Chapter 7
Myristica swamps - a habitat approach


In this chapter I look at the basic question that in what way
Myristica swamps are different as a habitat type or plant community
from other habitat types or plant communities. I have also tried to
look at the points suggested by Krishna Moorthy (1960), other
details of Myristica swamps, and suggested probable mechanisms for
their conservation.

7.1 Introduction


It seems that various researchers have looked at Myristica
swamps from different angles and the concept of Myristica swamps as
a distinct habitat type within evergreen forests has developed
slowly with the development of natural sciences. A quick look at
literature on Myristica swamps appears to be supporting this
notion. While describing Myristica fatua and Gymnacranthera
canarica, Gamble (1921) briefly mentioned about "swampy grounds in
evergreen forests" quoting localities like Travancore, Tinnevelly,
Canara and Kolaturpoli. Champion (1936) described some evergreen
forest types as "Tropical Valley Freshwater Swamps" about which
Krishna Moorthy (1960) is of opinion that Champion was not aware of
the existence of swamps with prominent knee roots of Myristica
magnifica. Mathauda (1953) has cited the presence of Myristica
swamps in two of his surveys in Uttara Kannada but the locality is
not clearly specified. Krishna Moorthy (1960) described, in quite
detail, the Myristica swamps of Travancore and his paper became the
basic reference material on Myristica swamps for other researchers.
He appropriately named "Myristica swamp" to a distinct plant
association found in the valleys of the Shendurney, Kulathupuzha
and Anchal ranges of Travancore, Kerala. Besides describing the
looped "knee roots" and other details of these swamps, he expressed
his concern about conversion of these swamps into paddy fields. He
also suggested the important points regarding these swamps to be
worth investigating. These are 1. the distribution of such plant
associations in the west coast and elsewhere in India, 2. the
factors determining occurrence of such associations, 3. the
variations in the composition of the tree species forming such
associations in different localities, 4. the influence of such
plant associations on the maintenance of stream flow and
underground water resources, 5. the succession leading to this type
of vegetation and 6. determination of their successional status.
Champion and Seth (1968) have put the Myristica swamps in "subgroup
4C Tropical Freshwater Swamp Forests." Nomenclature, description,
distribution, locality factor and floristics etc. are based on
Krishna Moorthy's paper except an illustration. Nair and Daniel
(1986) briefly described Myristica swamps in a review paper on the
flora of the Western Ghats. Again this was based on Krishna
Moorthy's paper. Pascal (1988) described Myristica swamps based on
the papers of Krishna Moorthy (1960) and Champion and Seth (1968).
He often mentioned about "poorly drained habitats" with highly
localised tree species of Gymnacranthera canarica and Myristica
fatua. Gadgil (1992) mentioned about a natural stand of the genus
Dipterocarpus and a Myristica swamp in a sacred grove of Uttara
Kannada while describing the effectiveness of traditional
conservation practices. Here he has pointed towards a Myristica
swamp located at Kattalekan in Uttara Kannada district of
Karnataka. Gadgil and Chandran (1992) have briefly mentioned about
Myristica swamps of Uttara Kannada as a rare and threatened habitat
while describing sacred groves. Here again, they have discussed
about Kattalekan Myristica swamp as a sacred grove harbouring
Dipterocarpus indicus, Myristica magnifica and Pinanga dicksonii.
Daniels et al. (1993) mentioned about the Myristica swamps as plant
communities with restricted range. Gadgil et al. (1996) identified
Myristica swamps as very fast vanishing and the most threatened
type of a landscape element of Uttara Kannada. They assigned the
highest priority to Myristica swamps in their scheme of assigning
conservation priority to habitats and argued to declare the still
surviving Myristica swamps as specially protected areas.
7.2 Data Analysis
7.2.1 Habitat Classification
The presence/absence matrix (Appendix 3.1) of 430 species
listed from 46 sites was used for classifying the sites/habitats.
Based on this matrix the different habitat types/sites/plant
communities were classified using a numerical classification
technique called complete linkage clustering. Jaccard index was
used as a measure of similarity between pairs of sites.
7.2.2 Vegetation Composition
Density of plants >=2cm dbh, <2cm dbh and the dependent plant
species were computed for all the 46 sites as stated in chapter 4.
But for this chapter only columns 24 and 26 representing two
Myristica swamps are relevant.
7.2.3 Species Association/Classification
Associated species of four WRCPs exclusive to Myristica swamps
were classified along with these WRCPs as focal species. Only
those quadrats were taken in which the focal species was present
and a presence/absence matrix was prepared for a list of unique
species present in these quadrats. Therefore, the focal species was
present in all the quadrats taken. Jaccard index of similarity was
computed between focal species and rest of the species depending on
their distribution in the selected quadrats. Only those species
were retained which had Jaccard index value of >=0.05. If the
number of species was more than 50 even after putting the above
cut-off then only 50 topmost species were retained. These species
were classified by complete linkage clustering. Again Jaccard index
was used as a measure of similarity between all pairs of retained
species.
7.2.4 Kolmogorov-Smirnov test
For four WRCPs which are exclusive to Myristica swamps, a
nonparametric test (Kolmogorov-Smirnov test) was done to compare
differences in overall distribution of quadrats having these WRCPs
with all the 2300 quadrats sampled with respect to six parameters
as stated in chapter 2.
