Different Approaches in the Different Physiographic Zones

The site has an elevation range from 1,540 to 1,800 masl and can be divided physiographically into three ecological vegetation zones – shrub/bushland on the valley floor, shrubland on mixed slopes, and natural forest on steep slopes – and ten vegetation types. Appropriate management systems are being designed and tested for each of these in a research and development programme for assisted regeneration.

The shrubland on the valley floor covers an area of 8 ha between 1550 and 1600m. It consists mainly of invaded weed vegetation, thorny shrubs, and bushes with some swampy and dry grassland areas. The climate is sub-tropical and the soil is rich clay loam. The plant nursery, floriculture, sub-tropical and citrus fruits, beekeeping, goat husbandry and angora rabbits trial areas, and the field office buildings are all located in this area.

The shrubland on mixed slopes covers an area of 12 ha with slopes of 15-35 degrees between 1600 masl and 1650 masl. It mostly contains coppice growth of less useful and unwanted species with a different vegetation type in the gullies to the intervening areas. The slopes are typical of the mountain farming systems in the HKH region, and this zone is suitable for development and/or planting of fruit trees, floriculture, vegetables, medicinal, aromatic and wild edible plants, fodder trees, multi-purpose trees, shrubs, grasses, and nitrogen-fixing species.

The natural forest on steep slopes covers an area of 10 hectares between 1650 masl and 1800 masl. It consists of shrubland in the lower parts, and small trees with a few remnants of the once tall natural forests at higher elevations. The trees are mostly defective or less useful species with little natural regeneration and pole-size stands, and the area is infested with climbers and weeds. This zone is suitable for investigation and establishment of natural forest management; shrubland management; enrichment planting; biomass enhancement; multistoreyed forest systems; selection, selection-cum-improvement, coppice, and coppice with standards silvicultural systems; non-timber forest products; plants with income potential; medicinal and aromatic plants; natural and artificial regeneration; and for conducting research and development on such themes as lopping, harvesting, transport of forest products and their proper use, management regimes, and intensities.

Most of the assisted regeneration techniques are being tried out in the natural forest and shrubland zones. An attempt has been made to remove less useful species and encourage the growth of more useful species. The aim is to develop a tall natural forest with a higher stock per unit area of more useful trees, to maximise the production of biomass and to protect the environment. Demonstration plots of 0.25 hectares have been established with fodder trees, multi-purpose trees, fuelwood trees, timber trees, and shelter belt vegetation. Many of the forest trees now show vigorous growth, quite often coppicing from heavily lopped tree stems. The wetland part of the shrubland zone on the valley floor is being developed as a wetland ‘garden’ with a focus on increasing biodiversity.