Chapter 2
Materials and Methods


2.1 Introduction


To devise in situ conservation measures for a species, one should
know as much as possible about the biology and ecology of that
species. Therefore, the approach was to look at the preferred
habitats, spatial distribution, density, species association and
dispersal (i.e., ecology) of each plant species concerned, and based
on these findings and knowledge of their breeding behaviour, devise
measures for their in situ conservation. However, because of
limitations, it was not possible to study all these aspects for all
the species of interest. Therefore, some of these studies were
restricted to a few species of special interest and these are
discussed in separate chapters.
2.2 Study area
The major part of the field work related to this thesis was
carried out in Uttara Kannada district, and a small part of the
adjacent Shimoga district in Karnataka state of Southern India. Most
of the field studies were done along a wide strip stretching west-east
from Kumta town up to Chandragutti Reserve Forest that is in the
Shimoga district. A rough sketch of the study area is given in figure
2.1. For further details about Uttara Kannada, please refer to Kamath
(1985), Daniels (1989), and Chandran (1993). For certain species and
habitat types of special interest, some opportunistic surveys were
also conducted in other parts of the Western Ghats and the country.



(A figure of Uttara Kannada is here.)



These are mentioned in the chapters related with those species and
habitat types.
2.2.1 Setting
Uttara Kannada is the northernmost coastal district of Karnataka
state in southern India. It was previously known as North Kanara or
Canara. Uttara Kannada forms the middle portion of the Western Ghats.
It lies between 1352' and 1530' North latitude and 7405' and 7505'
East longitude with a total geographic area of about 10,200 km2. It is
surrounded by Arabian sea in the west, Goa and Belgaum in the north,
Dharwad and Shimoga in the east and Dakshina Kannada in the south.
2.2.2 Topography
Uttara Kannada has a narrow strip of coastal plains interspersed
with rocky outcrops and hillocks. Further east of these plains are the
denuded hill tops of laterite (=a mesa) and hills forested with
vegetation exhibiting various degrees of human impact. Further east
are the steep sloping densely forested areas called the "ghats." These
ghats divide the whole district into three areas. These are the three
areas generally talked about by local people: 1. downghat, 2. ghat
section, and 3. upghat areas. Further east of the ghat section is the
upghat area. The upghat area has small hills slowly rolling down
towards the east and merging into the Deccan plateau. Mostly, this
part of the Western Ghats has more low-lying hills than do the other
areas as majority of its hills remain below 600m above msl, although
a few of them touch or cross 700m. However, a few exceptionally high
peaks are there towards northern ranges of the district, e.g.,
Darshanigudda (a little more than 1000 meters above msl).
2.2.3 The Climate
The climate of Uttara Kannada is, mostly, tropical with an
average annual rainfall of about 250 centimeters. It has a
well-defined rainy season of about five months between June and
November when the south west monsoon brings most of the rainfall and
the climate remains hot and humid. The average number of rainy days
(=days with >=2.5 mm of rain) are about 103 ranging from 87 at Mundgod
(near the northeastern side of the district) to 114 at Bhatkal (near
southwest coastal side). Taluk-wise annual normal rainfall ranges
between about 115 cm (at Mundgod) to 393 cm (at Ankola). However,
rainfall at certain higher altitudes may go up to 500 cm.
2.3 Natural vegetation of the study area
Champion & Seth (1968) identified the vegetation of the Uttara
Kannada as west coast evergreen/semi-evergreen forest. Pascal (1982,
1984) in his vegetation maps (on 1:250000 scale) identified the
vegetation of Uttara Kannada as belonging to the
Memecylon-Syzygium-Actinodaphne and Persea-Diospyros-Holigarna series
of wet tropical forest. According to Daniels et al. (1995) the
vegetation of Uttara Kannada is distributed in the following five
broader zones governed by rainfall gradient: 1. Coastal zone, 2.
Northern evergreen zone, 3. Southern evergreen zone, 4. Moist
deciduous zone, and 5. Dry deciduous zone. Out of these zones, the
natural vegetation of the northern and southern evergreen zones are
still more intact as compared to the other three zones. However, even
in these zones also the vegetation is an intricate mosaic of different
stages of degradation and recovery due to encroachment of valley areas
and associated anthropogenic disturbances and protection.
2.4 Human impact
The vegetation of Uttara Kannada have been and is still subjected
to various degrees of human impact including commercial logging,
extraction of firewood, fencing poles, lopping of branches for leaf
and twig mulch, grazing, fire and other anthropogenic disturbances.
2.5 Harvests of plant biomass and creation of degradation
stages
In UK the degradation of forest sets in with the encroachment of
the valley areas for Areca and paddy cultivation. Harvest of plant
biomass becomes necessary to live there as it is used as input in a
variety of ways. Some timber is extracted to start a hut and house,
cattle are let to graze in the surrounding, soil fertility is
replenished with leaf and twig mulch, firewood for various purposes
comes from surrounding forest, etc. Forests on slopes and hilltops