7.3 Results
7.3.1 Habitat Classification
The results of habitat classification are given in Figure 7.1
in the form of a dendrogram. In this dendrogram, if we put a
cut-off point up to about 0.27 then both of the Myristica swamps
(sites 24 & 26) remain part of the evergreen group (sites 12, 18,
29, 27, 14, 17, 16, 23, 24, 31 & 26). But if we put a cut-off point
beyond 0.57 then both Myristica swamps get separated from rest of
the evergreen sites as well as from each other. When a cut-off
point is put at about 0.23 to get 14 clusters of sites (chapter 3)
then both the Myristica swamps are in a single cluster (13th) along
with most of the evergreen sites. Therefore, though Myristica
swamps are parts of good evergreen forests yet they form a
different type of plant association and could be considered a
different habitat type.
7.3.2 Vegetation Composition
The data on abundance of plants >=2cm dbh, <2cm dbh and the
dependent plant species at different sites/habitat types are given
in Table 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 respectively. From these tables it is
possible to find out the order of habitat preference for each
species based on their relative abundance in different habitat
types.
The following WRCPs are exclusive to Myristica swamps: 1.
Gymnacranthera canarica, 2. Myristica fatua, 3. Pinanga dicksonii
and 4. Piper hookeri. Myristica fatua, Pinanga dicksonii and Piper
hookeri were present in only one Myristica swamp (site 26) whereas
Gymnacranthera canarica was present in both the Myristica swamps
(sites 24 and 26). Columns 24 and 26 of the table 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3
give the density (per quarter ha) of plants >=2cm dbh, density (per
50m2) of plants <2cm dbh (i.e., regeneration composition) and
density (per quarter ha) of dependent plant species of Dorwejadde
and Kattalekan Myristica swamps respectively. From presence/absence
matrix (Appendix 3.1) it is clear that 99 species from Dorwejadde
and 68 species from Kattalekan Myristica swamps were listed. Our
specific notes on presence/absence of aggressive weeds tell us that
Parthenium and Lantana are weeds of relatively drier areas. They
would rarely be able to creep into Myristica swamps or its
surrounding areas even after some deforestation. Eupatorium and
Strobilanthes are weeds that are colonizing around Myristica
swamps whenever there are canopy openings. On sun avoiding slopes
at partial canopy opening usually Strobilanthes is thriving very
well. On sun facing slopes and specially where canopy opening is
relatively more then Eupatorium is thriving well. If the
disturbance is more and frequent or permanent then both the
Strobilanthes and Eupatorium are replaced by grasses (where there
is almost complete canopy opening and regular disturbance like
grazing and cutting). The two Myristica swamps where we did
vegetation sampling, i.e., in Kattalekan and Dorwejadde, Parthenium
and Lantana have not reached. Strobilanthes and Eupatorium have
reached only in surrounding areas where there is canopy opening but
not inside Myristica swamps.
7.3.3 Species Association/Classification
The results of the species association are given in the form
of dendrograms along with a brief description for each of the four
WRCPs exclusive to Myristica swamps. Seventy-one species were
present in the 50 quadrats in which Gymnacranthera canarica plants
were encountered. Out of 71 species 40 species co-occurred with
Gymnacranthera canarica in >=5% of the quadrats. A complete linkage
dendrogram of these 40 species is given (Figure 7.2) to show their
overall association with Gymnacranthera canarica. It is clear from
the dendrogram that Pothos scandens is the most closely associated
species with Gymnacranthera canarica. Other closer associates are
Pinanga dicksonii, Piper hookeri, Mastixia arborea, Myristica
fatua, Hopea ponga, Lophopetalum wightianum and Semecarpus
anacardium. All the four WRCPs which are exclusive to Myristica
swamp are closer associates of one another.
Forty-nine species were present in the 23 quadrats in which
Myristica fatua plants were encountered. Out of 49 species 27
species co-occurred with Myristica fatua in >=5% of the quadrats.
A complete linkage dendrogram of these 27 species is given (Figure
7.3) to show their overall association with Myristica fatua. It is
clear from the dendrogram that Piper hookeri is the most closely
associated species with Myristica fatua. Other closer associates
are Pothos scandens, Pinanga dicksonii, Gymnacranthera canarica,
Mastixia arborea and Hopea ponga. Here also all the four WRCPs
which are exclusive to Myristica swamp are closer associates of one
another.
Sixty-four species were present in the 43 quadrats in which
Pinanga dicksonii plants were encountered. Out of 64 species 46
species co-occurred with Pinanga dicksonii in >=5% of the quadrats.
A complete linkage dendrogram of these 46 species is given (Figure
7.4) to show their overall association with Pinanga dicksonii. It
is clear from the dendrogram that Piper hookeri is the most closely
associated species with Pinanga dicksonii. Other closer associates
are Pothos scandens, Gymnacranthera canarica, Mastixia arborea,
Myristica fatua, Hopea ponga, Cyathea gigantea, Semecarpus
anacardium and Ficus species. Again all the four WRCPs which are
exclusive to Myristica swamp are closer associates of one another.
Sixty-eight species were present in the 46 quadrats in which
Piper hookeri plants were encountered. Out of 68 species 34 species
co-occurred with Piper hookeri in >=5% of the quadrats. A complete
linkage dendrogram of these 34 species is given (Figure 7.5) to
show their overall association with Piper hookeri. Pothos scandens
is the most closely associated species with Piper hookeri. Other
closer associates are Pinanga dicksonii, Gymnacranthera canarica,
Mastixia arborea, Myristica fatua, Hopea ponga, Cyathea gigantea,
Semecarpus anacardium, Lophopetalum wightianum and Ficus species.
Again here also all the four WRCPs that are exclusive to Myristica
swamp are closer associates of one another.
7.3.4 Kolmogorov-Smirnov test
The results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test are clear since
these species are exclusive to Myristica swamp habitats which are
quite different. The results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for
these WRCPs are given in Table 4.4. Table 4.4 shows that all the
four species are significantly different in all the parameters,
i.e., quadrats having these species come from certain part of the
distribution.
