outplanting, trench and guy vs trench vs guy
vs control vs NPK treatments ................................55

Figure 4-11 Root collar area growth of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata 3 years after outplanting, trench and guy vs
trench vs guy vs control vs NPK treatments ..................55

Figure 4-12 Shoot dry weight increment of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata 3 years after outplanting, trench and guy vs
trench vs guy vs control vs NPK treatments ..................56

Figure 7-1 A similarity matrix of plant identification, by
gender, for Havik Brahmin informants .......................133

Figure 7-2 Plant identification, by caste, using
multidimensional scaling ................................. 139

Figure 7-3 Plant identification, by gender, using
multidimensional scaling ...................................140

Figure 7-4 Plant identification, by ten-year age classes,
using multidimensional scaling .............................141

Figure 7-5 Plant identification by caste, gender, and age
classes using hierarchical clustering ......................142

Figure 7-6 Priority use of recognized plants, by caste,
using multidimensional scaling .............................147

Figure 7-7 Priority use of recognized plants, by gender,
using multidimensional scaling .............................149

Figure 7-8 Plant versatility, or number of uses tallied for
recognized plants, by caste, using multidimensional
scaling .................. .. ...............................151

Figure 7-9 Plant versatility, or number of uses tallied for
recognized plants, by gender, using multidimensional
scaling ...................................................... 152


Figure 7-10 Plant versatility, or number of uses tallied
for recognized plants, by gender, for Havik Brahmins,
using multidimensional scaling .............................155

Figure 7-11 Number of uses tallied for recognized plants,
by gender, for Havik Brahmins, using hierarchical
clustering .................... .................... .........156

Figure 7-12 Perceived usefulness of recognized plants, by
caste, using multidimensional scaling ......................158

Figure 7-13 Perceived usefulness of recognized plants, by
gender, using multidimensional scaling .....................159

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Donald Ian Flickinger

December, 1997

Chairman: Nigel J. H. Smith
Major Department: Geography

This research examines the role of multiple species

plantations (MSPs) in rehabilitation of Indian tropical moist

deciduous forests, as evaluated by both silvicultural and

community resource use criteria.

The silvicultural study investigates the effects of tree

species and duration of exposure to understory conditions on

shoot growth rates of underplanted tree seedlings. An initial

survey conducted in 1990 evaluated shoot height and basal area

growth rates of native hardwood seedlings after one, two, and

three years of exposure understory conditions in MSPs. Local

foresters' opinions about the shade/understory tolerance of many

native tree species was also solicited. Using the information, I

selected one understory-tolerant and one understory-intolerant

species for experimental study. Seedlings of these two species


were experimentally released after one, two, and three years of

growth beneath MSPs, and their growth rates measured during one

year after release. Growth rates of unreleased control seedlings

were also measured over the same one year period. In a second

experiment I compared the relative effects of aboveground and

belowground competition on shoot growth rates of the understory-

tolerant species. The relative effect of soil fertility on

seedling shoot growth was also assessed.

The effect of state-managed MSP programs on gender, caste,

and age-based use of forest resources forms the forest resource

use component of this research. Historical development,

ownership, and use of India's timber and non-timber resources in

northwestern Karnataka State are first described. Contemporary

attitudes towards and use of non-timber forest resources in minor

forests before and after their conversion to MSPs are then

disaggregated by gender, caste, and age. Differential effects of

modern state reforestation programs on local resource user groups

of interest are derived from two community surveys. Gender and

caste-based non-timber resource use priorities that have been

neglected in previous state reforestation programs are

identified. Joint state forest department-local community

negotiations centered on collection, presentation, and analysis

of spatial data are introduced as a strategy to catalyze and

guide future forest resource use decision making.


This work was stimulated by the notion that degraded

tropical forest systems can and should be rehabilitated according

to ecological principles, without imposing economic hardship on

forest-dependent people in the process. While instances of

promising tropical reforestation efforts are frequently cited

(e.g., Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

1989, Agarwal and Narain 1989, Cernea 1985, Murray 1983, Nesmith

1991, Poffenberger 1990), until recently few programs have

emphasized the role of local forest dwellers in program

conception, implementation, or enjoyment of the benefits they

produce (Ayuwat 1993, Dhar et al. 1990, Malhorta and Poffenburger

1989, Noronha and Spears 1985, Pathan et al. 1990, Singh 1987).

How then can reforestation programs in the tropics be

ecologically sound while meeting the needs of local people? This

two-part question guides the study that follows.

To address both parts of this question field research site

selection had to be limited to areas where forest rehabilitation

efforts were already underway, and in proximity to rural forest-

dependent communities. A two-year search led to the selection of

a reforestation site in India's Western Ghats where the

application of a dual ecology/community welfare research agenda

was deemed feasible. The area is Karnataka State's Uttara Kanada

(North Kanara) District, where a multiple species plantation

(MSP) reforestation program is underway. A decade of Karnataka

Forest Department (KFD) refinement of MSP techniques over

thousands of hectares in North Kanara District was already

producing both silvicultural and ecological impacts when this

research began in mid-1991.

Two separate but linked sets of research questions were

formulated to address the ecological and community welfare

impacts of forest rehabilitation using MSP silviculture. The

initial focus of this work was to document and test the degree to

which MSPs facilitate recovery of North Kanara's tropical moist

deciduous forests. The complementary focus centered on two

surveys about local perceptions of forest resources and the

effect of MSP silviculture on forest-dependent communities in

North Kanara.

This research concludes by identifying several ecological

merits of MSPs, while documenting that MSPs are often disliked,

or at least misunderstood, by local forest dwellers. Local

perceptions are shown to vary according to survey informants'

caste, gender, and sometimes age. Conclusions drawn from the

social surveys provide a framework for understanding differences

in local perceptions about forest resources, how they are

utilized, and local recommendations for forest rehabilitation.

The remainder of this introductory chapter describes my

silvicultural and social survey research agendas, how they are

related, and the questions that have guided both inquiries. It

also describes the research area, the MSP silvicultural system,

and Terkanahalli Village where forest resource-use survey data

were collected.

Chapters 2 through 4 describe the relevance and specific

aims of the silvicultural study, study design and implementation,

and study results and associated ecological impacts of MSPs,


Chapter 5 reviews the historical conflict between the Indian

state and local communities over forest resources. Chapters 6

and 7 describe the development of two community forest resource-

use surveys, their implementation, and presentation and

discussion of survey responses.

Chapter 8 presents a spatial approach to participatory

decision-making about future forest resource use. Joint forest

department/local community workshops emphasizing the collection,

presentation, and analysis of spatial data are introduced as a

strategy to catalyze and guide collaborative forest resource

management. The ideas for this approach evolved from my

collaboration with both foresters and local people in carrying

out this dual research agenda.

Forest Rehabilitation and the Needs of Forest-Dependent
Communities: A Dual Research Agenda

The ecological importance of Indian forests, their

protection and rehabilitation, and the undesirable consequences

of their disappearance (Bentley et al. 1987) are well-understood

by those who live near the remaining tropical forests of

peninsular India (Nair 1984). During the 1980s, concern over the

effects of deforestation of India's watersheds spurred

international financing of social forestry programs to reforest

45 million hectares (ha) of degraded Indian uplands. Total

recommended outlays to protect India's tropical forest resources

amounted to US$ 1.2 billion for 1987-91, or 23 percent of

investments recommended to save tropical forests worldwide (World

Resources Institute 1985). The primary operational response of

Indian state governments to shrinking forest areas has been the

conversion of degraded forest lands into plantations. By 1990,

India boasted 18,900,000 ha of plantations: a figure that

continued to increase by 1,441,000 ha annually during the early

1990s (World Resources Institute 1994). This represents the

largest commitment to plantation silviculture in the tropics.

Reforestation efforts notwithstanding, annual rates of

deforestation in India increased steadily during the 1980s:

339,000 ha/year for the decade versus 147,000 ha/year for the

period 1981-85 (World Resources Institute 1994). Menon (1986)

calculated that deforestation rates in the Trichur region of the

southern Western Ghats accelerated by 50% between the years 1960

and 1984, compared to 23% for the years from 1930 to 1960. This

loss has amounted to a cumulative contraction of Trichur's forest

area from 392 km2 in 1930 to 130 km in 1984.

Concern about Western Ghats deforestation spawned a

Karnataka Forestry Department (KFD) initiative in 1982 to

rehabilitate deforested sites in an ecologically sound and

socially beneficial way (Shyam Sunder et al. 1986). Local

foresters call these replanted areas "miscellaneous plantations",

but I have named them multiple species plantations (MSPs) because

the technique comprises simultaneous outplanting of numerous

native hardwood tree species with faster-growing, nitrogen-

fixing, naturalized tree species on degraded sites. These sites

are usually located within KFD jurisdictional zones called minor

forests: areas where local people have historical non-timber

usufruct rights (see Chapter 5 for the history of minor forest

designation and utilization). Recurrent, income-generating

thinnings of the fast-growing overstory species begin in the

seventh year after outplanting. These thinnings progressively

remove MSP canopy trees, releasing companion saplings from a

shaded understory environment.

Both state foresters and local people have a stake in the

successful rehabilitation of degraded forests by using MSP

silviculture. Foresters hope to quickly establish several

valuable hardwood tree species on non-productive state forest

lands, while generating income from commercial thinnings. Local

people are the designated beneficiaries of fuelwood, branches,

and mulch resulting from plantation thinning operations (Shyam

Sunder et al. 1986). If workable, this sharing of benefits will

promote the popularity and future success of MSP programs among

Karnataka's foresters and villagers alike.

Have MSPs performed as intended since their inception,

providing expected benefits to both villagers and foresters? Do

MSPs produce undesirable outcomes? And, if so, can MSP

silviculture be improved to enhance benefits to both of these

groups, and to the Indian environment? These questions guide

both the silvicultural and community forest resource-use portions

of this study.

The study's silvicultural component focuses on the effects

of species and duration of understory exposure (i.e., how long

native hardwood seedlings have been growing beneath a canopy of

faster-growing trees) on understory seedlings' shoot growth rates

before and after canopy removal. Relative growth rate data,

interviews, and personal field observations are used to

distinguish the growth characteristics and temporal differences

in understory tolerance of two native hardwood species. One

species is characterized as tolerant of understory conditions,

while the other is less-tolerant (Kadambi 1956). Study results

point to management guidelines that maximize seedlings' growth

rates after outplanting in MSPs.

The effects of state-managed MSP programs on caste, gender,

and, in some cases, age-based use of forests guide the forest

resource-use survey component of this research. Historical

development, ownership, and use of India's timber and non-timber

resources describe the setting in which two surveys were made.

Current local knowledge and perceptions of non-timber resources

are then analyzed by caste, gender, and age in both surveys one

of 122 and the other of 37 rural informants. These surveys

highlight how knowledge of forest resources and perceptions about

MSPs vary according to these three variables. The surveys pay

special attention to perceptions about unrehabilitated minor

forests. Minor forests have been historically available to local

people for utilization of non-timber resources. Today they are

uniformly degraded, making them prime candidate sites for

government MSP reforestation programs.

The Research Area

The research area is within the Sirsi Forest Division, a

management unit in the Kanara Forest Circle of the Karnataka

Forest Department (KFD), Uttara Kanada District, India (see
Figure 1-1). This Forest Circle contains 8,800 km of state-

managed reserved forest (14-15 o N, 75 o E), with elevations

ranging from 450-900 m above sea level. The seven month monsoon

brings 1700-2100 mm of precipitation, mostly between June and

September. Mean annual temperature is 27 OC, mean temperature of

the coldest month is 24.5 OC, and the mean minimum daily

temperature of the coldest month is 19 OC (Pascal 1988). The

"Dharwad System" is the name given to the ancient, metalliferous

metamorphic rock that underlies the research area. It is rich in

iron, manganese, and in some locations in copper, lead, and gold.

This matrix rock is derived from "ancient sediments -

conglomerates, more or less ferruginous quartzites, greywackes,

schists and limestone" (Pascal 1988: 5). A heterogeneous mixture

of gneiss and different kinds of intrusive granites also dot the

Karnataka Plateau.

Area soils have been classified as eutric nitosols (FAO

World Soils Map 1988), or alfisols (Sanchez 1976), and are often

paleustalfs, due to their deep argillic horizons and the

influence of pronounced wet and dry season moisture fluctuations.