slowly degrade into betta and bena type habitats. Institutional
mismanagement also leads to degradation of the forests like a
plantation of Eucalyptus in evergreen forest belts etc. Argument here
in the thesis is not to say that WRCPs can be conserved only if these
activities are stopped.
2.6 Species of interest
The study area is endowed with rich plant genetic resources. If
we consider only Uttara Kannada, then also there are about 1761
species of higher plants from 833 genera and 141 families. How many of
these would qualify to be included in the list of WRCPs would depend
on the definitions of the cultivated plants and the WRCPs. However, I
opted to be more practical and chose to take species as WRCPs if they
belong to a genus from which any species is under cultivation. I did
not put any a priori limit on the number of WRCPs to be studied.
2.7 Method of data collection
Initially, from existing literature (Cooke 1901-1908; Talbot
1909; Gamble 1916-1935, and Saldanha 1984), a list of WRCPs found in
the study area was made. After a few field visits, a list of different
habitat types of the study area was prepared based on existing
literature (Pascal 1988; Daniels 1989; and Chandran 1993) and my own
field observations. Then a quantitative sampling of these habitat
types was started. The procedure adopted for vegetation sampling is
given below.
2.8 Vegetation sampling
By reconnaissance survey, I used to decide which patches could be
assigned as different habitat types from the point of view of plants
of my interest. The representative habitat types were selected for
quantitative vegetation sampling. A belt transect method of sampling
was adopted. The belt transect was of five m width and 500m length.
Therefore, it was taking care of the heterogeneity of the environment
within the mostly uniform habitat type. This belt transect was further
divided into 50 quadrats of 5m x 10m each (Fig 2.2). Therefore, the
area of each quadrat was 50 sq. m and total area of the whole belt
transect was 2500 sq. meters or 0.25 ha. To do this, a very simple
procedure was adopted. A rope of 10m was taken and its one end was
tied to some shrub. Then I used to go in the chosen direction of
transect line. Now, the data were recorded on following parameters on
plants that ever were present within the range of 2.5m on either side
of the rope (transect line): 1. The name of the species of individual
plant >=2cm diameter at breast height (dbh). 2. Its height in meters
(a visual approximation). 3. The name of dependent plant species if
any, e.g., climbers, epiphytes, parasites etc. 4. The maximum height
up to which the climbers had reached or at which the epiphytes or
parasites had established (a visual approximation in meters).
|<--------10m---------->|
-- |------------------------|-----------//--|----------------------|
| | 1m __| // __| __|
5m |---------------------|__|---------//-|__|-------------------|__|
| | 1m | // | |
-- |------------------------|-------//------|----------------------|
Quadrat 1 Quadrat 2 ... Quadrat 50
Figure 2.2 Sketch of belt transect method used in vegetation sampling.
At the end of every 10m interval of belt transect, a 1x1 sq.
meter subquadrat was laid to record data on the following parameters:
1. Number of individual plants of each species that could be
identified. Codes were given to unidentified specimens that were
brought for identification by plant taxonomists. 2. Prevailing
ecological conditions like soil type, presence/absence of gravel, rock
clods, leaf and twig mulch, canopy cover, presence/absence of some
aggressive weeds, e.g., Parthenium, Eupatorium, Strobilanthes,
Lantana etc.
Field notes were taken on threats to different habitat types,
other plant species that did not come in the belt transect but were
present around it, and any other specific information about that
area/locality presumed to be helpful in devising in situ conservation
measures for plants of interest. In this way, the data collection was
done at 46 sites distributed over 21 habitat types as given in table
2.1. Thus 2300 quadrats of 50 sq. m and two or one sq. m were studied.
These 2300 quadrats were characterised on the following parameters:
(1) Canopy cover scored over zero to 100 scale (from now on
abbreviated as CC). (2) Proportion of three most abundant plant
species <2cm dbh (PROP). (3) Proportion of three most abundant plant
species >=2cm dbh (P3M). (4) Proportion of plants >=2cm dbh with an
evergreen phenology (proportion of evergreens or PEVG). (5) Proportion
of exotics in plants >=2cm dbh (PEX). (6) Proportion of tree seedlings
among plants <2cm dbh (PTSL).
Six more sites were studied where only lists of flowering plants
was prepared. These sites were such that quantitative studies could
not be done. The details of these six sites are given in Table 2.2.
A special habitat Myristica swamp was studied with special
interest. Similarly, two genera of plants namely Amorphophallus and
Oryza were studied with special interest. Therefore, special data
collection methods were used depending on the requirements. One
Myristica swamp at Kattalekan was already known through personal
communication. Literature review on Myristica swamps gave further idea
about ecological conditions under which one can expect the development
of Myristica swamps. The search for such swamps resulted in locating
at least seven swamps in the study area. Most of them were in various
Table 2.1 Details of 46 sites where quantitative vegetation sampling
was done.