Based on Kolmogorov-Smirnov test following is the description
of habitat preference for these WRCPs:
1. Gymnacranthera canarica
Gymnacranthera canarica plants were present in 50 quadrats out
of 2300 quadrats sampled. The results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov
test (Table 4.4) show that quadrats having Gymnacranthera canarica
are significantly different from total quadrats with respect to all
the six parameters. Figure 7.6a shows that though quadrats having
Gymnacranthera canarica come from throughout the distribution of
canopy cover (CC), yet relatively higher proportion of quadrats
with Gymnacranthera canarica come from quadrats where CC is high.
It means that Gymnacranthera canarica prefers high (close) canopied
habitats. It is a plant of Myristica swamp where CC is generally
high. Figure 7.6b shows that none of the quadrats having
Gymnacranthera canarica have more than 10% exotics. In fact,
Gymnacranthera canarica is a plant of Myristica swamp where no
exotic would be able to come on its own. But irony is that most of
the Myristica swamps have already been occupied and planted with
Areca catechu. Figure 7.6c shows that quadrats having
Gymnacranthera canarica come from quadrats where P3M is relatively
high (50-100%). It means that Gymnacranthera canarica habitats are
medium to less diverse communities for plants >=2cm dbh. It is also
noticeable in Figure 7.6c that quadrats having Gymnacranthera
canarica come relatively more from quadrats where P3M is 60-90%,
medium to lower medium diverse communities of plants >=2cm dbh.
This is the overall situation in the Myristica swamps. They are not
very species-rich plant communities but they have plants exclusive
to them. Figure 7.6d shows that quadrats having Gymnacranthera
canarica come mostly from habitats where proportion of evergreens
is very high. This shows that Myristica swamps are part of very
good evergreen forests. Figure 7.6e is similar to 7.6c and shows
that proportion of three most abundant plants <2cm dbh (PROP) is
also high in the habitat of Gymnacranthera canarica meaning
Gymnacranthera canarica habitats as less to medium diverse
communities of plants <2cm dbh. Figure 7.6f shows that, by and
large, proportion of quadrats having Gymnacranthera canarica is not
changing much with increase in proportion of tree seedlings yet
quadrats having Gymnacranthera canarica come proportionately more
from quadrats which are dominated by tree seedlings.
2. Myristica fatua
Myristica fatua was encountered in 23 quadrats of the total
2300 quadrats sampled. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test (Table 4.4)
shows that quadrats having Myristica fatua are significantly
different from the total quadrats with respect to all the six
parameters. Figure 7.7a shows that majority of the quadrats having
Myristica fatua have high CC (40-100%). Very few plants are also
present where CC is low (0-20%). Myristica fatua plants are
exclusive to very good patches of Myristica swamps which are part
of good evergreen forests. The canopy cover in Myristica swamp
habitats is generally high. Actually there are two types of
Myristica swamps: 1. with Myristica fatua and 2. without
Myristica fatua. Figure 7.7b shows that all the quadrats having
Myristica fatua come from quadrats where proportion of exotics is
not more than 10%. In fact, Myristica fatua is plant of Myristica
swamps where hardly any exotics would ever be able to creep in
unless it is disturbed. Figure 7.7c shows that quadrats having
Myristica fatua come from quadrats where proportion of three most
abundant plant species >=2cm dbh is between 50-100%. But relatively
more quadrats having Myristica fatua are from those quadrats where
proportion of three most abundant plant species >=2cm dbh is
60-90%. This means that diversity of plants >=2cm dbh in the
habitats of Myristica fatua is low to medium. Figure 7.7d shows
that majority of the quadrats having Myristica fatua have high PEVG
(50-100%). This clearly suggests that Myristica fatua is a plant of
very good evergreen habitats. No plants of Myristica fatua are
encountered in habitats where PEVG is between 0-50%, i.e.,
deciduous, moist deciduous to semievergreen forests. Figure 7.7e
shows that quadrats having Myristica fatua come from quadrats where
proportion of three most abundant plant species <2cm dbh is between
50-100%. It means that diversity of plants <2cm dbh in Myristica
fatua habitats is low to medium. Figure 7.7f shows that quadrats
having Myristica fatua come from quadrats having PTSL between
0-80%. But proportionately more quadrats having Myristica fatua are
from quadrats where PTSL is 10-80%. This means that regeneration of
trees is fair but not good in the habitats if Myristica fatua.
3. Pinanga dicksonii
Pinanga dicksonii was encountered in 43 quadrats of the total
2300 quadrats sampled. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test (Table 4.4)
shows that quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii are significantly
different from the total quadrats with respect to all the six
parameters. Figure 7.8a shows that quadrats having Pinanga
dicksonii come from quadrats having a whole range of CC (0-100%).
Canopy cover in Pinanga dicksonii habitat is generally high because
it comes in good evergreen forests. Pinanga dicksonii itself is a
very gregarious palm which gives a good CC at few meters height. It
also comes in some of the Myristica swamps. Figure 7.8b shows that
all the quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii come from quadrats where
PEX is not more than 10%. Similar to Gymnacranthera canarica and
Myristica fatua, Pinanga dicksonii has also come from Myristica
swamp. Therefore, in quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii also the
exotics would hardly ever be able to creep in unless it is
disturbed. Figure 7.8c shows that quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii
come from quadrats where proportion of three most abundant plant
species >=2cm dbh is between 50-100%. But relatively more quadrats
having Pinanga dicksonii are from those quadrats where proportion
of three most abundant plant species >=2cm dbh is 60-90%. This
means that diversity of plants >=2cm dbh in the Pinanga dicksonii
habitats is low to medium. Figure 7.8d shows that majority of the
quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii have high PEVG (80-100%). This
suggests that Pinanga dicksonii is a plant of very good evergreen
habitats. Hardly any plants of Pinanga dicksonii are encountered in
habitats where PEVG is between 0-30%, i.e., deciduous to moist
deciduous forests. Figure 7.8e shows that quadrats having Pinanga
dicksonii come from quadrats where proportion of three most
abundant plant species <2cm dbh is between 40-100%. It means that
diversity of plants <2cm dbh in Pinanga dicksonii habitats is low
to medium. Figure 7.8f shows that quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii
come from quadrats having PTSL between 0-100%. However,
proportionately more quadrats having Pinanga dicksonii are from
quadrats where PTSL is 30-80%. This means that regeneration of
trees is fair in the habitats of Pinanga dicksonii.
