Tropical forests are highly threatened by human activities, even within the protected areas that have been established to conserve biodiversity. Human activities may have different degrees of impact on vegetation structure, composition and diversity. Some studies have measured direct evidence of human activities in forming disturbance gradients, while others have quantified canopy cover as a proxy for disturbance. When measurement is confined to human activities, disturbance may be underestimated in areas of poor canopy cover where forest degrading activities have ceased. Where measurements are restricted to canopy cover, disturbance may be underestimated in areas of extensive canopy cover that may have been subject to past disturbances, and overestimated for areas where canopy cover is naturally sparse. Combining indicators of past and present disturbances is therefore necessary to examine the full spectrum of human disturbances. Forest vegetation in Popa Mountain Park, Myanmar was surveyed and classified into three levels of disturbance-undisturbed, medium disturbed and highly disturbed-derived from evidence of cutting and canopy cover. The forests are second or third growth after clearing for agriculture in the early 20th century. All trees with ≥10cm diameter at breast height in 168 sample plots (10m × 10m) were identified and measured. Density, basal area and diversity decreased and dominance rose when disturbance increased. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) clearly discriminated three forest stands and CCA axes were significantly correlated to soil moisture, soil nitrogen, elevation, slope, aspect, distance from park boundary and distance from villages. Abstract in Myanmar is available at.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics