iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Availability of tree cavities in a sal forest of Nepal

Prabin Bhusal (1), Dorota Czeszczewik (2), Wieslaw Walankiewicz (2), Marcin Churski (3), Rishi Baral (4), Babu Ram Lamichhane (5), Grzegorz Mikusinski (6-7)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 217-225 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1493-008
Published: Oct 16, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Tree cavities are important structural elements of forest ecosystem that host numerous birds, mammals and other cavity-dependent organisms. Pattern of cavity distribution in temperate and boreal forests are relatively well studied, yet little is known about cavities in tropical and subtropical forests. We compared cavity availability in relation to tree condition (living tree and snag), tree species and DBH class between two different sites in a subtropical deciduous sal forest in Nepal: the Chitwan National Park Forest (the park site) and the Khorsor Buffer Zone Forest (the buffer site). Surveys for tree cavities were conducted in 2013 on 50 circular sample plots of size 0.1 ha. We recorded 40 cavity trees in the park site and 31 cavity trees in the buffer site. Density of cavities was on average 22.4 ha-1 in the park site and 19.2 ha-1 in the buffer site. Cavities occurred mostly in living trees (85.9% cavity trees) and were formed mostly by damage and decay (natural cavities: 74%) or by woodpecker activity (excavated cavities: 26%). Most were observed on three tree species: Shorea robusta, Dillenia pentagyna and Syzygium operculatum, with a mean diameter of 43 cm (range: 12-111 cm). S. operculatum, Myrsine semiserrata and Semecarpus anacardium were overrepresented among tree species with cavities. In snags, 25.0% of all cavities were found in the park site and 8.3% in the buffer site, while snags represented 4.2% and 2.2% of all trees in the two sites, respectively. Statistical anaysis indicated that tree species, tree condition and particularly diameter (DBH) were important variables for the prediction of cavity presence. We recommend cavity-bearing tree species to be better protected by forest management in order to help maintain the community of cavity dwellers.


Chitwan National Park, Natural Cavities, Excavated Cavities, Subtropical Forest, Tree Holes

Authors’ address

Prabin Bhusal
Tribhuvan University, Institute of Forestry, Pokhara Campus (Nepal)
Dorota Czeszczewik
Wieslaw Walankiewicz
Department of Zoology, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Prusa 12, 08-110 Siedlce (Poland)
Marcin Churski
Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Waszkiewicza 1, 17-230 Bialowieza (Poland)
Rishi Baral
Tribhuvan University, Department of Zoology, Kathmandu (Nepal)
Babu Ram Lamichhane
National Trust for Nature Conservation, Bachhauli-2, Sauraha, Chitwan 44204 (Nepal)
Grzegorz Mikusinski
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology, Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, SE-73091 Riddarhyttan (Sweden)
Grzegorz Mikusinski
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, School for Forest Management, P.O. Box 43, SE-73921 Skinnskatteberg (Sweden)

Corresponding author

Grzegorz Mikusinski


Bhusal P, Czeszczewik D, Walankiewicz W, Churski M, Baral R, Lamichhane BR, Mikusinski G (2015). Availability of tree cavities in a sal forest of Nepal. iForest 9: 217-225. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1493-008

Academic Editor

Massimo Faccoli

Paper history

Received: Nov 05, 2014
Accepted: Jul 08, 2015

First online: Oct 16, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 3.33 months

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