4. Piper hookeri
Piper hookeri was encountered in 46 quadrats of the total 2300
quadrats sampled. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test (Table 4.4) shows
that quadrats having Piper hookeri are significantly different from
the total quadrats with respect to all the six parameters. Figure
7.9a shows that quadrats having Piper hookeri come from quadrats
having a whole range of CC (0-100%), but proportionately more
quadrats having Piper hookeri come from quadrats where CC is
between 40-100%. Figure 7.9b shows that all the quadrats having
Piper hookeri come from quadrats where PEX is not more than 10%.
Similar to Myristica fatua, Gymnacranthera canarica, and Pinanga
dicksonii, Piper hookeri has also come from Myristica swamp.
Therefore in quadrats having Piper hookeri also the exotics would
hardly ever be able to creep in unless it is disturbed. Figure 7.9c
shows that quadrats having Piper hookeri come from quadrats where
proportion of three most abundant plant species >=2cm dbh is
between 30-100%. But proportionately more quadrats having Piper
hookeri are from quadrats where proportion of three most abundant
plant species >=2cm dbh is between 60-100%. This means that
diversity of plants >=2cm dbh in the Piper hookeri habitats is low
to moderately high. Figure 7.9d shows that majority of the quadrats
having Piper hookeri come from quadrats having high PEVG (80-100%)
but Piper hookeri also survives where PEVG becomes as low as 30-50%
because of canopy openings at certain places. Figure 7.9e shows
that quadrats having Piper hookeri come from quadrats where
proportion of three most abundant plant species <2cm dbh is between
40-100%. It means that diversity of plants <2cm dbh in Piper
hookeri habitats is low to medium. Figure 7.9f shows that quadrats
having Piper hookeri come from quadrats having PTSL between 0-100%.
This means that regeneration of trees is fair but not good in the
habitats of Piper hookeri.
7.4 Geographical Distribution
Since two species namely Myristica fatua and Gymnacranthera
canarica seem to be the most characteristic of Myristica swamps, we
consider the distribution of these species as an indicator of the
distribution of Myristica swamps. Table 7.1 and 7.2 give the
distribution of Myristica fatua and Gymnacranthera canarica
respectively. Yet there is a need to investigate further about the
presence of these two species anywhere outside Myristica swamps.
From our experience of watching at least 6-7 Myristica swamps and
from available literature on it, our guess is that the number of
Myristica swamps in India may not be more than one thousand. If we
make rough calculation about the total area of Myristica swamps,
then we guess, it may not go above two thousand acres. This figure
Table 7.1 Geographical distribution of Myristica fatua.
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| Herbarium | Number | Collector(s) | Date | Locality
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| HIFP | 26091 | Kostermans, A.J.G. | 11.6.1976 | Ponmudi
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 61101 | Mohanan,C.N. | 15.2.1979 | Rockwood, Kulathupuz
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 63137 | Mohanan,C.N. | 8.6.1979 | Kulathupuzha
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44282 | | 26.11.1893 | Kulathupuzha
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44286 | Beddome, R.H. | 0.0.1873 | Courtallam hills
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 66172 | Vivekknathan, K. | 9.3.1980 | Edapalayam-Tenmalai
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| BSI(WC) | 3723 | Talbot, W.A. | 20.5.1896 | Gairsoppa ghat
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| BLAT | 35112 | Hall & Mc Cann | 0.10.1919 | Gairsoppa ghat
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| | 35114 | | |
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| KFP | 728 | CJS, SMA & SRR | 15.4.1978 | Mallur Ghat
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44285 | Bourdillon, T.F. | 27.2.1894 | Colatoorpolay
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44284 | | 26.11.1893 | Colatoorpolay
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44283 | | | Colatoorpolay
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| | | SNS & MBN | 6.3.93 | Kattalekan area
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------

Table 7.2 Geographical distribution of Gymnacranthera canarica.

+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| Herbarium | Number | Collector(s) | Date | Locality
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 66822 | Ramchandran, V.S. | 19.3.1980 | Kannoth R.F.
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 66558 | Rammurthy, K. | 28.3.1980 | Adimalai R.F.
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 77268 | Nair, N.C. | 2.4.1983 | Mukkali forest
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 50944 | Nair, N.C. | 9.9.1977 | Olapara
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 61234 | Mohanan, C.N. | 28.2.1979 | Quilon sacred grove
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 61242 | Mohanan, C.N. | 3.1.1979 | Koduman
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 63136 | Mohanan, C.N. | 8.6.1979 | Kulathupuzha
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 63746 | Mohanan, C.N. | 12.12.1979 | Adoor in groves
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 66173 | Vivekananthan, K. | 9.3.1980 | Edapalayam-Tenmalai
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 27030 | Ramamurthy, K. | 20.3.1966 |Valazal, Chalakudi ra
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44268 | | 26.11.1893 | Colatoorpolay
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 54655 | Mohanan, M. | 16.3.1978 | Kottur R.F.
