Ecology of Sandalwood (Santalum album L.) at Lingmethang, Eastern BhutanThinley, Pema .; , Jambay.; Gurung, Dhan. ; Rabgay, Tenzin .; , Penjor.; Kumar, Manish.; Wangchuk, Karma .; Pradhan, Monika .; Sitaula, Bishal.K; Raut , Nani .;
A study was carried out at Lingmethang to find out the ecological requirement for the growth of Sandalwood (Santalum album L.) trees in Bhutan. It also aimed to determine the preferred hosts of Sandalwood in the study site and to map its habitat suitability in the country. Plot size of 20 x 20 m2 for trees, 10 x 10 m2 for shrubs, and 5 x 5 m2 for regenerations and herbs were used. Soil samples were collected by digging soil to 25-30 cm depth from each plot. PC-ORD software was used for finding the relation of the variable with seedling abundance. A total of 19 tree species under 14 families and 40 undergrowth species under 24 families were recorded in the areas where Sandalwood is growing naturally. Mallotus philippensis and Albizia sikkimensis were the co-dominant tree species with chirpine as the dominant tree. Chromolaena odorata (Asteraceae) was the most preferred host species of the Sandalwood seedlings followed by Murraya koenigii. Mature Sandalwood tree was found parasitizing on Desmodium sp. (Fabaceae). Slope was one of the most determinant factors for the growth of Sandalwood (r = .951, p < .05), but rainfall had greater influence even though negative (r = -.943, p < .05) in the valley. Soil Nitrogen did not have much effect on the seedling abundance but mature trees prefered Fabaceae as hosts. A total of 16 dzongkhags are suitable for plantation of Sandalwood. Among these, Zhemgang Dzongkhag has the maximum potential area (469.62 km2) and Punakha Dzongkhag has the least (2.88 km2).
KeywordsChromolaena, dominant, ecological, hemi-parasitic, host, suitability
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