Uttara Kanada District, India

O 100000w

Figure 1-1. Uttara Kanada (North Kanara) District, Karnataka, India

Uttara Kanada District, India
Forest Types and Forest Conversion

Figure 1-2. Forest types and forest conversion, Uttara Kanada District, Karnataka, India
Source: Karnataka Forest Department, Maps Division, Aranya Bhavan, Bangalore

Forest/Landuse Tpe


2f0rmland/ antitions

0) 20 40

The largest urban center in the Sirsi Forest Division is

Sirsi Town. Sirsi and its surroundings had about 40,000

inhabitants in 1981: a figure that grew to 80,000 by 1992 (Sirsi

Tax Collector's Office, pers. com.). Sirsi had a population
density of 100-200 persons per km in the mid-1980s (Pascal

1988). Numerous villages dot the countryside outside of Sirsi,

each bordered by state reserved forest lands. Terkanahalli

Village, where the forest resource use surveys were carried out,

is located six km east of Sirsi along Banvasi Road. By Indian

standards, Sirsi's environs are not densely populated, helping to

explain why three-fourths of this hilly region is still forested

(see Figure 1-2).

Multiple Species Plantations (MSPs)

In 1982, Karnataka State Forester A. N. Yellappa Reddy

led KFD foresters in adopting MSP silviculture as a promising

strategy to rehabilitate degraded forests in northwestern

Karnataka. Degraded minor forests are prime candidates for MSP

silviculture, because they demonstrate limited ability to

naturally regenerate themselves under present use regimes. After

being bounded by cattle-exclusion trenches and receiving

transplantation holes with downslope water collection pits, these

areas are planted with nursery-grown seedlings of Acacia

auriculiformis, Casuarina equisetifolia, or a mixture of these

naturalized species. Inter-seedling spacing has varied over the

years from one to three meters (10,000 to 1089 stems/ha),

according to local site conditions and management objectives.

Both species are known for their rapid initial growth, fuel wood

quality, wide range of soil pH tolerance, drought-hardiness, and

their ability to fix nitrogen (Davidson et al. 1989, Midgley and

Vivekanandan 1986). What distinguishes MSP silviculture is the

simultaneous planting of native tropical hardwood species (see

Table 1-1) with one or both of these nitrogen-fixing species,

hence the term multiple species plantations.

Table 1-1. Native hardwood species often incorporated into
Multiple Species Plantations (MSPs)

Species Name Family Local Name

Spondias pinnata Anacardiaceae umba'da, hog plum

Wrightia tinctoria Apocynaceae hale, dhantappala

Stereospermum xylocarpum Bignoniaceae kharisingha, pannimuringa

Bombax ceiba Bombacaceae kapok, semul

Cordia McCloudii Boraginaceae hadanga

Anogeissus latifolia Combretaceae dindal, njama

Terminalia arjuna Combretaceae hole matti, kulamaruthu

Terminalia balerica Combretaceae tare', thaanni, myrobalan

Terminalia paniculata Combretaceae kindal, pullamaruthu

Terminalia tomentosa Combretaceae mutti, karimaruthu,

Albizia procera Fabaceae siris, jalavaka

Dalbergia latifolia Fabaceae sisum, veeti, rosewood

Emblica officinalis Fabaceae nelli, myrobalam

Ougenia dalbergioides Fabaceae karimut'tul

Pterocarpus marsupium Fabaceae honne', venga, bijasal

Table 1-1-continued

Species Name Family Local Name

Xylia xylocarpa Fabaceae jamba, irul

Lagerstroemia flosreginae Lythraceae holedasal, jarul

Lagerstroemia lanceolata Lythraceae nundi, venteak

Syzygium cumuni Myrtaceae neral, neralu

Adina cordifolia Rubiaceae heddi, haldu

Mitragyna parviflora Rubiaceae kalum, nirkadambu

Sapindus emarginata Sapindaceae antualah, ritha, soapnut

Grewia tiliafolia Tiliaceae dardussal, dhaman

Gmelina arborea Verbenaceae shivani, gamari

Tectona grandis Verbenaceae sagowanni, thekku

Vitex ultisima Verbenaceae bharanugi, myla, milla

Presumably, the faster-growing Acacia and Casuarina seedlings

create a protective understory environment for hardwood seedling

establishment and growth, while themselves becoming a source of

fuelwood and poles. Commercial thinning of Acacia and Casuarina

begins approximately seven years after outplanting. Each

successive thinning provides enhanced growing space, releasing

hardwood species in the plantation understories. The

silvicultural prescription calls for removal of all Acacia and

Casuarina by about the fifteenth year. Due to the initial

crowding, the residual mixed stand contains hardwood saplings and

poles with straight boles. This MSP approach is favored over

planting of native hardwoods alone on exposed mineral soil, since

the absence of Acacia and/or Casuarina has often resulted in

mortality or slowed stem growth of seedlings. Unsuccessful state

forest plantations seen by the author at Thirthalli, Karnataka

clearly make this point.

Analysis of Sirsi Forest Division office records indicates

that from 1984-1992 over 12,000 ha of degraded forests received

MSP treatment in the Division. Eighty percent of these MSPs

occur on a portion of the Division's 45,000 ha classified as

minor forest lands. The remaining MSPs are located within

degraded parts of reserve forests. This planting effort covers

30 percent of the total area of previously degraded forests in

the Division. Approximately 12,000 ha of degraded forests remain

targeted for MSPs. Another 12,000 ha are not sufficiently

degraded to warrant MSP treatment at present. Three thousand

hectares of degraded forest will not receive MSPs, at the request

of local forest dwellers. Explanations for this local attitude

towards MSPs will be considered in Chapters 6 through 8 the

forest resource use portion of this study.

Gender and Caste-based Analysis of Forest Resource Use

In their analysis of environmentally sound and participatory

development, Agarwal and Narain (1989) redefine rural Indian

poverty not as a shortage of cash, but as a shortage of biomass

resources to meet basic survival needs. These authors document

absolute reductions in biomass productivity over India's non-

agricultural lands, contributing to increased poverty among rural


Rural women, being the primary managers and processors of

biomass resources for subsistence, are often the most immediate

victims of deforestation in and around Indian villages (VIKSAT

1990). Women often have the greatest practical knowledge of

local biomass resources (Rocheleau 1988, Molnar and Schreiber

1989, FAO 1989), yet are seldom consulted about reforestation

projects intended to benefit their families (FAO 1983, Hoskins

1983, Rocheleau 1988, Spring 1988, Williams 1985, Nesmith 1991,

Shiva 1988). To become socially-oriented, forestry programs must

therefore expand their focus beyond productivity issues to

include program impacts on local users of forest resources,

particularly women. Women may be excluded from joining forestry

programs due to gender-based biases of extension methods (Spring

1988), or because socio-economic constraints make their

participation difficult (Hoskins 1983). Such barriers to women's

participation must be recognized and consciously addressed if

programs are to accommodate all local people.

As with gender, people may be differentially affected by

forestry programs on the basis of caste or ethnicity. Caste-

based response to MSPs is variable, and is predicated on inter-

caste differences in forest resource knowledge and use. Gadgil

(1989) describes these caste-based differences in the region of

this study, where he found that nine endogamous caste groups have

diversified and partitioned their use of forest resources. He

cites the following examples: Chamagars make mats and brooms from

Phoenix palms; Badigars and Holeswars make baskets and rope from

Dendrocalamus strictis bamboo; Gudigars use sandalwood and other

tree species in woodcarving; Achari use different tree species

than Gudigars to make tool handles; Holeya make fishing tackle

using Hemidesmus indicus; and Maratha and Jadamalli make brooms

from Lantana camera. Forestry program impacts within particular

caste groups are also expected to differ with respect to gender.

In some situations a person's age may shape his/her knowledge and

opinions about forest resources and their rehabilitation.

This study employs two survey instruments to distinguish

differences in local knowledge and use of minor forests, both

before and after they are converted to MSPs. The surveys also

encourage informants to recommend ways to address their needs

when they are adversely affected by MSPs. Together the two

surveys attempted to

1) Identify caste and gender-based differences in local
community knowledge and use of non-timber forest

2) Identify groups of interest that benefit the most from
MSP programs, those groups that benefit the least, and
those that remain unaffected;

3) Determine whether MSPs provide enhanced benefits to
local gender and caste-based groups when compared to
unrehabilitated minor forest lands;

4) Explore how MSP silviculture and management can be
altered to benefit critically affected gender and caste
groups, those whose subsistence derives from access to
and use of forest resources.

Village Study Area

The multi-caste village of Terkanahalli was selected for

study of local forest resource use practices. Terkanahalli lies

six km east of Sirsi Town on the Banvasi Road. The Sirsi Taluk

Revenue Department maintains birth, death, and land deed records

dating from 1825 of the original inhabitants of Terkanahalli

Village. A temple there, consecrated to Virabhadra, resembles

the architectural style of Belur and Halibid Temples, ca. 1100.

This indicates ancient settlement of the site.

The village proper is divided into eight residential

groupings, or hamlets, the largest being Terkanahalli Gram.

Fourteen caste groups reside in Terkanahalli, making it a mixed-

caste village. In 1992, 140 families lived in all of the hamlets,

122 of which were included in the forest products use survey. The

average local landholding was approximately 1.0 1.2 ha. More

than 50 percent of all families were landless, and therefore

normally worked as agricultural laborers for land-owning families

or the KFD. Some landless people also worked in nearby Sirsi.

The largest landholding in the area was a joint family holding of

15 acres. The owners were absentee residents of Sirsi Town.

MSPs are found throughout Terkanahalli, the oldest having

been planted in 1987. Villagers are therefore familiar with this

silvicultural innovation of the KFD. While local opinions vary

concerning the specific impacts of MSPs on village life, there is

consensus that MSPs are speeding the depletion of valuable non-

timber forest resources. Reduced biodiversity and

tenure/usufruct explanations for this loss clearly emerge from

the community forest resource use study. Remedies to this

problem are suggested by survey informants, and these form the

basis for a participatory forest resource management model

presented in the concluding chapter of this dissertation.


In this chapter I describe the relevance of Karnataka's MSPs

to growth studies of tree seedlings in a forest understory

environment. Both theoretical and practical aspects of seedling

shoot growth beneath a forest canopy are reviewed, emphasizing

effects of extended exposure to understory conditions. This

leads to the specific focus of this study: the effect of

different periods of exposure to understory conditions on shoot

growth rates of two tropical tree species. How varying periods

of understory exposure might affect seedling shoot growth after

release from understory conditions is also discussed. Finally, I

present a series of research questions that relate duration of

understory exposure, species type, and experimental release from

understory conditions to seedling shoot growth rates over a 12

month research period.

Tree Seedlings and the Forest Understory

The forest understory environment presents both

opportunities and challenges to young tree seedlings. Short-

lived opportunistic light-demanders, longer-lived light-demanders

(Schulz 1960), and some primary forest species cannot germinate

or survive in an understory environment. Many primary forest

species do, however, benefit from canopy shade during their

establishment phase (Bazzaz 1980). Large vapor pressure

deficits, desiccating winds, extreme temperatures, and radiation

loads are reduced beneath the forest canopy. Understory

conditions allow shade-tolerant seedlings to establish root

systems that can support further growth of photosynthetic stem

tissue. Once established, however, seedling growth rates in the

understory inevitably slow as a result of competition from

neighboring trees (Marquis 1981, Shukla and Ramakrishnan 1984)

and herbaceous vegetation (Krajicek 1975). Canopy thinning

studies have yielded a doubling in stem growth rates of seedlings

and saplings two to three years after release treatments (Erdmann

and Peterson 1972), but may also have the inverse effect of

depressing height growth (Erdmann et al. 1975) in favor of

diameter growth depending on the amount of canopy removal.

Removal of canopy trees may also result in seedling stress

or even mortality if exposure occurs too abruptly or if seedlings

are insufficiently established. This shock effect is often

because the ratio of root absorbing surface to transpiring

surface (fine root:leaf surface ratio) suitable for shaded

conditions does not increase quickly enough to replace shoot

transpiration losses (Kramer and Koslowshi 1979) after release.

A seedling water deficit develops, causing stomatal closure and a

decrease in carbon fixation; the reduced capacity for

transpirational cooling can also result in heat stress and death.

Shelterwood and related silvicultural systems are based on

the incremental removal of canopy trees to attenuate

environmental stresses on seedlings that occur with instantaneous

release. Support for this silvicultural approach comes from

Marquis (1982), who found that Allegheny hardwood seedlings

originating under shelterwood canopies survived overstory removal

better than seedlings from natural closed stands. He also

recommended that seedlings in natural stands should be at least

three years old and 10 to 15 cm tall to survive after release by

clearcutting. Seedling age on shelterwood sites, in contrast,

had no effect seedlings survival after canopy removal.

With some notable exceptions, such as Betula alleghaniensis

in the Great Lakes region and Tsuga heterophylla in the Cascade

Range of North America (Eyre and Zillgitt 1953), sustained

exposure to understory conditions is usually disadvantageous to

tree seedlings. Suppressed seedlings suffer increased pest

attack and/or fungal decay as they lose vigor (Erdmann 1979).

They may also be overtopped by more shade-tolerant species. In

Michigan, Acer saccharum (sugar maple) outgrew B. alleghaniensis

(yellow birch) after 23 years of suppression (Eyre and Zillgitt

1953). Enhanced growth of understory seedlings in response to

release diminishes with age (Marquis 1982). Even though 16-65

year old birch still responded to release (Erdmann and Peterson

1972), trees less than 16 years old had faster growth rates after


Residual effects of prolonged exposure to understory

conditions have silvicultural implications. In particular,

silviculturists need to know how well understory tree seedlings

recover and grow after release from varying periods of growth

suppression. Forest economists explore this question in

practical terms when evaluating precommercial thinning


if precommercially released trees consistently grow
larger in average diameter at breast height (DBH) than
nonreleased trees, does this diameter increase at an
early age result in the released trees maturing at a
significantly earlier age than nonreleased trees? If
true, this could result in shorter rotations, and with
shorter rotations, economic evaluations may become
more favorable to applying crop-tree release
treatment. (Smith and Lamson 1983:3)

If the effect of duration of suppression on seedling shoot growth

rates is known, silviculturists can define appropriate species-

based rules for seedling release treatments. This, in turn,

would hasten the re-establishment of native hardwood forests on

degraded sites which is the long-term objective of Karnataka

foresters in establishing MSPs on minor forest sites.

MSPs offer unique opportunities to investigate the effects

of species and duration of understory exposure on shoot growth

rates of understory seedlings in tropical forests. Several

silvicultural attributes of MSPs make this possible:

1) size-graded seedlings representing more than 20 native
species and two naturized nitrogen-fixing species were
used to reforest two percent of state forestlands in
the research area each year from 1982-1991, totaling 20
million seedlings over 12,000 ha;

2) understory seedlings comprise several known age
classes, and were growing beneath MSP canopies for
known periods of time;

3) overstory stand conditions are as uniform as plantation
silviculture permits (i.e. similar overstory species,
grown at similar planting densities, on similar soils,

in the same climatic region), to minimize extraneous

4) canopy tree spacing and size in one, two, and three
year old plantations permitted manipulation of canopy
openness via canopy tree with ropes;

5) soil conditions and tree spacing permitted 0.60 m deep
trenching of at least 3.2 m2 of ground surface
surrounding target seedlings;

6) plantation stands are normally well-protected by the
local forestry department from theft, arson, and damage
from cattle.

Previous studies have been designed to assess the relative

effects of root versus shoot competition on woody plant growth

using partitioned release experiments (e.g., Christy 1986, Horn

1985, Putz 1992, Putz and Canham 1992, Shainsky and Radosevich

1986, Strothman 1967, Wilson 1988, Zeide 1980). I know of no

studies that have addressed the effects of duration of exposure

to competition on subsequent growth rates of released woody

perennial species (but see Shukla and Ramakrishnan 1984).

Silvicultural Study Focus

This study assesses how shoot relative growth rates (Shipley

1989) of two species of tropical seedlings change during

increasing periods of exposure to understory conditions, and

after experimental release from them. Release treatments include

soil trenching (T), canopy guying (G), and trenching and guying

(T + G) combined. The following questions served to guide this

study, and define hypotheses for investigation.

1) Do increasing periods of exposure to understory
conditions slow growth rates of the two understory
seedling species of interest?

2) Do growth rates of a reputedly suppression/shade-
tolerant species stabilize, while growth rates of a
reputedly less shade-tolerant species continue to slow
with increasing periods of continuous understory

3) What is the effect of one, two, and three years of
continuous understory exposure on within species and
between species seedling growth rates in the first year
after release from understory conditions?

4) Does belowground competition inhibit growth rates of
understory seedlings more than aboveground competition
when understory exposure time is held constant?

Question 1) can be addressed by within-species comparisons

of seedling shoot growth rates for control treatments in plots of

increasing age address. As more numerous, faster-growing,

nitrogen-fixing trees progressively occupy growing space above

ground and below ground in MSPs, shoot growth rates of understory

seedlings are expected to slow, regardless of species. When tree

canopies begin to overlap and root systems intermingle,

competition for shared space, light, nutrients, and moisture

inevitably begins. Slowed shoot growth of understory seedlings,

when it does occurs, can serve as a marker of the intensification

of resource competition. The search for this horizon of

competition can begin in the youngest MSPs those that are one,

two, and three years old. Four year old canopy trees are too

large to receive experimental treatments. This study was

therefore limited to one, two, and three year old MSPs.

Branches of adjacent seedlings planted at 3 m spacings

remained completely separated during the first year of MSP

establishment. I assumed that intermingling of root systems was

also limited during this first year. During the second and third

years, however, MSP canopies can reach heights of six to seven m

and close. Trenching similarly revealed that by the second year,

lateral roots of neighboring seedlings intermingle. If, however,

understory seedling shoot growth fails to slow during MSPs'

second or third year, it may be that growth is merely reallocated

- such as to greater shoot the expense of diameter

growth. Comparison of shoot height and root collar stem diameter

growth data provided information about allocation of growth in

understory seedlings.

Conversely, fast-growing overstory trees may create

beneficial growing conditions for young understory seedlings.

Increased litter accumulation, nitrogen fixation, and retention

of soil moisture provide explanations for such ameliorated

conditions. Many local foresters maintain that MSPs enhance

survival and early growth of understory seedlings. My

observations at several area plantations lacking fast-growing

matrix species supported their claim. Sustained or enhanced

shoot growth of understory seedlings in this experiment would

further substantiate the early beneficial effects of MSPs.

Question 2) can be addressed by between-species comparisons

of seedling shoot growth rates for control treatments in plots of

increasing age. Shoot growth responses are expected to be

species-specific as MSPs age as mediated by a species'

tolerance of understory conditions. For example, shoot growth

rates of a reputedly understory/shade-intolerant species should

slow as MSP overstory trees mature, while growth of more shade-

tolerant species should vary less or stabilize. Due to its

limited time horizon, this study is unable to measure any

slowdown in shoot growth of the understory-intolerant species

occurring beyond a MSP's third year.

Question 3 can be addressed by within-species and between-

species comparisons of seedling shoot growth rates for trench and

guy (T+G) release treatments in stands of increasing age. In the

first year after experimental release from one, two, and three

years in the MSP understory, each species is expected to achieve

enhanced shoot growth over that of controls for that species for

the same year. Within-species shoot growth is also expected to

increase uniformly after release, regardless of understory

exposure time. Recovery capacity of young seedlings,

particularly understory-tolerant species, should not be altered

by understory exposure that varies by only one to three years.

Even the less understory-tolerant species should recover

uniformly from these small differences in understory exposure

time. Most seedlings sustain understory exposures much longer

than three years in natural forests, and still respond to growth

opportunities provided by the death of overstory trees (Hartshorn

1982). Shoot growth of the less-tolerant species should,

however, respond more favorably to release treatment than does

the more tolerant species, due to the former's adaptive

preference for open, unimpeded growing space.

Question 4) can be addressed by comparison of growth

responses to factorial treatments (i.e., control, trench, guy,

trench and guy) and one further contrast (NPK fertilization) -

the extent to which aboveground and/or belowground factors

inhibit understory seedling shoot growth in MSPs. This factorial

experiment was imposed only on the more understory/shade-tolerant

species in the oldest (three years) MSPs, assuming that similar

results could then be expected for less-tolerant species.

The research area's pronounced wet and dry monsoon climate

produces a marked growing season from June to December, followed

by a drought semi-deciduous/dormant season from January to May.

Seedlings in forest nurseries grow quickly during the hot, dry

months only because irrigation is provided. Year-round canopy

openness from nine to 37 percent and abundant sunflecks beneath

the oldest MSPs studied lead to the prediction that soil moisture

limits understory seedling shoot growth rather than sunlight.

Enhanced evapo-transpiration caused by canopy guying (G) should

therefore limit seedling shoot growth, not soil trenching (T).

Nearly all MSPs are located on paleustalf soils (FAO World

Soils Map 1988) having litter layers that thicken to 3-7 cm by a

plantation's third year. Organic matter in the top 10 cm of 12

MSP soils varied from 2.0 to 7.3 percent by soil weight, and

averaged 3.1 percent (Walkley-Black dichromate methodology, IFAS

Analytical Research Laboratory, University of Florida). All

macro and micro-nutrients were found to be in sufficient supply

for plant growth. The NPK treatment is therefore not expected to

increase the shoot growth of understory seedlings.


In this chapter I describe the silvicultural study.

Formulation and implementation of my research plan evolved from a

1990 tour of northwestern Karnataka's Sirsi Forest Division.

Experimental species and research sites selected for execution of

the plan are discussed. I then describe the process of

experimental plant selection, imposition of experimental

treatments, plot maintenance during the 1991-92 research year,

and final plant harvest and processing procedures. Finally, I

describe calibration harvests that were used to estimate initial

shoot dry weights of experimental plants that were not

destructively harvested until the end of the year-long


Research Area Selection

I visited 12 Multiple Species Plantation (MSP) plots during

a January 1990 tour of the Sirsi Forest Division. Increases in

shoot height and root collar basal area were easily distinguished

among native tree seedlings that had been growing one, two, or

three years within MSPs. These observations were discussed with

local foresters, and their opinions about the relative shade or

understory tolerance of many native tree species were noted.

There was agreement that all species achieve maximum growth when

growing in forest gaps or openings, but that some species

tolerate shade better than others. The most frequently planted

species were classified as either "shade tolerant" or "shade

intolerant". Shade-tolerant species included Lagerstroemia

lanceolata (nundi), Terminalia paniculata, and Dalbergia

latifolia. Terminalia tomentosa (mutti) and Pterocarpus

marsupium were considered more shade-intolerant species.

Proposed experimental treatments of tree seedlings in MSP

understories were tested using canopy guying and soil trenching

techniques. Guying involved pulling back and securing all canopy

trees that overtopped a target tree. This procedure was tested

in a three-year old MSP and found to be feasible. To test

proposed soil trenching techniques, two-year old L. lanceolata

and T. tomentosa seedlings were transplanted into 60 X 60 X 60 cm

pits in the Kalve Nursery of Sirsi Forest Division. The sides of

these pits were lined with 30 guage plastic sheeting (Biradar

Plastics, Malmaddi, Dharwad 580 007 India). Excavation of these

trenches 17 months later was done to assess possible confounding

effects of plastic root barriers on seedling root growth in

planned experimental trenching treatments. All five T. tomentosa

and five L. lanceolata seedlings survived this soil trenching

pre-test. Both species more than tripled in stem height,

indicating that changes in shoot growth would be distinguishable

after a 12 month study. Excavation of roots indicated that

lateral roots of four seedlings had extended to the plastic

barriers and were growing along them. The distance between

plastic barriers and seedling bases was therefore increased to

one m, in experimental trenching treatments. Excavation also

showed that the 30 guage plastic used as root barriers around the

seedlings had partially deteriorated after 17 months under

ground. I therefore chose to use thicker, 60 guage plastic

sheeting in all trenching treatments.

Trenching and guying preliminary studies convinced me that

these treatments could be successfully imposed on one, two, and

three year-old MSP plots available in the Sirsi Forest Division.

There was insufficient time during this initial visit to select

specific tree species or MSP plots for the field study.

Research Site Selection

In early May 1991, Sirsi Forest Division officers provided

information about all plantation plots within their five

jurisdictional forest ranges. These plots ranged in size from

five to 90 ha, with an average area of 25 ha. It soon became

clear that plots planted prior to 1987 could not be considered

for this study. From 1982 to 1986 MSP silviculture had evolved

by trial and error, and was not consistent in its application.

Plots were few and scattered, while the types of species used and

their planting densities were not uniform. Karnataka Forest

Department Officers S.S. Hegde and S.D. Sumshekar tallied all 315

forest division plantation plots planted from 1987 through 1991.