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44380 | Beddome, R.H. | 0.0.1869 | South Kanara
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | SN | Ramamurthy, K. | 20.3.1976 | Chalakudy range
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| CAL | 92 | Lawson, M.A. | 0.0.1893 | Kulathupuzha
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| CAL | 39 | Beddome, R.H. | | South Kanara

+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| CAL | 973 | | 22.1.1896 | Kulathupuzha
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 83082 | D.F.O. Mangalore | | Parappa
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44370 | Beddome, R.H. | 0.0.1871 |
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44378 | Beddome, R.H. | 0.0.1869 |
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44270 | Beddome, R.H. | |
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44269 | Beddome, R.H. | |
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44271 | Beddome, R.H. | |
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44267 | Bourdillon, T.F. | 4.3.1895 | Colatoorpolay
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44389 | Bourdillon, T.F. | 24.2.1894 | Colatoorpolay
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 44272 | Beddome, R.H. | | Jambarcherry
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| MH | 87472 | Bhargavan, P. | 12.7.1988 | Inchathotty
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| | | S.N. Singh & MBN | 12.1.93 | Dorwejadde-Kargadde
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
| | | SNS & M.B. Naik | 6.3.93 | Kattalekan area
+-----------+--------+--------------------+------------+---------------------
might be an upper limit which is dwindling with time due to high
rate of encroachment. In Kerala, at certain places, a few trees of
Gymnacranthera canarica are seen along paddy fields or a small low
lying patch of evergreen forest attached to some temple/deity. It
is guessed that earlier these patches were Myristica swamps but now
they have dwindled due to pressure of encroachment.
7.5 Ecological conditions under which Myristica swamps
develop
1. Flat bottomed or very gentle sloping flat valley in between
heavily forested hills of evergreen forests.
2. The soil conditions of the adjoining hills should be such that
it stores water and releases slowly throughout the year. Therefore,
there will be slow seepage of water from the side hills and water
will spread throughout the valley. Even if it forms a small stream,
it will be very sluggish.
3. The soil-depth of the adjoining hills is more (say 5-10 m or
more) and there are rocks below the soil. The deep soil stores
enough water and the rocks do not allow it to percolate down. The
rocks are such that they do not absorb or hold water to reduce the
water seepage towards valley.
4. The presence of evergreen forest on the side slopes and hill
tops helps in storing water for a longer time and maintaining
continuous seepage of water throughout the year. That is why
presence of evergreen forest is necessary for the
maintenance/survival of Myristica swamps. If the adjoining hills
are deforested and converted into grassland then it will not hold
enough water for longer duration and Myristica swamps will not
survive.
5. If the slope is slightly more then water will drain quite fast
and it will not create Myristica swamps. Under such situation one
may come across few trees of Myristica fatua along such streams but
Myristica swamps will not develop well.
7.6 Probable areas where Myristica swamps can be
expected
The area surrounded by places called Aisur, Kerekan,
Kodigadde, Jan, Mahime, Mastimane, Malemane, Kattalekan,
Mavingundi, Lambapur and then Aisur is more likely to have some
Myristica swamps provided people have left some valleys still
untouched. Similarly along Aghanashini river side, there are
chances of presence of Myristica swamps around places like
Hadrimane, Hulkutri, Vidyapur Pathshala, Unchalli falls, Budgutti
and up to Hulidevargadde area provided people have still left some
valleys unoccupied.
7.7 Conservation value or Importance of Myristica swamps
There is high concentration of many wild relatives and related
taxa of crop plants in and around well-developed Myristica swamps.
They can contribute a lot of desirable characters to their
cultivated counterparts. For example: 1. Myristica fatua (or M.
magnifica) - a relative of M. fragrans (nutmeg and mace) can give
better "sink" to M. fragrans because of its bigger fruit size.
Other myristicaceae members like M. dactyloides, M. malabarica,
Knema attenuata and Gymnacranthera canarica can also give desirable
characters for the improvement of M. fragrans. 2. Musa spp. -
relatives of M. paradisiaca (cultivated banana) are often occurring
around Myristica swamps along the streams where there is some
canopy opening. These species can give tolerance, resistance and
adaptability to stresses, diseases and pests, e.g., resistance to
a viral disease called "bunchy top of banana." 3. Piper hookeri, P.
nigrum (P. nigrum itself growing in wild condition) and other Piper
spp. may give resistance/tolerance to quick wilt and slow wilt
diseases of pepper (cultivated P. nigrum). 4. Wild Zingiber and
Curcuma spp. can give more oleoresins contents to their cultivated
counterparts (ginger and turmeric). 5. Pinanga dicksonii (or Areca
dicksonii) can give many desirable characters, e.g., suckering
habit to its cultivated counterpart, Areca catechu (betel-nut).
Apart from these species a lot of other useful plant species
are concentrated in and around some Myristica swamps. Table 7.3
gives the usefulness of plant species of Myristica swamps. A lot of
plants endemic to the Western Ghats are also concentrated in and
around Myristica swamps. Table 7.4 gives the distribution of plant
species which are found in and around Myristica swamps.
7.8 Ongoing changes in Myristica swamps (i.e., threats)
7.8.1 Suspected conversions in past
Major changes in Myristica swamps have been their conversion
into paddy fields and betelnut gardens. Most of the researchers on
Myristica swamps have expressed their concern about such
conversions (Krishna Moorthy 1960, Nair and Daniel 1986, Pascal


Table 7.3 Usefulness of some plants of Myristica swamps.
