Log in

Editor's Picks

Carlos collecting Quercus ×alentejana (Q. faginea × Q. pyrenaica) in northeastern Portugal for his PhD thesis © Carlos Vila-Viçosa
An interview with Portuguese oak conservationist Dr. Carlos...
Amy Byrne | Apr 19, 2024
Roderick Cameron | Apr 13, 2024
Pages from Gert's book
It was a great pleasure for me to be able to write about my...
Gert Fortgens | Feb 15, 2024

Plant Focus

Quercus crassipes acorns with inrolled cupule margin
One of the more well-known Mexican oaks in cultivation.

Oaks and the Biodiversity They Sustain

PDF icon Log in or register to access the full text.

K. Bargali, B. Joshi, S.S. Bargali, and S.P. Singh

Published May 2015 in International Oaks No. 26: 65–76.


The present article describes the biodiversity sustained by oak trees and shrubs, both aboveground and below. They support mammals (e.g., deer, monkeys, rodents, flying squirrel and bears), birds (e.g., jays and woodpeckers); gall-forming and other herbivorous insects, parasites, weevils that depend on oak acorns, and ants that colonize remains of the acorn shells; numerous epiphytes including lichens, bryophytes, ferns, and orchids; semi-parasites that in turn support a variety of birds and fruiting fungi both ectomycorrhizal and non- ectomycorrhizal; earthworms, springtails and others. Oaks also provide fodder for livestock, firewood for cooking, tools for agricultural activity and leaves for fertilizing fields. In India, in terms of natural coverage, no other genus matches Quercus.


oak leaf, acorn, epiphyte, soil, oak gall, lopping, forest ecosystems


Anonymous 1928. Regeneration of Indian oaks. The Indian Forester 54:71-72.

Bargali, K., P. Bisht, A. Khan, and Y.S. Rawat. 2013. Diversity and regeneration status of tree species at Nainital catchment, Uttarakhand, India. International Journal of Biological Conservation 5(5): 270-280.

Bargali, K., B. Joshi, S.S. Bargali, and S.P. Singh. 2014. Diversity Within Oaks. International Oaks 25: 57-70.

Bates, S.T., W.G. Cropsey, G. Caporaso, R. Knight, and N. Fierer. 2011. Bacterial communities associated with the lichen symbiosis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77 (4): 1309-1314.

Bora, R. 1989. Biology of oak seed grubs of Kumaun (Nainital). Ph.D. Thesis, Kumaun University, Nainital, India.

Joshi, P. 1993. Biomass, productivity and nutrient cycling in epiphytic bryophytes of higher altitudes forest ecosystem. Ph.D. Thesis, K.U. Nainital.

Kalia, S. 1988. The biology and ecology of Dicranognathus nebulosus (Coleoptera: Attelabidae) infesting oak acorns at Nainital and Environs. Ph.D. thesis, Kumaun University, Nainital, India.

Kaushal, B.R., M.C. Pant, S. Kalia, R. Joshi, and R. Bora. 1993. Aspects of the biology and control of three species of acorn weevils infesting oak acorns in Kumaun Himalaya. Journal of Applied Entomology 115: 388-397.

Keator, G. and S. Bazell. 1998. The Life of an Oak: An Intimate Portrait. Berkeley: Heyday Books and Oakland: California Oak Foundation.

Khullar, S.P. 1981. Frequency, distribution of epiphytic ferns in the Himalaya. In: S.C. Verma (ed.) Trends in Plant Sciences.

Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi 202-207.

Nixon, K.C. 2002. The oak (Quercus) biodiversity of California and adjacent regions. USDA Forest service. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184.

−−−. 2009. An overview of Quercus: classification and phylogenetics with comments in wood anatomy. Proceeding of the 2ndNational Oak Wilt Symposium. Billings, R.F. and Appel, D.N. (eds). International Society of Arboriculture.

Oli, B.P. and P.K. Gupta. 2000. Land mollusc fauna of the Kumaun Himalayan forest and role of snail in plant litter decomposition. Tropical Ecology 51: 247-250.

Pande, R., K. Bargali, and N. Pande. 2012. Effect of biotic disturbance on soil characteristics of a mixed- oak forest in Kumaun Himalaya. Journal of Plant Development Sciences 4 (4): 453-457.

Pavlik, B.M., P.C. Muick, S. Johnson, and M. Popper. 1991. Oaks of California. Olivos: Cachuma Press.

Rawat, Y.S. and S.C. Garkoti. 1992. Failure of brown oak (Quercus semecarpifolia) to regenerate in Central Himalaya: A case of environmental semi-surprise. Current Science 73: 371-374.

Ronquist, F. and J. Liljeblad. 2001. Evolution of the gall wasp-host plant association. Evolution 55: 2503-2522.

Sah, S. 1995. Phytosociology, growth rate and environmental response of epiphytic macrolichen vegetation in Ranikhet (Almora), Kumaun Himalaya. Ph.D. Thesis, Kumaun University, Nainital.

Shrestha, B.B. 2003. Quercus semecarpifolia Sm. in the Himalayan region: ecology exploitation and threats. Him. J. Science 2: 126-128.

Singh, G. and G.S. Rawat. 2010. Is the future of oak (Quercus spp.) forests safe in the Western Himalayas? Current Science 98(11): 1420.

Singh, J.S. and S.P. Singh. 1992. Forests of Himalaya: Structure, function and impact of man. GyanodayaPrakashan, Nainital. Singh, S.P., K. Bargali, A. Joshi, and S. Chaudhry. 2005. Nitrogen resorption in leaves of tree and shrub seedlings in response to increasing soil fertility. Current Science 89(2): 389-396.

Sultana, A. and J.A. Khan 2000. Birds of oak forests in Kumaun Himalaya, Uttar Pradesh, India.Forktail 16: 131-146.

Tewari, L.M. 1992. Taxonomy and Ecology of epiphytic pteridophytes along altitudinal gradients in Naini Tal hills, Kumaun Himalaya. Ph.D. Thesis, Kumaun University, Nainital.

Tewari, S.D. and G. Pant. 1994. Bryophytes of Kumaun Himalaya. Dehradun: Shiva Offset Press.

Thadani, R. 1999.Disturbance, microclimate and the competitive dynamics of tree seedlings in banj oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) forests of the Central Himalaya, India. Ph.D. Thesis, Yale University, Yale. Troup, R.S. 1921. The silviculture of Indian trees. Vol III. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Upreti, N., J.C. Tewari, and S.P. Singh 1985. The oak forests of Kumaun Himalaya (India): composition, diversity and regeneration. Mountain research and Development 5(2): 163-174.

Zargaran, M.R., N. Erbilgin, and Y. Ghosta. 2012. Changes in oak gall wasps species diversity (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) in relation to the presence of oak powdery mildew (Erysiphe alphitoides). Zoological Studies 51(2): 175-184.

Zobel, D.B., J. Ram, and S.S. Bargali. 1995. Structural and physiological changes in Quercus leucotrichophora and Pinus roxburghii associated with stand disturbance in the Kumaun Himalaya, India. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 21: 45-66.

Zobel, D.B. 1996. Using twig starch levels as an index of tree stress in Himalayan forests. In: P.K.Jha, G.P.S. Ghimire, S.B. Karmacharya, S.R. Baral and P. Lacoul (editors). Environments and Biodiversity: In the context of South Asia. 273-280. ECOS, Nepal.