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Plant diversity is important for sustainable development, particularly in watershed areas. This study explored tree population and diversity in a lower montane forest (LMF). A 16-ha permanent plot was established in LMF at Huai Kogma sub-watershed, northern Thailand. All trees with a diameter at breast height ≥ 2 cm were tagged, measured, identified, and their coordinates were mapped. The results showed that 220 species in 139 genera from 63 plant families were found. The dominant families based on species numbers and tree density were Fagaceae, Lauraceae, and Theaceae. The most dominant species were Castanopsis acuminatissima, Schima wallichii, Castanopsis armata, and Styrax benzoides. Diameter classes for climax species frequently followed negative exponential distributions, indicating their populations could be maintained into the future. By contrast, pioneer species, such as Macaranga indica, Morus macroura, and Rhus javanica, had discontinuous distribution, and were mostly found in gap areas, indicating successful regeneration may require high light intensity. Spatial distribution patterns based on Morisita’s index showed that most of the selected species had clumped patterns, particularly those in the Fagaceae family, which were predominantly distributed along the mountain ridge. Tree distribution patterns can affect ecological dynamics, thus reinforcing patterns dependent on local interactions such as the abundance of and distance to available resources. Our finding can aid evaluations of forest sustainability, and support the biodiversity conservation plans. In particular, the selection of suitable species for LMF restoration programs where mixed plantings of pioneer and climax species are planned.
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