+---+---------------------------+--------------+-----------+
|SN |Plant species |Usefulness |Reference |
+---+---------------------------+--------------+-----------+
| 1 |Aglaia elaeagnoidea |M |D, 2S |
| 2 |Alstonia scholaris |M |D, 2S |
| 3 |Amomum spp. |W | |
| 4 |Ardisia spp. |M, E |D, 2S |
| 5 |Beilschmeidia dalzellii |E |D |
| 6 |Borreria spp. |M |2S |
| 7 |Calamus spp. |E |D |
| 8 |Callicarpa tomentosa |M |D |
| 9 |Calophyllum apetalum |E, M |D, 2S |
|10 |Calophyllum elatum |E, M |D, 2S |
|11 |Canthium parviflorum |E, M |D, 2S |
|12 |Caryota urens |E, M |D, 2S |
|13 |Casearia tomentosa |E, M |D, 2S |
|14 |Clerodendrum spp. |E, M |D, 2S |
|15 |Cocculus spp. |E, M |D, 2S |
|16 |Connarus wightii |M |2S |
|17 |Curcuma spp. |W | |
|18 |Cyathea gigantea |Tree fern, Td | |
|19 |Cyclea peltata |M |2S |
|20 |Dichapetalum gelonioides |KERNAL EDIBLE | |
|21 |Dimocarpus longan |M |2S |
|22 |Diospyros candolleana |M |2S |
|23 |Dipterocarpus indicus |E, M |D, 2S |
|24 |Elaeocarpus serratus |E, M |D, 2S |
|25 |Ervattamia heyneana |M |2S |
|26 |Eugenia macrosepala |W | |
|27 |Ficus spp. |W | |
|28 |Ficus spp. bl |W | |
|29 |Garcinia cambogia |W | |
|30 |Gnetum ula |Td, E, M |D, 2S |
|31 |Gymnacranthera canarica |W, E |D |
|32 |Holigarna arnottiana |E, M |D, 2S |
|33 |Holigarna grahamii |E, M |D, 2S |
|34 |Hopea wightiana |E, M |D, 2S |
|35 |Hydnocarpus laurifolia |E, M |D, 2S |
|36 |Ixora brachiata |W | |
|37 |Ixora spp. |W | |
|38 |Jasminum spp. |W | |
|39 |Knema attenuata |W | |
|40 |Leea indica |E, M |D |
|41 |Myristica dactyloides |W | |
|42 |Myristica magnifica |W | |
|43 |Myristica malabarica |W | |
|44 |Pinanga dicksonii |W | |
|45 |Piper hookeri |W | |
|46 |Piper nigrum |E, W | |
|47 |Piper spp. ts |W | |
|48 |Sapindus spp. |W | |
|49 |Syzygium gardneri |W | |
|50 |Syzygium hemisphericum |W | |
|51 |Vitis spp. |W | |
|52 |Zingiber spp. |W | |
+---+---------------------------+--------------+-----------+

Abbreviations used in Table 7.3:
W= Wild relatives and related taxa of crop plants.
E= Economically important.
M= Medicinal.
2S= Second supplement to glossary of Indian medicinal plants with active
principles, Part I (A - K) by Asolkar et al. (1992)
Publications & Information Directorate (CSIR).
D= Dictionary of economic plants in India by Singh et al. (1990)
ICAR publication.
Td= Taxonomically distinct.
Table 7.4 Distribution of plants found in and around Myristica
swamps.
+---+-----------------------------+--------------+-----------+
|SN |Plant species |Endemic to |Reference |
+---+-----------------------------+--------------+-----------+
| 1 |Actinodaphne malabarica |WG |S & N |
| 2 |Aglaia elaeagnoidea |IM, WG |S & N, FI |
| 3 |Beilschmeidia dalzellii |WG |FI |
| 4 |Calamus spp. |WG, SL |S & N |
| 5 |Calophyllum apetalum |WG |S & N, FI |
| 6 |Calophyllum elatum |WG |G1 |
| 7 |Connarus wightii |WG |S & N |
| 8 |Diospyros candolleana |WG |S & N, FI |
| 9 |Dipterocarpus indicus |WG |S, FI |
|10 |Ervattamia heyneana |WG |S & N, FI |
|11 |Eugenia macrosepala |WG |FI |
|12 |Garcinia cambogia |WG, SL |S & N |
|13 |Holigarna arnottiana |WG |G1, FI |
|14 |Holigarna grahamii |WG |S & N, FI |
|15 |Hydnocarpus laurifolia |WG |S |
|16 |Ixora brachiata |WG |G2, FI |
|17 |Knema attenuata |WG |S & N, FI |
|18 |Linociera malabarica |WG |S & N |
|19 |Mastixia arborea |WG |S & N, FI |
|20 |Myristica dactyloides |WG, SL |S |
|21 |Myristica fatua var magnifica|WG |S, FI |
|22 |Myristica malabarica |WG |S, FI |
|23 |Neolitsea scorbiculata |WG |S & N |
|24 |Pandanus canaranus |WG |S & N |
|25 |Pinanga dicksonii |WG |S & N |
|26 |Psychotria flavida |WG |S & N |
|27 |Syzygium gardneri |WG, SL |S & N |
|28 |Syzygium hemisphericum |WG, SL |S & N |
+---+-----------------------------+--------------+-----------+

Abbreviations used in Table 7.4:
WG= Western Ghats.
SL= Sri Lanka.
IM= Indomalaya.
S= Flora of Karnataka Vol. I by Saldanha (1984).
S & N= Flora of Hassan District by Saldanha and Nicolson (1976).
FI= Records of French Institute, Pondicherry. (from Dr. B.R.
Ramesh).
G1= Flora of the Presidency of Madras, Vol. I by J. S. Gamble
(1921).