Numbers of new plots planted each year from 1987-1991 appear in

Table 3-1.

Table 3-1. Sirsi Forest Division plantations: number of
plantations planted from 1987-1991
YEAR PLANTED 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
PLOTS PLANTED 72 40 73 80 50

Two hundred three of these stands were located in minor forest

areas, 106 stands were in reserve forests, and six stands were in

forests where local spice garden owners have historical tree

lopping privileges so-called soppina betta forests. Two

hundred seventy-nine of these stands are true MSPs, while 36

stands were planted with either Bambusa spp. (bamboo), Santalam

album (sandalwood), Acacia auriculiformis (acacia), Casuarina

equisetifolia (Australian pine), or a limited number of native


All 279 MSP stands were considered for their suitability as

experimental plots. Most were undesirable for the purposes of

this research due to one or more of the following: individual

stands were isolated from other MSPs; seedling density was too

low, or seedling mortality was too great; locally abundant

species of seedings were not commonly found in other MSPs;

faster-growing canopy species were uncommon or irregularly

spaced; residual trees with spreading canopies were too abundant;

micro-climatic irregularities of slope, aspect, or soil rendered

plots atypical; or, tree seedlings were sometimes damaged by

excessive cattle and/or human disturbance.

From a candidate list of five geographical areas or blocks,

four were chosen Siddupur, Hunsekopp, Aksal, and Heggekopp (see

Figure 3-1). Hunsekopp and Aksal blocks are west and north of

Sirsi Town, respectively. Siddapur and Heggekopp blocks are both

south of Siddapur Town. The fifth, Hulekal block contained too

many large residual trees for inclusion and was rejected. The

four acceptable blocks had similar seedling spacing in intra-

block plots (two or three meters), and contained a chronologic

suite of MSP plots planted during 1988, 1989, and 1990 (see Table

3-2). The youngest (i.e., most recently planted) series of plots

(1988-90) was chosen for study in an attempt to track the onset

of slowed shoot growth from the earliest possible moment,

seedling outplanting from nurseries.

Table 3-2. Local names of 1988-91 research plots located within
each of four research blocks





Area reconnaissance also indicated that no other three-year

interval provided more than three suitable plots (i.e. one

experimental block) for study. Trees in plots older than three

years were often too large to easily permit the canopy guying and

soil trenching treatments employed in this study.

Uttara Kanada District, India
Major Cities and Research Blocks






Uttara Kanada District

Research Blocks

0 20 40

Figure 3-1. Location of research blocks and Uttara Kanada cities
Source: Karnataka Forest Department, Maps Division, Aranya Bhavan, Bangalore

Each of the age-specific plots contained numerous

individuals of L. lanceolata and T. tomentosa. These two native

species were chosen for detailed study because the former is

known locally to be relatively shade tolerant, while the latter

is considered shade intolerant, and because an abundance of

outplantings of these two species was found in all experimental

blocks and plots. Working with two species of varying

shade/understory tolerance allows for a range of potential

seedling shoot growth response to a developing plantation


Silvicultural Experiment Design

This study was designed to investigate the impact of MSP

plantation age and associated temporal effects of plantation

development on shoot growth rates of understory seedlings. The

experimental design appears in Figure 3-2. Each of the four

geographical blocks contained at least one plot that had received

MSP treatment in each of the following years: 1988, 1989, and

1990. The numbers and kinds of experimental treatments assigned

to experimental seedlings in 1988 plots, and in both 1989 and

1990 plots is shown in Tables 3-3 and 3-4 respectively.

(4 locations)

(split plots)

Figure 3-2. Silviculture experiment design: blocks, whole plots,
and split plots

Table 3-3. Number of treatments assigned to experimental units in
1988 MSP plots, by species


Lagerstroemia lanceolata 4 4 4 4 4

Terminalia tomentosa 4 0 0 4 0

Table 3-4. Number of treatments assigned to experimental units
in 1989 and 1990 MSP plots, by species


Lagerstroemia lanceolata 4 4

Terminalia tomentosa 4 4

Only L. lanceolata received all four factorial treatments and the

fertilization contrast and only in the oldest, 1988 MSP plots

(see Table 3-3). These oldest plots under study offered the

greatest potential for detection of slowed seedling shoot growth

resulting from resource competition, given that physical crowding

above and below ground increases as plantations mature. For this

reason I decided to impose all treatment levels on the 1988

plots, and to do this for the reputedly more shade/understory-

tolerant species, L. lanceolata. If slowed growth could be

detected for the more tolerant species, then L. lanceolata's

response to crowding should apply to other, less-tolerant

species. The reputedly less-tolerant T. tomentosa received only

the combined soil trenching-canopy guying and control treatments

in the 1988 plots.

The canopy guying by soil trenching factorial design

explores the contribution of both aboveground and belowground

factors to changes in seedling shoot growth for the year after

imposition of treatments. The fertilization treatment tests

whether soil macro-nutrients or soil moisture is more limiting to

seedling shoot growth in MSPs during the year after experimental

treatment. The combined canopy guying and soil trenching

treatment (see Figure 3-3) mimics a release event that seedlings

normally experience as a result of plantation thinning

operations. Seedling shoot growth was monitored during the year

following experimental release.

In the 1989 and 1990 plots, both L. lanceolata and T.

tomentosa received only the combined soil trenching-canopy guying

and the control treatments, due to the time and expense of

imposing these treatments. The five weeks available to initiate

the experiment prior to the early June arrival of the monsoon

were also too short to establish all 12 experimental plots.

Plots in Aksal and Heggekopp blocks had to be established during

the monsoon rains of June and July. Soil trenching operations

became more arduous under wet soil conditions. Ultimately, the

experimental design was replicated over all four blocks,

comprising 60 experimental seedlings per block for a total of

240 experimental units.

Plant Selection and Imposition of Experimental Treatments

Selection of individual experimental plants and

implementation of treatments began in early May of 1991. I

initially walked through the 1988, 1989, and 1990 plots in each

of the four blocks to assess spatial uniformity of outplanted L.

lanceolata and T. tomentosa seedlings. Some plots contained

uniform distributions of L. lanceolata and T. tomentosa

throughout, while others had few or none of these two species

within their boundaries. Areas having sufficient L. lanceolata

and T. tomentosa seedlings were entered and a random compass

bearing was followed for a random distance between 15 and 20 m.

Making a right-angle turn at this point, I began to scan in front

and three m on either side of my path for L. lanceolata and T.

tomentosa seedlings.


-i \ ?',

1990 1989 1988

T + G Treatments

Figure 3-3. Comparison of control and combined soil trenching-
canopy guying treatments applied in 1991 to one, two, and three
year old plantations

Each candidate seedling encountered was inspected for signs of

damage, disease, multiple stems, or the presence of vegetation

within one m of its base. Individuals having none of these

deficiencies were flagged for later measurement and treatment.

When coming within 20 m of a plot edge, I made a second right-

angle turn and walked six to seven meters before making a third

right-angle turn, and then continued the seedling scanning


After I marked a sufficient number of candidate seedlings in

a particular plot, I measured the height and root collar diameter

of each seedling. When necessary, soil was cleared from around

the base of a seedling to permit two root collar diameter

measurements using calipers, the second measurement being at a

right angle to the first. Length of the primary stem was

recorded from the root collar to the apical bud. The species of

the seedling and its general condition were recorded. Each

individual was then marked using a labeled laundry tag tied to a

length of string, and attached to the main stem just above the

point of diameter measurement. A second labeled tag was attached

to each individual midway along its stem to insure future

identification. Each individual's location was marked on a

detailed plot map. Canopy openness was estimated using a

hemispherical densiometer (Lemmon 1956), averaging measurements

made above each seedling's main stem at 1.2 m above ground, while

facing in each of the four cardinal directions. Soil temperature

was measured 5 cm and 15 cm below the surface during midday heat,

using an analog soil thermometer.

Experimental treatments were then assigned at random to the

marked seedlings in each plot using a random number table. The

canopy had not yet closed in the most recently planted 1990

plots, and little or no guying of matrix Acacia and/or Casuarina

crowns was therefore required until six months later, after the

monsoon. Smaller plantation trees could usually be held under

tension while being guyed to neighboring tree limbs or stems.

Canopy openness in 1989 plots varied from 50 percent to 90

percent, and could easily be increased from 85 percent to 90

percent openness by guying. Guying became progressively more

difficult as plot age increased. Three year old Acacia and

Casuarina trees in 1988 plantations often had basal diameters of

13 cm or more, and heights of six to seven m. Here canopy

openness ranged from 9 to 37 percent, and could be increased with

guying to only 45 percent to 50 percent openness. To bend these

larger individuals down for guying required climbing more than

half way up them, allowing one's body weight to slowly bow tree

stems downwards. On more than a dozen occasions the snapping of

tree crowns under my own body weight caused falls of three to

four meters. Wearing a motorcycle helmet increased my

confidence, and perhaps protection, when crowns snapped. Guyed

treatments were checked and retied during each of the five

maintenance visits made to every plot during the one year

experiment. Reguying usually increased canopy openness a further

15 percent by the time the experiment was concluded.

Soil trenching was the most difficult aspect of initiating

the silvicultural study. Each perimeter trench was hand-dug 50-

60 cm deep, 25 cm wide, 7.2 m in circumference, and positioned

1.0 1.1 m away from the stem of the experimental seedling, at

its center. Under optimal conditions, four such pits could be

dug, lined with 60 guage black plastic sheeting (three year

durability guarantee from Biradar Plastics, Malmaddi, Dharwad 580

007 India), and back-filled during a full day of digging. One

hundred twelve pits were dug in this study, taking more than a

month for myself and two assistants to complete. While digging I

noted that most rooting activity occurred in the upper 35 cm of

the soil profile, including most large lateral roots. Roots

smaller than 0.5 cm diameter were sometimes observed to extend

below a depth of 60 cm, but even these were uncommon. For this

reason I concluded that soil trenching would be an effective

experimental method to reduce belowground competition for

experimental plants, although it did not prevent competition

deeper in the soil profile. Some target seedling roots were

necessarily cut during trenching in the oldest, 1988 plots, but

damage was minimal to target seedling roots in 1989 and 1990


NPK fertilizer was added twice to selected 1988 L.

lanceolata seedlings first in June and then again in October of

1991. One hundred grams of Jai Kisaan's "Sampurna" 19:19:19 NPK

particle mix (N03 19%, P205 19%, K20 19%, Zuari Agrochemicals,

Ltd., Goa, India), were poured into three 30 cm deep, 2 cm wide

soil auger holes, drilled at a distance of 40 cm from each

experimental seedling stem. This NPK treatment was a planned

contrast with the trenching treatment, also imposed on 1988 L.

lanceolata seedlings.

Plot Maintenance

I visited all experimental plants five times during the

research year to perform plot maintenance and to measure seedling

growth. Maintenance duties included: canopy re-guying

operations; clearing plant bases to permit remeasurement of root

collar diameters; and, relabeling individuals that had become

difficult to identify.

The half-way mark of the research year was December 1991 -

the end of the rainy season. I took advantage of this natural

break in season to record shoot height and root collar diameter

growth of all experimental seedlings. These data allow

comparison of understory seedling shoot growth for the wet (June-

December) and dry (January-May) portions of the 1991-92 research

year. I expect that most seedling shoot growth would occur

during the wet monsoon, and that dry season conditions result in

slow or even negative growth, due to elevated evapotranspiration

and associated stem shrinkage.

Plant Harvesting, Processing and Measurement

Destructive harvest of all experimental plants occurred from

May 25 June 20, 1992. The 1992 monsoon arrived on June 7 and

slowed harvest of Aksal and Heggekopp blocks. I recorded shoot

height, root collar diameter, and shoot condition for each

surviving experimental plant. I also measured canopy openness,

and soil temperatures 5 cm and 15 cm below the surface.

To estimate shoot biomass, seedlings were clipped at the

point of root collar measurement, cut into 25-30 cm lengths,

sealed in marked envelopes, and transported to my house for

further processing. There shoot fresh weights were recorded

using a DW 2000 g No. 015 IPA electronic top loading balance (IPA

Services, Peenya Industrial Estate, Bangalore 560 058 India),

prior to drying at 700 C (Pearcy 1989) in a 'Biochem' hot air

oven (Universal Biochemicals, Sathya Sayee Nagar, Madurai 625

003, India) from two to six days until dry weights stabilized.

