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Population dynamics of eupatorium adenophorum during secondary succession after slash and burn agriculture jhum in northeastern india



Population dynamics of eupatorium adenophorum during secondary succession after slash and burn agriculture jhum in northeastern india



Weed Research 22(2): 77-84



E. adenophorum Spreng. is an important weedy colonizer in early successional communities developing after slash and burn agriculture (jhum) at higher elevations of the northeastern hill regions of India. The relative performance of this species in terms of fecundity and survivorship in successional plant communities has been worked out. A net population increase occurred through both vegetative and sexual reproduction in early successional fallows up to 6 yr old, the increase being greatest in a 6-yr fallow. Mortality of seedlings was high in 1- and 3-yr fallows, low in a 6-yr fallow but reached 100% in older fallows. Seedling mortality was maximal during the monsoon although some seedlings also died during winter as a result of drought and frost. Mortality of vegetative sprouts followed a similar pattern to that of seedlings. The reproductive potential was reduced with increasing age of the successional communities and in a 15-yr fallow all individuals were non-reproductive. Since E. adenophorum is able to succeed only in fallows of < 6 yr, repeated short jhum cycles of 4-5 yr have had the effect of arresting succession at the weedy stage.

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