G2= Flora of the Presidency of Madras, Vol. II by J. S. Gamble
(1921).

1988). It seems that in its southern ranges, the conversions have
been mostly into paddy fields but in the northern ranges mostly
into betelnut gardens. In the Uttara Kannada district most of the
conversions have been into betelnut gardens. There has been (and
still there is) threat to Myristica swamp habitats from dams and
reservoirs. Since Myristica swamp plant associations develop in low
lying areas, they are more likely to submerge in dams and
reservoirs. It is suspected that some Myristica swamps might have
submerged into Linganmakki and Talkalale reservoirs.
7.8.2 Conversions observed during study period (from May 1992
onwards)
In Uttara Kannada most of the conversions are for betelnut
gardens. Even if in past, people converted Myristica swamps into
paddy fields, they are now converting the paddy fields into
betelnut gardens because of economic reasons. Most of the small
patches of Myristica swamps in Kattalekan area and the two patches
in Kargadde-Dorwejadde area are slowly being converted into
betelnut gardens. Encroachment process is usually slow. Initially
the small trees and saplings are cut. And then taller trees with
buttress, stilt and knee roots or any such trees which occupy more
ground area or create any problem are cut. Initially trees with
slender bole and less branches are left but later on their branches
are removed. Finally, the remaining trees are also removed and
garden area is increased slowly by cutting the side hills. Social,
economic and political power of the encroachers expedites the
encroachment process. It also happens that first some poor people
encroach and later-on richer and powerful people either buy or
forcibly occupy. At some places (e.g., somewhere in Malemane area
and Gersoppa, and further downstream along the Aghanashini river
after Kargadde-Dorwejadde) people have encroached and left after
some time because of some reasons. Under such cases the net result
has been the destruction of swamps beyond repair.
7.9 Socioeconomic factors responsible for such
conversions
Since population pressure has been from both sides- the coast
and the Malnaad, people have sought for valleys and Myristica
swamps from both sides. Though people are economically better than
people of similar land holdings in plains because of growing high
value crops like spices and masticatories, yet they have not taken
to family planning. Therefore, human population is increasing in
the range of Myristica swamps because of migration from both sides
of the Western Ghats as well as intrinsic population growth. Either
to maintain or to improve economic status people go for
encroachment. Around 1950s government promoted people to settle in
the Western Ghats (Prabhakar, 1994) by taking welfare measures like
control of malaria etc. Now when there are hardly a few valleys
left unoccupied, the government should also take steps to conserve
some valley areas and especially the Myristica swamps. High market
prices of masticatories like betelnut and betel-leaves and spices
as compared to the food crops are attractions for people to take to
betelnut cultivation. Betelnut gardens are not only responsible for
encroaching valleys and Myristica swamps but also for degradation
of surrounding evergreen forests as betelnut gardens demand more
leaf and twig mulch-cum-manure for sustained yield than food crops.
7.10 Future of the located Myristica swamps
The two small swamps, near Dorwejadde-Kargadde and just near
the site of the proposed dam on Aghanashini river, will submerge
or somehow get destroyed in construction work if the dam is
constructed. If the dam is not constructed then also encroachment
has already started. The tail end of one swamp is already occupied
and planted with betelnut (Areca catechu) and banana (Musa
paradisiaca). Though the condition of planted patch deteriorated
during the period from Jan 12, 1993 to Nov. 17, 1993 because of
negligence of encroacher yet it is highly likely that encroacher
will convert whole patch of Myristica swamp into betelnut garden if
it is not checked immediately. In other patch around Jan 12, 1993,
some encroacher was cutting saplings and small trees to convert it
into betelnut garden. On Nov. 17, 1993, that encroacher had already
planted betelnut and coconut saplings. If it is checked immediately
(which seems highly unlikely) then the swamp may revert to a large
extent.
Out of at least five Myristica swamps in Kattalekan area the
future of small patches of Myristica swamps depends on the
sincerity of the conservationists and Karnataka Forest Department.
Some of the small patches have already been encroached (Figure
7.10). One of these Myristica swamps of Kattalekan has survived and
has some chances of survival because of following reasons: 1.
Karnataka Forest Department has its Linear Tree Increment Plot
(L.T.I. Plot) in this Myristica swamp. So, they go there at certain
interval (probably 5 years) for measurement. 2. It has been studied
and mentioned by many taxonomists/researchers. 3. Many times
college students and researchers have gone there and local people
have realized that there is something interesting here for others.
4. Presence of it near a road. (Though this attracts encroachers
also.)
Despite all these, somebody has recently started cutting the
small trees, saplings and the beautiful palm Pinanga dicksonii.
There is also rumour (or reality?) that high voltage power-line is
to pass through this swamp. If this happens, it will result in
irrepairable loss to the swamp. So, if this is the reality then
there is need to divert the power-line to save this swamp.
7.11 Why much emphasis on its in situ conservation?
The perennial nature of most of the important plant genetic
resources of Myristica swamp like all myristicaceae members, all
Piper species, Musa species and zingiberaceae members make it
suitable for in situ conservation. Since Piper species of these
swamps are vines and hence mechanical parasites, they will not
thrive well unless there is some support for them to climb. Most of
the myristicaceae members and Piper species are dioecious.
Therefore, there should be dense population of these species for
their survival and maintaining greater amount of variation in them.
Myristica fatua and Gymnacranthera canarica are highly confined to
these swamps. On such specialized tree species there is further
specialization by an epiphytic fern which comes often on "inverted












Figure 7.10 Encroachment in Myristica swamp.












Figure 7.11 An epiphytic specialist fern on its microhabitat
(inverted U or V shaped roots of Gymnacranthera canarica).