Drying time was a function of shoot diameter, thicker individuals

requiring longer to dry to a constant weight.

Finally, 10 individuals each of L. lanceolata and T.

tomentosa were ashed, and the ash weighed to determine average

ash content of each species.

Calibration Estimates Requiring Destructive Measurements

Calibration data both species were obtained in the following

manner. Non-destructive measurements (i.e., shoot height and

root collar basal area) of all experimental plants at the May-

June 1991 start of the study was complemented by destructive

measurement of 23 randomly-selected seedlings outplanted into

MSPs a year earlier, in June 1990. From these 11 L. lanceolata

and 12 T. tomentosa individuals shoot dry weight estimates were

calculated for 1990 L. lanceolata and T. tomentosa experimental

seedlings using root collar basal area regressions. These 23

seedlings were used because my 1990 experimental seedlings could

not be destructively measured at the study's outset. When the

study concluded in June 1992, destructive measurements of all

1990 experimental seedlings provided shoot dryweight estimates

for experimental seedlings that had already been outplanted for

two years when the study began in June 1991 (i.e. my 1989

experimental seedlings). Similarly, destructive measurements of

all 1989 experimental seedlings provided shoot dry weight

estimates for experimental seedlings that had been outplanted

three years prior to the start of the study (i.e. my 1988

experimental seedlings) (see Figure 3-4).

.--. Study begins, 1991
Study ends, 1992
"..Harvest growth data used to
estimate starting biomass of
next older seedling cohort
23 non-study 1990 seedlings
used to estimate starting Planted Harvest
biomass of 1990 seedlings Aga 1 Age 2

Planted .
Age 1 Agq 2 A'- Age 3

Age 1 Age 2 Ag 3 ** Age 4

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Figure 3-4. Destructive seedling harvest plan used to estimate
shoot biomass of one, two, and three year-old seedlings at the
start of the 1991-92 study

This strategy of using growth data of younger seedlings collected

at the end of the experiment, to estimate initial dry weights of

the next older cohort of seedlings at the start of the experiment

accomplished two objectives. It insured that calibration

measurements were derived from seedlings found growing within the

study's experimental blocks, where site conditions were most

nearly similar to those of other experimental seedlings. It also

minimized the destructive impact of this study on seedling

regeneration within the research area.

Table 3-5 contains the calibration equations used to

estimate shoot dry weights at the June 1991 start of the

experiment for all three seedling age cohorts. Root collar basal

area was found to provide better estimates of shoot dry weight

than shoot height, and was therefore used in deriving the

equations in Table 3-5.

Table 3-5. Seedling root collar basal area (cm2) regressions
used to estimate Lagerstroemia lanceolata and Terminalia
tomentosa shoot dry weights (g) at the start of the experiment

1990 1989 1988

L. y = -10.727 + .325(x) y = -2.118 + .207(x) y = -219.64 + .791(x)

lanceolata R2 = .934 R2 = .743 R = .970

se = 2.02, n = 12 se = 4.94, n = 32 se = 26.85, n = 28

T. y -11.070 + .419(x) y -9.692 + .199(x) y -50.574 + .335(x)

tomentosa R'= .955 R = .768 R2= .811

se = 4.49, n = 11 se = 4.21, n = 28 se = 9.27, n = 28

y = shoot dry weight estimate
x = root collar basal area
se = standard error of slope coefficients
n = sample size

Shoot dry weight calibration estimates for June 1991, when

the yearlong study began, were used to calculate shoot relative

growth rates (RGRs) as described by Evans (1972) and Hunt (1978):

loge H2 loge HI

RGR (grams gram-' interval ')

T2 T


H1 = shoot height (cm), root collar basal area (mm2), or
oven-dried shoot biomass (g) at the beginning of the
experimental interval

H2 = shoot height (cm), root collar basal area (mm2), or
oven-dried shoot biomass (g) at the end of the
experimental interval

T2 T1 = experimental measurement interval.

RGR, an index of efficiency of plants as producers of new

material (Hunt 1978), permits comparisons of growth for plants of

unequal size. Here it is equivalent to the slope of the natural

logarithm of shoot growth (H) plotted against time (T). This

study compares these RGRs with respect to species, treatment, and

MSP age. RGR comparisons of shoot dry weights were made for the

12 month study period. Shoot height and root collar basal area

RGRs were compared over wet (June-December) and dry (January-May)

season periods, and did not require destructive sampling or

calibration. Testing for differences in RGRs of seedling shoot

height, root collar basal area, and seedling shoot dry weight

were done using PC SAS, Version 3.0 (1994) and the SAS General

Linear Models Procedure (Littell et al. 1994). These results are

presented with other experimental results in Chapter 4.



This chapter presents results of the shoot growth rate study

conducted on seedlings of native trees growing within Multiple

Species Plantation (MSP) plots. Ancillary information collected

for shoot growth seasonality, damage to experimental plants, and

abiotic conditions beneath MSPs are also presented and discussed.

The chapter concludes by summarizing the potential role of MSPs

in rehabilitation of degraded tropical forests. MSPs represent a

workable ecological response to forest degradation, yet they may

also contribute to the impoverishment of local, forest-dependent

communities. Both reduced biodiversity and tenure/usufruct

explanations for local grievances about MSPs are presented as an

introduction to the second portion of this research the

community forest resource use study.

Seedling Growth Rates During Monsoon versus Dry Seasons

Measurement of changes in shoot extension and root collar

area growth, as well as estimates of shoot dry weight increment

were calculated for both the wet monsoon (June-December) and dry

(January-May) seasons. Comparison of these three growth

parameters for the two periods illustrates that nearly all shoot

growth occurred during the wet monsoon (see Table 4-1).

Table 4-1. Percentage of annual seedling shoot growth occurring
during monsoon versus dry season, n=174

Season Shoot Root Collar Shoot Dry Weight Increment

Extension Area Growth (based on calibration


Monsoon 96 percent 100 percent 100 percent


Dry 4 percent net negative net negative growth

(Jan-May) growth

Dry season conditions resulted in negative root collar area

growth and negative shoot dry weight increment estimates in 73

percent and 60 percent of all experimental plants, respectively.

This result is apparently due to cross-sectional stem shrinkage

caused by excess evapotranspiration. June-December monsoon plant

growth data are, therefore, more meaningful in comparing shoot

growth rates during the one-year research study. Because of the

January-May stem shrinkage, all plant growth results presented

below are derived from the seven month monsoon growth period.

Experimental Plant Damage and Measurement Problems

Seventy of 244 (32 percent) experimental trees were damaged

or died during the one year research period, while 174 trees (68

percent) were not damaged. Fifty-three of the damaged trees were

browsed by domestic animals, 10 were hacked by villagers while

collecting fodder, 5 were uprooted by porcupines, and two died of

unknown causes. Tree damage events were recorded when observed,

and all affected trees were thereafter excluded from further

shoot growth calculations. Fifty-two of the 70 (74 percent)

damaged trees were located in the Aksal and Heggekopp blocks.

These two blocks were physically closer to hamlets than the

Siddapur and Hunsekopp blocks, accounting for more frequent tree


Aksal and Heggekopp blocks also yielded eight of nine net

negative shoot dry weight treatment means for all blocks during

the study. Eight of 24 (33 percent) shoot dry weight treatment

means within these two blocks were net negative. I was unable to

establish Aksal and Heggekopp blocks before the 1991 monsoon

arrived, thus measuring shoots after they had already begun to

expand with monsoon water. Aksal and Heggekopp blocks were

subsequently harvested for final measurement just before the

monsoon returned in 1992, when stems were shrunken to their

maximum extent. This timing inconsistency in shoot measurements

in Aksal and Heggekopp blocks accounts for the net negative

growth recorded there. Beginning and year-end shoot weight

increment data collected from Aksal and Heggekopp blocks are,

therefore, not comparable to Siddapur and Hunsekopp block growth

data, which were properly recorded before the monsoon arrived in

both 1991 and 1992. Because of this temporal/seasonal disparity

in the collection of growth data, frequent net negative shoot dry

weight increment estimates, and greater incidence of tree damage,

all shoot dry weight increment estimates derived from Aksal and

Heggekopp blocks was excluded from shoot dry weight RGR


Shoot and Root Collar Relative Growth Rate (RGR) Results

Shoot extension in response to increasing periods of

understory exposure was species mediated (see Figure 4-1).

Lagerstroemia lanceolata shoots grew faster than T. tomentosa

shoots during the first two years of understory exposure, but

then slowed dramatically during year three (F = 16.0, p < 0.0002,

n = 77). Though the more understory tolerant species, L.

lanceolata's faster shoot growth was ultimately curtailed by the

closing canopy in three year old MSPs. Terminalia tomentosa

shoot growth was slower, but sustained during the experiment (see

Figure 4-1). Terminalia tomentosa seedlings demonstrate that

even more understory intolerant species are capable of sustaining

themselves beneath a forest canopy when young.

Root collar area growth rates of both of T. tomentosa and L.

lanceolata progressively decreased with increasing exposure to

understory conditions (F = 53.5, p < 0.0001, n = 77; see Figure

4-2). Species-based differences in root collar growth rates were

not significant.

Shoot extension of Terminalla
tomentosa and Lagerstroemia
lanceolata -1, 2, and 3 years after
outplanting, controls
0.4 0 34
0.3 0.25 122 2
0.2 I
T.t LI Tt L.I. Tt LI.
year 1 year 2 year 3

Figure 4-1. Shoot extension
and Lagerstroemia lanceolata
outplanting into MSPs

comparison of Terminalia tomentosa
- one, two, and three years after

Root collar area growth of
Terminalia tomentose and
Lagerstroemia lanceolata- 1, 2,
and 3 years after outplantlng,

Tt LI. Tt L.I. Tt LI.
year 1 year 2 year 3

Figure 4-2. Root collar area growth comparison of Terminalia
tomentosa and Lagerstroemia lanceolata one, two, and three
years after outplanting into MSPs

Shoot dry weight increments for both tree species apparently

increases with increasing exposure to understory conditions, but

this was due to block year interaction (F = 9.13, p < 0.0003, n

= 77), rather than the effect of number of years of understory

exposure (see Figure 4-3).

Shoot dry weight increment of
Terminalia tomentosa and
Lagerstroemia lanceolata- 1, 2, and
3 years after outplanting, controls
25 ---. --.-----.._--....




T.t. LI. T.t LI. TI. LI.
year year year

Figure 4-3. Shoot dry weight increment comparison of Terminalia
tomentosa and Lagerstroemia lanceolata one, two, and three
years after outplanting into MSPs

The next six graphs represent the effects of one, two, and

three years of continuous understory exposure on experimental

plants' shoot growth rates in the first year after release from

understory conditions. Figure 4-4 indicates that experimental

release of L. lanceolata produced significant post-release shoot

extension after one and three years of understory exposure (F =

5.3, p < 0.025, n = 74). The effect of release after two years

of understory exposure is inconclusive.

Shoot extension of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata- 1, 2, and 3 years after
outplanting, trench & guy (T+G) vs
control (Ctrl)
0+6 --- -----,
0.5 0F46
0.4 04
03 f2 021
U 0.2

Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G
year 1 year 2 year 3

Figure 4-4. Shoot extension of Lagerstroemia lanceolata one,
two, and three years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench & Guy (T
+ G) vs Control (Ctrl)

Shoot extension of Terminalia
tomentosa- 1, 2, and 3 years after
outplanting, trench & guy (T+G) vs
control (Ctrl)
0.25 6 2022024


Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G
year 1 year 2 year 3

Figure 4-5. Shoot extension of Terminalia tomentosa one, two,
and three years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench & Guy (T + G)
vs Control (Ctrl)

Experimental release of T. tomentosa trees from understory

conditions produced uniform post-release shoot growth rates (see

Figure 4-5).

Root collar growth rates also increased for T. tomentosa

seedlings after they were relaesed from two and three years of

understory exposure (F = 3.4, p < 0.068, n = 77; see Figure 4-6),

when compared to controls. These increases occurred within the

context of slowing root collar area growth rates for both release

and control treatments. Release therefore mitigated a general

slowing of shoot growth among all T. tomentosa trees. Figure 4-7

demonstrates a more pronounced mitigation of slowing root collar

area growth for released L. lanceolata trees, regardless of

understory exposure time (F = 7.6, p < 0.008, n = 74).