+-----+--------+------------------------------------------+---------------------------
|Sl. | Date |Habitat type |Nearby place
| | | |
|No. | | |
+-----+--------+------------------------------------------+---------------------------
|1 |24/8/92 |Mesa |Kumata
|2 |25/8/92 |Mesa |Goudti kodlu
|3 |27/8/92 |Mesa |Divigi
|4 |28/8/92 |Mesa |Neerkeri
|5 |4/9/92 |Acacia auriculiformis plantation |Vannalli
|6 |9/9/92 |Casuarina plantation |Kadle
|7 |14/9/92 |Acacia auriculiformis plantation |Kadle
|8 |15/9/92 |Casuarina plantation |Kadle
|9 |17/9/92 |Open scrub jungle (minor forest) |Kumta-Halkar-Hegde
|10 |24/9/92 |Eucalyptus plantation but now polyculture |Hebbail
|11 |13/10/92|Teak plantation |Hebbail
|12 |14/10/92|Evergreen forest |Hebbail
|13 |28/10/92|Coastal sandy beach and adjoining sand |Dhareshwar-Handigon
|14 |11/11/92|Evergreen forest devimane ghat |Devimane
|15 |19/11/92|Acacia auriculiformis plantation |Divigi
|16 |24/11/92|Evergreen forest |Kodigadde
|17 |26/11/92|Evergreen forest |Near Aghanashini valley
|18 |29/11/92|Evergreen forest |Below Aghanashini valley
|19 |22/12/92|Acacia auriculiformis plantation |Halkar-Chitrigi
|20 |23/12/92|Open scrub (minor forest) |Halkar
|21 |4/1/93 |Betta land |Lambapur
|22 |5/1/93 |Betta land |Kyadagii
|23 |8/1/93 |Evergreen forest |Budgutti
|24 |12/1/93 |Myristica swamp plus evergreen forest |Dorwejadde
|25 |14/1/93 |Acacia auriculiformis plantation |Lobgod
|26 |6/3/93 |Myristica swamp |Kattalekan
|27 |19/3/93 |Evergreen forest |Sharavathi valley
|28 |30/3/93 |Teak plantation |Morse
|29 |3/4/93 |Evergreen forest |Unchalli Falls
|30 |5/4/93 |Deciduous forest |Chandragutti R.F.
|31 |6/4/93 |Evergreen to semi-evergreen forest |Som & Aghanashini confluenc
|32 |9/4/93 |Disturbed evergreen to semi-evergreen |Devas-Konegadde
|33 |16/4/93 |Deciduous forest |Mudanalli
|34 |19/4/93 |Deciduous to semi-evergreen forest |Ullur
|35 |28/4/93 |Disturbed semi-evergreen forest |Toragod-Hosad
|36 |9/7/93 |Acacia auriculiformis plantation |Halkar-Chitrigi
|37 |12/7/93 |Open scrub (minor forest) resampling |Halkar
|38 |21/7/93 |Disturbed evergreen forest (cut & burn) |Antravalli
|39 |4/8/93 |Areca garden |Sirsimakki
|40 |6/8/93 |Areca garden |Tattikai
|41 |18/8/93 |Cashew and Eucalyptus plantation |Kujalli
|42 |20/8/93 |Areca garden |Kallabbe
|43 |29/8/93 |Areca garden |Sunkatte
|44 |10/11/93|River-side vegetation |Hosakambi
|45 |23/11/93|Eucalyptus plantation in evergreen forest |Kansur-Tyagali
|46 |24/11/93|Sandalwood plantation |Siddapur-Chandragutti road
+-----+--------+------------------------------------------+---------------------------

Table 2.2 Six sites for which only presence/absence data were
collected.