V or U shaped roots of Gymnacranthera canarica" (Figure 7.11),
rarely on "stilt roots and knee roots of Myristica fatua" and very
rarely on basal portion of stem of other tree species and small wet
rocks in the swamp. It seems there is something in the bark of
Gymnacranthera canarica and Myristica fatua which is essential for
the germination of spores of this fern.
7.12 Tips to locate Myristica swamps
To search and locate Myristica swamps, one should take help of
Survey of India toposheets/maps on 1:50000 and 1:25000 scale. One
should also ask local people for localities/valleys where they
might have seen Ramapatre (Myristica fatua), and/or kadu adike
(Pinanga dicksonii). One may adopt either of the following two
strategies to search and locate Myristica swamps: 1. First could be
to look for origin of small streams in dense evergreen forest areas
and follow them. Origin of small streams could be traced from
Survey of India (SOI) toposheets/maps. From wide spacing of contour
lines one can guess for presence of flat valleys around such
streams. When small streams enter into or originate from flat
valleys then one can expect formation of Myristica swamps there. 2.
Second could be to follow big streams and look for joining of small
streams into them. After getting such confluence, one should follow
small one. If by chance one gets a flat valley which is still
untouched then one may get a Myristica swamps in it.
There are very less chances of getting untouched valleys and
hence Myristica swamps in nearby areas of coast and Malnaad because
of population pressure from both sides. Therefore, one should
always search in interior areas around ghat section and upghat
areas.
7.13 Possible mechanisms for ensuring conservation
The logical and simplest way of ensuring conservation of
Myristica swamps would be to locate them, find out threats on them
if any and remove those threats. If necessary, protect and develop
the partially cut and encroached swamps so that they can revert to
their original state. Similarly, further submergence of existing
Myristica swamps should not be allowed.
Such simple recommendations could be expected to work if there
were clearly laid out policies on conservation of plant genetic
resources (or biodiversity) along with proper emphasis and
priority. However, in India at least in case of forestry, the
policies and practices seem to be almost opposite. Since both the
studied Myristica swamps are located in reserved forests, they are
not to be allowed for encroachment. Yet encroachment is going on
often at the instigation of forest department officials for a
bribe. Therefore ensuring in situ conservation of plant genetic
resources (and biodiversity as a whole) seems to be a difficult
proposition. The earlier National Forest Policy was not even
considering conservation of plant genetic resources (or
biodiversity as a whole) as one of its important policy objectives
due to lack of knowledge of these resources. That is why revenue
maximization and meeting industrial and local demands were the main
policy objectives. Now with increasing importance of plant genetic
resources especially in the context of Intellectual Property
Rights, Plant Breeders' Rights and Biodiversity Convention, the
government should critically ponder over the conservation issues.
Since Myristica swamps are highly endangered habitats, it would be
better to term them as "burning spots" within a so-called "hot
spot." Since a number of plant species in and around Myristica
swamps are relatives of high value crops like spices and
masticatory, declaring good patches of Myristica swamps and their
surrounding areas as "spices' gene sanctuary" may also help in
attracting attention of public and conservationists. It would be
easy to conserve these plant species in situ in Myristica swamps.
For this purpose it is necessary to maintain Myristica swamps and
surrounding vegetation. Myristica swamps can't be conserved in
isolation.
Forest department - the biggest landlord, often does not
care encroachments. Whether a popular (or a populist?) Governments
regularise encroached lands as welfare measure (or for votes to
retain power) is an open question for us to judge its rationality
(or hypocrisy) from the point of view of different levels of
organization of humanity. The net result is the loss of options
before us in the form of genetic resources. Even if we realize the
importance of genetic resources, e.g., when Piper nigrum (the
cultivated pepper) suffers from slow and quick wilt, banana crop
suffers from bunchy top of banana and betelnut from koleroga, then
also we prefer to encroach rather than to think for conservation.
This is because, under present scenario, the immediate benefit of
getting a proprietorship of land always outweighs the unclear and
uncertain future benefit to come from those plant genetic
resources. This is certainly because of hidden hypocrisy in present
set of rules and regulations regarding maintenance and sharing of
benefit of genetic resources.
Considering above facts, one way would be to look for
alternatives to present forestry practices which would try to
maximize revenue by conserving genetic resources rather than by
losing it as it is going on at present. There may not be the
ultimate solution to the problem but at least in case of Myristica
swamps, it would be interesting to experiment in a different
direction. Government should look for private entrepreneurs who
would be willing to take the challenge of generating more revenue
than what is generated by usual forestry practices, by conserving
biodiversity, wilderness areas and PGRs and promoting ecotourism.
Most probably in ecotourism business, promoting diversity will have
an edge over promoting monotony because certainly diversity incites
more curiosity and monotony breeds boredom. Since Myristica swamps
are the most endangered and fascinating habitats/ecosystems, they
have good potential for developing ecotourism. Moreover, the
Kattalekan Myristica swamp is very much suitable for this purpose
because (a) it is near road, i.e., easily approachable, (b) it is
near tourist spots like Jog Falls, Gudwi Pakshi Dham, Goa and other
beaches, and (c) this place provides beautiful wilderness area with
spots of adventurous rock climbing and the most beautiful sights of
untouched evergreen forests of Sharavathi valley. Entrepreneurs can
develop it to maximize revenue the way they wish but the government
should monitor it critically so that the basic objective of making
money by conserving and not by destroying is fulfilled. So, the
government should ask forest department to initiate such an
enerprise or give it to private entrepreneurs. If properly
developed after giving enough thought, it can serve both the
purposes - maximizing revenue and conserving biodiversity,
endangered plants, plant genetic resources.