Root collar area growth of
Terninalia tomentosa- 1, 2, and 3
years after outplanting, trench &
guy (T+G) vs control (Ctrl)
1.2 1

E 0.6 03
Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G
year I year 2 year 3

Figure 4-6. Root collar area growth of Terminalia tomentosa -
one, two, and three years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench &
Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl)

Root collar area growth of
Lagerstroemia lanceolata- 1, 2, and
3 years after outplanting, trench &
guy (T+G) vs control (Ctrl)

Ctrl T+G Ctri T+G Ctrl T+G
year 1 year 2 year 3

Figure 4-7. Root collar area growth of Lagerstroemia lanceolata
- one, two, and three years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench &
Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl)

Shoot dry weight increment of
Terminalia tomentosa-1, 2, and 3
years after outplanting, trench &
guy (T+G) vs control (Ctrl)

year year year

Figure 4-8. Shoot dry weight increment of Terminalia tomentosa -
one, two, and three years after outplanting into MSPs, Trench &
Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl)

Post-release increments of shoot dry weights were not

significant, when compared to controls, for either T. tomentosa

(see Figure 4-8) or L. lanceolata (see Figure 4-9), regardless of

prior duration of understory exposure. Figures 4-8 and 4-9

suggest, however, that post-release shoot weight increments did

not decrease with increasing exposure to understory conditions.

Shoot dry weight increment of
Lagerstroemia lanceolata- 1, 2, and
3 years after outplanting, trench &
guy (T+G) vs control (Ctrl)

V !
1 .


Qrl T+G Ctrl T+G Ctrl T+G
year year year

Figure 4-9. Shoot dry weight increment of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata one, two, and three years after outplanting into
MSPs, Trench & Guy (T + G) vs Control (Ctrl)

The final three graphs compare the growth inhibition effects

of belowground and aboveground competition on L. lanceolata

plants' shoot growth rates after three years of understory

exposure. They also compare trench (T) to fertilization (NPK)

treatments to identify whether soil moisture or soil nutrients

more limit shoot growth rates. Figure 4-10 shows that while all

four imposed treatments resulted in increased shoot extension

relative to controls, differences between the applied treatments

were not significant statistically (F = 2.2, p < 0.102, n = 31).

Similar, non-significant results were obtained for root collar

area (see Figure 4-11) and shoot dry weight increment (see Figure

4-12) when comparing the four non-control treatments.

Shoot extension of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata- 3 years after
outplanting, trench & guy (T+G) vs
(T) vs (G) vs control (Ctrl) vs NPK
0.35 0 0.31
u 0.25

u 0.15
0 2
T G T+G Ctrl NPK

Figure 4-10. Shoot extension of Lagerstroemia lanceolata three
years after outplanting, trench and guy vs trench vs guy vs
control vs NPK treatments)

Root collar area growth of
Lagerstroemia lanceolata- 3 years
after outplantlng, trench & guy
(T+G) vs (T) vs (G) vs control (Ctrl) vs
0.7 NPK
0.6 57
0.5 0.
E 0.4
0.3 31
T G T+G Ctrl NPK

Figure 4-11. Root collar area growth of Lagerstroemia lanceolata
- three years after outplanting, trench and guy vs trench vs guy
vs control vs NPK treatments

Shoot dry weight increment of
Lagerstroemia lanceolata- 3 years
after outplanting, trench & guy
(T+G) vs (T) vs (G) vs control (Ctrl) vs
2.5 NPK





Figure 4-12. Shoot dry weight increment of Lagerstroemia
lanceolata three years after outplanting, trench and guy vs
trench vs guy vs control vs NPK treatments

Discussion: Ecological Potential of MSPs

The MSP understory environment promotes shoot growth of

understory seedlings during their first two years after

outplanting. This growth occurred almost entirely during the

June-December wet season. In contrast, shoots often contracted

in cross-sectional area and dry weight during the January-May dry


Abiotic changes beneath MSPs that extend understory

seedlings' effective growing season further into the dry season

would improve their growth performance. Lower soil temperatures,

enhanced and prolonged retention of soil moisture, increased

accumulation of leaf litter, and reduced insolation may all

improve the MSP understory for seedling growth. For example,

noon temperatures 15 cm below the soil surface in May were cooler

beneath a three year-old MSP than beneath a neighboring

plantation with open-grown seedlings of the same age (29.50 C vs

35.3 C). Repeated dry season measurements of these abiotic

factors could could test for potential increases in the effective

growing season provided by the MSP environment.

Table 4-2. Comparative shoot
grown with and without matrix
plantations (MSPs), n=16

and root collar growth of 16 trees,
trees in multiple species

Species Trees Grown Trees Grown

With Matrix Without Matrix

Trees Trees

Terminalia tomentosa 26.2 31.8

shoot extension (cm/yr)

Lagerstroemis lanceolata 124.5 56.8

shoot extension (cm/yr)

both species (cm/yr) 80.8 44.3

Terminalia tomentosa 2.1 9.1

root collar area (mm2/yr)

Lagerstroemis lanceolata 10.1 9.0

root collar area (mm2/yr)

both species (mm2/yr) 4.8 9.1

The growth form of understory seedlings also improves with

the presence of fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing matrix species in

MSPs, relative to open-grown seedlings. Table 4-2 compares mean

shoot and root collar basal area growth for eight seedlings (four

L. lanceolata and four T. tomentosa) growing in the absence of

matrix trees, versus equal numbers of seedlings growing beneath

matrix trees. These seedlings were all located in the 1989 plot

of the Siddapur block. Shade-tolerant L. lanceolata grew more in

shoot height under matrix trees than it did in the open. L.

lanceolata's root collar area growth was similar, whether growing

under matrix trees or not. Less tolerant T. tomentosa's shoot

growth was similar, whether shaded or not. Terminalia tomentosa

did grow more in root collar cross-sectional area in the open.

However, growth form of both species became branched and bent

when growing in the open which is silviculturally undesirable.

I also witnessed the beneficial effects of MSP matrix trees

on seedling growth in a Tirtahalli plantation. One-half of a

stand of three-year old mixed seedlings that had not grown

satisfactorially was replanted with three m spacings of Acacia

auriculiformis and Casuarina equisetifolia, along with a new

cohort of native seedlings. When visiting this plot three years

later, both older and younger native seedlings in the portion of

the stand receiving supplemental planting consistently displayed

greater stem and root collar growth than older seedlings that had

received no replanting.

These observations indicate that matrix plantation trees do

not adversely affect the early growth of companion understory

seedlings. Over the longer term, matrix species should not

interfere with understory seedling growth if they are

commercially thinned early and repeatedly. Prescribed bi-annual

thinnings of matrix species should culminate in complete

overstory removal after approximately 14 years. Karnataka

foresters should nevertheless exercise care in the selection of

matrix species to preclude the introduction and/or spread of

invasive and exotic species. Fast-growing native species with

suitable growth characteristics should be selected, tested, and

used as MSP matrix species whenever possible.

Finally, the MSP environment also appears to facilitate

natural recruitment and succession, when compared to plantations

without matrix species. This phenomenon is indicated by the

early appearance of unplanted species, like Syzygium

cumini/Eugenia jambolanum (guava), Cinnamomum zeylanticum

(cinnamon), Ixora grandiflora, Calicopteris floribunda, Piper

nigrum (wild black pepper), Bulbophyllum spp. orchids and other

epiphytes in plantations near Tirtahalli.

Local Misgivings about MSPs: Reduced Biodiversity and Forest

Villagers living within the Sirsi Forest Division freely

express their displeasure with MSPs particularly the conversion

of minor forest areas to MSPs, as described in Chapter 1. They

object that minor forests, degraded though they often are, still

produce a wide variety of subsistence products for local people.

A forest product use survey conducted by the author in 1992

demonstrated the active use of 67 plant species for 63 different

purposes, including: foods, medicines, fodder, building

materials, tools, household implements, soaps, cosmetics,

sporting activities, and prayer offerings (see Appendix D), to

name a few. These 67 species are not a complete representation

of minor forest plant diversity, but they reflect the multiple-

use value of minor forests to local people.

Conversion of minor forests to MSPs precipitates ecological

changes that reduce their utility to local communities. Site

preparation for MSP establishment often kills extant plants

immediately, while the plantation trees outcompete many remaining

multiple-use species for soil resources, growing space, and

light. In the short term, species diversity is reduced by the

establishment of MSPs on minor forest sites even in plantations

consisting of 20 or more planted species. As MSPs mature,

natural recruitment of native species becomes more evident.

Enhanced recruitment ultimately allows site biodiversity to

surpasses that of degraded minor forests. However, this recouped

diversity may favor commercial timber species over plants having

local-use attributes. Twenty or more years and several thinning

operations may be required before minor forest sites occupied by

MSPs again provide the multiple-use subsistence benefits estimed

by local forest dwellers. This is too long for most forest-

dependent people to wait.

In the interim, conversion of minor forests to MSPs will

cause further reductions in forest areas where local harvest of

non-timber products is still permitted by Karnataka State forest

laws. Limitation of public access to forests and the non-timber

forest products they provide is a process that has long-standing

historical precedent. The following socio-economic study begins

by documenting the progressive reservation of Indian forest

resources by state authority. Reservation of both forest areas


and specific forest products by Indian forest law has spread and

intensified over the past 150 years. In this context, MSPs can

be viewed as the most recent manifestation of legalized state

appropriation of forest resources from local purview.


The historical record, both before and after Indian

independence, documents the progressive exclusion of local people

from forests as a consequence of state appropriation of land.

This appropriation gained momentum as the Indian state

capitalized the wealth of its forests creating demand for its

forest products in markets across South Asia and around the

world. Contemporary popular attitudes about forest management,

and multiple species plantation (MSP) silviculture in particular,

issue from historical conflict between state forest bureaucracies

and forest-dependent communities in peninsular India. Recent

rehabilitation of degraded forest areas using MSPs has served to

extend local access restrictions to minor forests, areas where

local people exercise non-timber use privileges in the absence of

such plantations. Therefore, MSPs are viewed locally as a recent

form of a centuries-old process of exclusion from forests.

This chapter refers to historical use of Indian forest

resources as the base from which progressive state appropriation

and capitalization of forests evolved. I adopt a conceptual

framework to describe the step-by-step capitalization of Indian

forest resources. I then present historical information about

forest conservation, silviculture, and recent forest encroachment

by villagers in the Sirsi Forest Division my research area in

northwestern Karnataka. Finally, I introduce forest resource use

surveys as investigative tools to 1) document local knowledge and

use of forest resources; and 2) to describe impacts of MSPs on a

local forest-dependent community.

The Historical Context

Prior to the consolidation of British rule in peninsular

India, what are now state-owned forests were controlled by

ethnically homogeneous groups, either agrarian communities or

hunter-gatherer societies (Gadgil 1989). By 1700 agrarian groups

had already deforested the coastal plains and much of the

interior plateau region of southern Indian for agricultural use

(Richards 1985). Indigenous regional rulers, such as the 18th

century's Haider Ali, also removed premium woods from the Western

Ghats forests of Kanara District to build ships along the Malabar

Coast (Bombay Gazetteer 1883). Such princes were often

acknowledged to exercise formal authority over forests (Ashton

1988, Bentley et al. 1987). Local groups nevertheless enjoyed de

facto use rights to non-agricultural lands in their vicinity

(Gadgil 1989). Evergreen forest tracts, or kans, were important

sources of food, fuel, and fiber for local subsistence. They

also provided the organic matter necessary to produce

agricultural crops on local wood-ash or kumri swidden plots, and

leaf mulch to fertilize intensively managed spice gardens. Over

time some evergreen kans in North Kanara have been designated as

sacred groves, indicating a local reverence for them.

Because human survival depended largely on the sustained

productivity of neighboring forests, local incentive to protect

these assets was strong. In the Himalayan foothills region, Guha

(1989) describes an intimate and reverential attitude of local

people towards the hill forests that have historically provided

their life support and protection from slope erosion. Likewise

in peninsular India, clan and community-based institutions arose

to manage local forests for posterity and to control non-local

access to local forests (Gadgil and Guha 1992). The operation

and power of local institutions became legitimized as a

consequence of their ability to impose penalties for unsanctioned

use of local forest resources. This was often possible because

forested regions were isolated from political and economic

centers of power on the Indian plains, leaving local forest

communities both politically and ecologically independent

(Richards and McAlpin 1983).