+-----+--------+------------------------------------------+---------------------------
|Sl. |Date |Habitat type |Nearby place
| | | |
|No. | | |
+-----+--------+------------------------------------------+---------------------------
|1 |28/10/92|Sand dunes |Dhareshwer-Handigon
|2 |29/10/92|Mangrove vegetation |Kumta, Masur-Lukkeri
|3 |11/1/93 |Deforested hill-top (Bena land) |Kyadagii (South)
|4 |13/3/93 |Eucalyptus trees |After Anegundi
|5 |15/4/93 |Gajniland bunds |Masur-Lukkeri
|6 |19/11/93|Island vegetation |Basavraj Durg Island
+-----+--------+------------------------------------------+---------------------------

stages of encroachment. Two of them were chosen for detailed study:
one in good condition - at Kattalekan and other in the process of
encroachment - at Kargadde-Dorwejadde. The vegetation sampling in
Myristica swamp was done using belt transect method only as mentioned
earlier. Data on geographical distribution of Myristica swamps were
collected from Botanical Survey of India (Southern Circle) Coimbatore,
French Institute Pondicherry, personal contacts with various
researchers working in the Western Ghats and personal field work.
The investigations of Amorphophallus species have encompassed:
(a) sampling for the abundance of individuals of the species of
interest along 46 transects covering a wide diversity of habitat
types; (b) observations on reproductive ecology, probable pollinators
and levels of seed production in natural populations; (c) observations
on seed dispersal in Amorphophallus plants in wild state and grown in
a garden at our field station in the Uttara Kannada district and on
the feeding behaviour of a captive koel (Eudynamys scolopacea L.), a
major seed dispersal agent of Amorphophallus species. I kept track of
flowering individuals of wild and cultivated species of Amorphophallus
to understand their biology and relationship with other components of
the ecosystem. Insects attracted to the flowers were collected at one
locality. Number of seeds per fruit was assessed for all three species
of Amorphophallus. Vegetative reproduction through the production of
offset tubers was assessed through an examination of 68 tubers at five
different localities. Number of foliar bulbils were counted in
Amorphophallus bulbifer. Birds feeding on fruits of Amorphophallus
were observed in the wild during 15 October 1992 to 30 November 1992
and 30 September 1993 to 15 November 1993. In addition, many such
visits of dispersal agents were observed on ten plants of the three
species grown in the garden of our field station at Kumta (1426'N
lat. 7425' E long.) during 30 September 1993 to 15 November 1993.
Finally, one individual of the major dispersal agent, a male koel,
captured at Kumta was maintained for two days in our laboratory at
Bangalore and offered ripened fruits of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius
and A. bulbifer grown on the campus of the Indian Institute of
Science.
For studying Oryza species, a "field collection form" was
prepared (Appendix 2.1) on the lines of "field collection form"
recommended by IBPGR and adopted for use in rice and "passport data
sheet" used by NBPGR, New Delhi. However, only a few relevant items
were kept in it since most of the information about the study area and
other details were already known. Therefore, besides other details,
more emphasis was given on noting down the ecological conditions under
which wild and weedy paddy were thriving well.
About 125 ponds and waterbodies were visited in search of wild
and weedy paddy throughout the study area and above details were
noted. Similarly, several paddy fields were visited after consulting
with local people about presence of weedy and wild paddy in and around
their paddy fields. Wherever possible, history and ecology of these
plants were also asked from aged and experienced local people. Some
representative specimens were also collected.
Apart from observing the wild rice populations in study area,
opportunistic visits were also made in other parts of the Western
Ghats and the country. My own experience of observing Oryza nivara
populations since childhood days near own paddy fields and village
ponds in eastern Uttar Pradesh gave a good opportunity for comparative
study.
2.9 Habitat transformation
Data on habitat transformation was collected by interviewing
local people about their lifetime experiences of watching ongoing
habitat transformations in and around their villages and surroundings.
This was done in a narrow belt along a transect line starting from the
Kumta beach, running, largely, parallel to 1425' latitude North, and
ending near Shevemane in the down-ghat area. Another similar transect
was surveyed in upghat area starting from Halsargi village and ending
at the Tarkanalli village. This transect was parallel to the first one
but along 1435' North latitude. These interviews were recorded. Local
people were asked about the kind of habitat transformations they have
seen in their lifetime, the likely reasons behind such changes, and
the possible future of the presently existing habitats. These
questions were asked about each patch of discernible habitat types.