Local communities did protect and maintain forest resources,

as witnessed by early British accounts of the condition of

India's peninsular forests, including the Western Ghats region

(Cleghorn 1861, Duff 1826,). Even vast natural stands of teak

are reported to have been in excellent condition in the Haliyal

area of Kanara District (Bombay Gazetteer 1883) when the Indian

Forest Act of 1878 became law. This legislation formally

inaugurated a period of conflict over Indian forest resources

that continues to the present. The period is characterized by

intensified exploitation of forests to meet state goals and

interests, and the progressive exclusion of local people from

their forest life-support system.

British Colonial Administration of Indian Forest Resources

The British colonial administration in India displayed a

marked indifference to Indian forest resources during the 18th

century. Nascent European demand for exotic spices, gums, oils,

and tropical timber prompted some commercial felling of Indian

forests, though on a limited scale (Bombay Gazetteer 1883).

Early written records concerning Indian forests, fishing, and

grazing resources are insignificant when compared to colonial

preoccupation with agrarian resources and property relations

concerning ownership and cultivation of arable land (Grove 1990,

Richards and Tucker 1988). Subsidies and inducements encouraged

cultivators to clear lands along India's forest frontier.

Forests were viewed more as impediments to the expansion of

cultivation and its associated revenue potential. Along the

Malabar Coast in southwestern India, no forests were turned into

protected reserves until 1806 (Guha and Gadgil 1989).

In 1816 the first Conservator of Forests was appointed in

India to sanction the East India Company's teak (Tectona grandis)

extraction monopoly (FAO Forestry Paper 55 1985). Exploitation

of abundant natural teak stands began in Malabar and Travancore

to supply timber for construction of British navy ships, since

imperial forests in North America had been surrendered as a

result of the American Revolution. More forests were felled to

plant coffee, tea, cardamom, and other export crops after the

East India Company transferred India's administration to the

British Crown in 1858. Establishment of the first

scientifically-managed government plantations began from 1865-

1870 (Agarwala 1985).

Construction of India's first railways in the late 19th

century initiated significant, large-scale exploitation of South

Asian forests. From 1870 to 1910 railway networks expanded

seven-fold, from 7,678 to 51,658 kilometers (Guha and Gadgil

1989). The larger network required numerous railway ties, that

soon became a locally scarce commodity. In 1864, according to

the wishes of the Governor-general, Lord Dalhousie, India's first

forest department was established to meet an annual demand of

1,000,000 ties for the railway companies. Experienced German

foresters, of whom Inspector-General of Forests Dietrich Brandis

(Richards and McAlpin 1983) was the most prominent, were hired by

the British to place government forests under a rational form of

European silviculture.

The Indian Forestry Act of 1865 sanctioned the establishment

of government forest reserves, and extended the state monopoly of

teak to other commercially important species, including rosewood

(Dalbergia latifolia), sandalwood (Santalum album) and ebony

(Diospyros ebenum) (FAO 1985). This legislation also claimed

government authority to set forest use rules and to impose

penalties for use infractions. While local access to forests for

grazing, fuelwood collection, and timber felling was still

permitted in practice, such use could henceforth be regulated by

government decree. This established a legal structure to

sanction subsequent state demarcation and reservation of forests.

The Indian Forest Act of 1878 consolidated absolute

government authority over utilization and management of newly

designated reserved forests (Grove 1990). By 1882, 34 square

miles (4.9 %) of forests had been reserved in the Sirsi Forest

Sub-Division, out of a total of 700 square miles. In Kanara

District as a whole, 684 (19 %) of 3,549 square miles of forests

had been reserved (Bombay Gazetteer 1883). The 1878 laws also

established so-called protected forests, areas that would become

reserved forests after demarcation and preparation of

silvicultural prescriptions.

Understanding that future production of timber could not be

guaranteed if customary local forest use rights continued, the

government also placed restrictions on local use of protected

forests under the 1878 act. Nineteen species of trees and four

forest products became reserved solely to the government. These

species were: Tectona grandis, Santalum album, Dalbergia

latifolia, Diosporos ebenum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Calophyllum

elatum, Artocarpus integrifolia, A. hirsuta, Vitex altissima,

Ougenia dalbergioides, Lagerstroemia microcarpa, Gmelina arborea,

Terminalia tomentosa, T. chebula, Xylia dolabriformis, Thespesia

populnea, Acacia catechu, A. concinna, and Bassia latifolia. The

four reserved products were: fruits of Terminalia chebula

(hirda), fruits of Acacia concinna (shigikai), flowers of Bassia

latifolia (ippe huva), and latex from Acacia catechu (kath).

These products, such as hirda fruits, could only be gathered by

locals under forest department contract.

The colonial government also redefined previous customary

forest use rights granted to local people as use "privileges" in

protected forests. The chief privileges still permitted were: 1)

clearing patches of forest for wood-ash or swidden tillage; 2)

lopping leaves for green manuring of spice and betelnut palm

gardens garden owners were restricted to lopping only in

designated soppina betta/betta forests tracts that were no more

than eight times the area of their garden holdings; 3) growing

pepper in some evergreen kan forests; 4) free grazing in

designated forest tracts; and 5) free or cheap wood fuel and

bamboo collection (Bombay Gazetteer 1883). The sale or barter of

protected forest products was strictly prohibited. The penalty

for doing so was often the loss of all collection privileges.

Village forests were designated close to villages, to be

administered by village councils (Village Forest Panchayats) for

multiple use by local people. Local use of reserved species and

products was also illegal in these village forests.

The Indian Forest Act of 1878 formally initiated the process

of supplanting village-based customary forest use agreements by

centralized government. Physically limiting local access to

forests, and progressively converting local forest resources into

commercial commodities for distant markets were pivotal elements

in this transfer of authority (Gadgil and Guha 1992). Before

1878, forests had been exploited in a non-intensive manner.

Trade and commercialization of forest-derived surpluses had been

limited to commodities like wild pepper and cardamom, medicinal

plants, sandalwood, ivory, and a few timber species. Agrarian

communities on India's plains had little interest in Kanara's

forests for other than a small number of such products, and

extraction of these did not have a serious impact on the

ecological function of Kanara's forests. After 1878, forests

were considered to be sources of revenue from timber production.

Silvicultural strategies to maximize timber revenues led to

changes in forest species composition that favored conifers over

mixed oak hardwood/conifer forests in northern India, and pure

stands of teak over mixed evergreen hardwood forests in

peninsular India (Guha 1989).

The 1878 laws also initiated the ecological separation of

forests from agricultural activities (Guha and Gadgil 1989).

Once reserved, forests could no longer legally provide inputs to

maintain soil fertility in neighboring fields and gardens. The

threat of falling agricultural yields prompted the Forest Policy

Resolution of 1894 (Haeuber 1993), which stressed the need to

clear forests for local agricultural extension. A tightening

vice of accelerated forest conversion on the one hand and

continued forest reservation on the other squeezed local forest

use into shrinking forest tracts of inferior quality.

Finally, the 1894 laws modified forest classification into

more nearly its present form. Reserved forests were

distinguished as either Protective or National Forests, village

and less productive forests were renamed Minor Forests, and

grazing areas became Pasture Lands (Haeuber 1993). Betta Forest

zones and their classification were maintained. Formal

prescription of bettas as lopping forests would be delayed,

however, until the 1924 Forest Act. The 1924 Act would also set

limits on local usufruct privileges in Minor Forests.

Ecology and Aesthetics of Forests: Colonial Perceptions

While acquiring a global reach over natural resources for

the purposes of trade, some Europeans also asserted control over

their territories based on ecological considerations. A small

number of 19th century colonial forest conservationists promoted

forest reservation in dozens of colonial territories (Grove

1990), including India, to redress environmental degradation.

This group popularized a theory linking deforestation to

undesirable rainfall and climatic changes (Grove 1990). A

minority of British officials warned that the unchecked expansion

of agricultural lands would, through a process called

desiccation, cause the loss of valuable timber resources, mass

deforestation, and environmental cataclysms throughout India

(Richards 1985). Informed scientific authorities of colonial

island territories reported the destruction of soil and water

resources when forested uplands were converted from forests to

agricultural lands.

Another perception that spurred some British to espouse a

forest reservation agenda had an aesthetic or Edenic slant (Grove

1990). A paradisal image of pristine tropical lands was strongly

imprinted on European minds. With time and travel these views

were transformed into fascination for collection and

classification of tropical flora, or game hunting of tropical

wildlife. The boundaries of many ecological reserves were,

therefore, defined by colonial states to set aside regions of

diverse flora and fauna for the enjoyment and recreation of


Local Resistance to Capitalization of Forests

Finding their entry to local forests barred by legal

injunction in the 19th century, local communities petitioned

governments for compensation. In the years prior to 1878, many

such protests were diffused by flexible and well-informed forest

officials, who acknowledged many sustainable local forest use

practices and recognized protest over their proscription as

legitimate. Cleghorn (1861) acknowledged that local tribes were,

in fact, less destructive of forests than invading plains

cultivators, and investors in plantations. But petition and

protest often went unrewarded, and were entirely ignored after

the passage of the Indian Forest Act of 1878.

Finding petition unsuccessful, law-breaking in the form of

illegal wood gathering, grazing, tree felling, and smuggling of

state forest resources became common. Arson of state commercial

forests also served to convey indigenous displeasure at being

barred from ancestral forest lands. However, locals were careful

to destroy only single-species stands that symbolized the

interests of capital, and not the mixed species stands that

embodied multiple-use attributes from a subsistence perspective

(Guha and Gadgil 1989).

In an advanced stage of resistance, alliances between

traditional elites and peasants emerged when British denial of

customary forest use rights became intolerable across Indian

classes and castes(Grove 1990). From the crown's perspective,

control of forests then became tantamount to control of political

dissent, since organized forms of resistance appeared to openly

flaunt British authority. Forest conservancy was intensified,

and forcible suppression was sometimes used to quell these

organized insurrections. The threat of locally-caused

destruction of forests was often used as a pretext for enhanced

political suppression of Indians.

Whether intended to sustain the colony's resource endowment,

to provide short-term profit and pleasure, or to maintain

political power, colonial reservation of forests led to a state

monopoly of India's forests.

Management of Indian forests in the early 20th Century

Extension of colonial authority over forests was sanctioned

by the Indian Forest Act of 1927. This act reiterated the forest

management framework of 1878, while also allowing the government

to assume control of many forests that it did not already own

(Haeuber 1993). It also enumerated situations in which forest

department officials could arrest without a warrant those accused

of forest resource theft.

Administration of forests was placed under federated

provincial auspices in the Government of India Act of 1935, a

decade prior to Indian independence. Henceforth, forest

administration would be directed by state governments, with

central government involvement limited to forestry policy,

education, and research. This historical delegation of authority

explains wide variations in the programs, methods, and

effectiveness of forest administration to be found among the

states of modern India. Contemporary discussions about Indian

forestry or forest administration must, therefore, be prefaced by

clear reference to a particular state or territory. Such

differences among states not withstanding, rates of forest

conversion increased throughout India after independence.

Growing population, impoverishment of the environment, and global

economic forces joined together to insure the conversion of all

but India's most remote and inaccessible natural forests.

A final reformulation of forest policy in British India came

in a 1944 statement issued by the inspector-general of Indian

forests. It represented a last effort to reconcile the

conflicting management priorities of state forestry officials and

Indian nationalists. The former perceived stricter control of

local forest access and use as essential to successful timber

production in state reserves and protected forests. The latter

called for formal recognition of the dependence of India's rural

poor on forest resources for their survival. The 1944 statement

gave the needs of agricultural production priority over

production forestry, and local subsistence priority over the

generation of state revenue (Haeuber 1993). However, this

compromise had little impact on the day-to-day management

activities of state foresters. Enforcement of forest protection

laws went unchanged.

Post-Colonial Management of Forest Resources

After independence the newly formed Central Board of

Forestry formulated the 1952 Government of India Resolution. It

recommended that forest lands occupy one-third of all Indian

territory, and that 60 percent of hill regions and 20 percent of

the plains should remain forested. Actual percentages continued

to decline below these recommendations, however, as few funds

were earmarked for reforestation. The growing commercial

emphasis on production forestry to promote national self-reliance

became the new nation's priority. Previous rights of indigenous,

tribal forest-dwellers to collect fuelwood, timber, and fodder in

reserved forests were progressively revoked (Haeuber 1993), while

the ability of state governments to reserve forest lands grew

apace. Indeed, expansion of reserved state forests accelerated

after independence. In 1992 the modern Sirsi Forest Division

contained approximately 70,000 ha of reserved forest 41 percent

of all forests. Fifty thousand ha of minor forest, and 50,000 ha

of betta forest comprised the remaining divisional forests (1992

interview with divisional forestry officer).

With the integration of princely states into the Indian

Union in the early 1950s, royal hunting preserves of forests,

woodlands, and grasslands also came under the purview of

empowered state departments of forestry. Local communities that

had previously relied on such lands to provide a variety of

household, farming, fodder, and dietary requirements found that

their use of state-managed forests had become entirely regulated.

Any of their remaining use privileges were now formally described

as "concessions".

The Indian National Commission on Agriculture (NCA) forest

management recommendations of the early 1970s gave top priority

to industrialization of the Indian forestry sector as the vehicle

to boost timber exports and foster import substitution. The NCA

blamed declines in forest commercial productivity on local forest

encroachment and illegal removal of forest products. Their

recommendations emphasized conscription of all unclassified

forests into reserved forests as soon as possible, in order that

local forest use concessions be terminated "as far as possible in

the manner provided in the forest law." (Government of India,

Report of the National Commission on Agriculture, Part IX,4:8)

To compensate local people for their loss of these forest use

concessions, forest department distribution depots were

established to sell forest products to them at cost. Today, many

villagers remain embittered by having to purchase from government

depots what they formerly gathered in local forests at no charge.

The NCA also recommended reclassification of forests to

conform with an industrial production orientation. Uplands,

steep slopes, and riparian zones were consolidated as protection

forests. Production forests were of three types: low-value mixed

quality forests targeted for complete felling and replanting;

valuable forests that could still be economically improved by

conversion planting; and inaccessible forests that would be

exploited after forest roads reached them. The most deforested

tracts were reclassified as social forests. These included

degraded minor forests, wastelands, village commons, and road and

rail right-of-ways (Viksat 1990, Haeuber 1993). Local community

use of non-reserved products obtained from social forests was

offered in compensation for lost local access to newly-classified

protection and production forests.

State governments failed to invest in replanting or other

rehabilitation schemes in social forests, favoring investment in

production forests instead. Policy makers interpreted social

forests to be commercially expendable tracts to which local use

pressure could be redirected in lieu of more valuable production

forests (Shiva 1988).

Forest management legislation initiatives in the 1980s

heightened debate over the future of Indian forests.

Jurisdictional conflict between state and federal agencies over

control of forests was touched off by the Forest Conservation Act

of 1980. This amounted to a legislative last stand at the

federal level to prohibit clearance or conversion of forests to

other land uses without parliamentary approval (Government of

India Report of the National Commission on Agriculture, Part IX).

State governments balked at this interference from the central

government. However, state forestry departments were quick to

seize upon this legislation as an opportunity to strengthen state

control of forest lands particularly in the area of law

enforcement. The 1980 Act strengthened the severity of fines and

punishments for illegal activities in state forests. It granted

forest officers the right to arrest offenders without a warrant

for tampering with boundaries, setting fires, gathering reserved

products, and cultivating forest lands (Haeuber 1993). Local

forest use concessions in all forest types were further

restricted. The act also called for the initiation of forest

rehabilitation in degraded forests and other wastelands

throughout the country. Soon thereafter, the proposed Indian

Forest Act of 1981 recommended authorizing state governments to

reclassify any lands they wished to as "forests" (whether

forested or not), in order to enhance public control over both

tree and non-tree derived forest resources (Kulkarni 1983).

Since 1981, the dispute over disposition of India's forests

has continued between state and federal authorities on the one

hand, and state forest departments and forest dwellers on the

other. Government officials blame villagers for their

indiscriminate use and destruction of forests, while the latter

blame government-sponsored industrial forestry operations for

conversion of India's remaining natural forests. Recent warnings

about the environmental consequences of Indian deforestation

(Shiva 1990) and its possible mitigation do not seem to have made

a serious impact on those wielding political influence. Public

media battles continue over control of India's residual forest

wealth, rather than over its maintenance and reproduction.

Capitalization of Indian Forest Resources: An Analytical

The historical capitalization of Indian forest resources

described above is summarized by Nadkarni's (1989) analytical

framework of forest conversion and capitalization. Nadkarni

(1989) outlines three historical stages of forest use and

conversion: the pre-commercial-cum-pre-capitalist stage; the

initial commercial stage; and the highly commercialized stage.

In the first stage, nature's forest bounty is an abundant and

free gift for one's personal use not intended for commercial

sale. Forests are an important source of many subsistence

products for household use. Unsophisticated technology precludes

regional-scale conversion of forests for subsistence purposes.

Destruction of forests sometimes does occur, however, because the

resource is not considered scarce. The use of fire as an

effective tool in preparing land for short-term agriculture is an

example of such destruction.

British officials generally considered the customary burning

of forest tracts in Indian swidden agriculture, or jhuming, as a

primitive and uneconomic landuse practice to be discouraged

(Grove 1990). Yet jhuming had been practiced for generations in

an apparently sustainable manner by agrarian societies over large

tracts of the interior Indian Plain (Ramakrishnan 1980). Only a

small percentage of land was under cultivation at any one time,

while fallow areas were rested to naturally recoup their

fertility for future cultivation. Large expanses of forest cover

were always maintained within traditional jhuming systems.

In the second or initial commercial stage, a perception of

resource scarcity arises as external market forces begin to

assert control over forest resources, at the expense of local

forest-based communities. Emphasis on intensified production of

a few commercially viable timber species and products

necessitates the exclusion of local people from forests. Once

this occurs, traditional common property stewardship arrangements

begin to break down (Bromley 1991). Local princes, small

merchants and savkars (merchant moneylenders) employ formerly

autonomous members of local communities to extract high value

forest products in exchange for wages (Richards and McAlpin

1990). Agarwal and Narain (1989) describe this as the

progressive alienation of local communities from their forests.

Bromley and Cernea (1989:35) describe this transformation as


Common property is in essence 'private' property
for the group and in that sense it is a group decision
regarding who shall be excluded. But when options for
gainful and promising exclusion of excess population
have been destroyed by surrounding political,
cultural, or economic events, then those engaged in
the joint use of a resource are left with no option
but to eat into their capital.

In the third, highly commercialized stage, forest resources

become the raw materials of external, forest-based industries.

Large, mechanized, and centralized factors of industrial

production subjugate regional merchant capital. Local access to

forests is further diminished as commercial forestry promotes

controlled conversion of native forests (Bee 1990) and

regeneration of managed plantations. An open access free-for-all

of intensified degradation occurs in the few natural forests to

which local access remains less restricted (e.g. village or minor

forests). The impoverishment of local communities proceeds as

these scarce forest resources are destroyed by those who most

depend upon them for subsistence (Richards 1985, Kaur 1991).

As state control of forests expands, forest-dwelling

communities find a bureaucracy of state forest officials

positioned between themselves and the now restricted forests. To

obtain access to state lands, peasants must find favor with

department officials or with neighbors powerful enough to

influence forest department staff (Blaikie and Brookfield 1986).

If either of these strategies fails, individuals are often forced

to survive by ignoring forest access laws to extract their basic

material needs from public forests. Given this situation, in

which forests are under attack from all quarters, Nadkarni

maintains that management of forest resources must finally enter

a fourth, enlightened stage of systematic and rational

management. This stage emphasizes conservation and regeneration

of forest resources for both local subsistence and regional

commercial needs (FAO 1985, Agarwala 1985). A model for

enlightened, joint forest planning and management between state

foresters and local people will be presented in the final chapter

of this study.

Forest Policy and Management in Northwestern Karnataka State

In the 1935 Government of India Act, promulgation of

constitutional laws regarding natural resources remained a

federal prerogative, while practical management of forests fell

to state departments of forestry. The Karnataka Forest

Department's (KFD), descending directly from colonial precedent,

was inaugurated with the establishment of Karnataka 1956. Due to

the relative wealth of forest resources in Karnataka, state

foresters assumed conservancy of this natural legacy in as

serious a manner as did their colonial predecessors.

Karnataka's forests are among India's most diverse in

biological terms, but for legal purposes they comprise three

primary types: reserved forests, protected forests, and minor or

village forests. In reserved forests only limited single tree

felling occurs, and this is done exclusively by state foresters.

From 1985 until 1991 an even more restrictive policy of only dead

and down tree removal was adopted by an environmentally-minded

chief conservator of forests. In contrast, protected forests

include both natural and manipulated stands under commercial

silvicultural treatment. An increasing number of protected

forests have been converted into plantations as their mature

trees are harvested. The state's most degraded stands have been

classified as minor or village forests. These have been

designated for local harvest of non-timber products in specified


A fourth class of forests is found only in the upper Ghats

of Yellapur, Sirsi, and Siddapur Taluks (sub-districts)

Soppina betta forests. These forests were first designated as

so-called lopping forests in the late 19th century, providing

green manure/mulch usufruct privileges to those who owned betel

nut (Areca catechu) gardens. Eight to nine acres of soppina

betta lopping forest were traditionally allocated for every one

acre of spice garden owned by landed cultivators. Spice garden

owners with betta privileges have historically had no formal role

in betta forest management decisions made by the state.

Private tree felling is prohibited in all forests, with the

exception of betta forests, where authorization to remove single

trees for subsistence purposes has been occasionally granted to

spice garden owners since 1977. The highly degraded condition of

minor forests, however, attests to the historical inability of

state foresters to enforce felling regulations. Conversely, the

will to enforce felling regulations is often lacking, as local

forest officials sometimes receive payment to look the other way

when felling occurs.

Like the British before them, Karnataka's foresters follow

prescriptions to enhance the biomass productivity of selected

timber species, often in uniform plantations (Agarwala 1985). In

this market-oriented silviculture, local people receive jobs as

forest department personnel or daily wage laborers often the

only form of seasonal employment locally available. Forest

managers take silvicultural control of forest ecosystems as

quickly as technology and finances permit. Economic goals drive

all stages of such production forestry.

From the 1960s to mid-1980s several unrelated events began

to discourage Karnataka foresters from continued planting of

single species plantations. The invasiveness of exotic

understory plants, particularly Eupatorium sp., massive insect

defoliation of teak plantations, and mismatching of plantation

species to inappropriate sites made the maintenance costs of many

marginal stands greater than the expected economic returns. A

reassessment of silviculture practices began.

Forest policy initiatives of the 1980s began to stress

rehabilitation of India's degraded forests and wastelands. This

new policy climate presented Karnataka foresters with an

opportunity to assert silvicultural control over state forest

lands that had been previously neglected particularly minor

forests. By 1982 the first of what would become annual plantings

of multiple species plantations (MSPs) began. Replanting of

degraded forests, especially minor forests, to MSPs gained

momentum during the 1980s. The silvicultural component of this

study was conducted in MSPs planted on minor forest lands in

1988, 1989, and 1990.

Prevailing opinion of foresters about MSPs centered on the

need to rehabilitate impoverished forest lands forests that had

been damaged through irresponsible overuse by local people.

Though this opinion was often justified, foresters failed to

acknowledge two characteristics of minor forests and MSPs that

were abundantly clear to local people: 1) though degraded, minor

forests still provided local people with many products necessary

for their welfare; and 2) MSP establishment effectively excluded

local people from forests where they had previously enjoyed

access to collect non-timber products.

Pushing Back the Forest Frontier: Forest Encroachment in Sirsi

Another process that diminishes public access to forest

resources in Karnataka State is forest encroachment. In Sirsi

Taluk, for example, forest felling and expansion of village land

has been occurring continuously for at least 150 years (Bombay

Gazetteer 1883). During most of this period sanctioned

encroachment of forest land was recognized by state and federal

agencies. Whenever there was a need to expand agricultural and

residential lands for distribution to landless people, the State

Revenue and Forest Departments would institute so-called

"disforestment". This involved the removal of forest lands from

Forest Department records and their transferal to Revenue

Department records. The forest settlement officer in the Revenue

Department was charged with carrying out this task.

Forest conversion was first codified into law by the Forest

Policy Resolution of 1894. Public outcry for greater access to

forest lands for homesteading and agricultural expansion

necessitated further opening of the forest frontier. Though

forest settlement was the centerpiece of this act, state control

of reserved forests was simultaneously strengthened. In

practice, disforestment amounted to transfer of less productive

and degraded forests to private cultivators, and state

reservation of productive forests. The 1894 act also set legal

precedent for recurrent titling of encroached forest lands a

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