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Present study has been conducted in a biodiversity rich Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve between 2000-3800 m in two different forest physiognomy holding sites to analyze the structure and composition of the forest communities including richness of native, non native and endemic species, and suggest conservation values at community and reserve level. A total of 60 sites were sampled and grouped in 11 and 8 communities for two representative sites Pindari-Sunderdhunga-Kafni (PSK) and Lata-Tolma-Phagti (LTP) respectively. From the sampled sites, 451 species (11.8%, 53 trees; 17.71%, 80 shrubs; and 70.51%, 318 herbs) have been recorded. In general, PSK site represented 73.6% and LTP site represented only 54.9% of the total plant species recorded in the study area. Out of total species in PSK site, native species contributed 59.6% (198 spp.) and 24.7% species were endemic and near endemic. In LTP site, 66.5% species were Himalayan natives and 33.5% were endemic and near endemic. The species richness ranged from 4–23 ind ha−1 (tree), 3–18 ind ha−1 (sapling), 5–19 ind ha−1 (seedling) in PSK site and 4–18 ind ha−1 (tree), 4–11 ind ha−1 (sapling), 4–16 ind ha−1 (seedling) in LTP site. The density ranged from 260–535 ind ha−1 (tree), 145–633 ind ha−1 (sapling), 1450–8170 ind ha−1 (seedling) in PSK site and 599–1211 ind ha−1 (tree), 70–951 ind ha−1 (sapling), 470–1665 ind ha−1 (seedling) in LTP site. Species diversity for trees ranged from 0.73–3.37, saplings, 0.64–2.67, seedlings, 0.70–2.51, shrubs, 1–2.34 and herbs, 2.02–3.21 in PSK site and 0.63–1.61, saplings, 0.76–1.36, seedlings, 0.35–1.79, shrubs, 0.98–2.73 and herbs, 2.48–3.61 in LTP site. These recorded values were almost comparable with the studies conducted in sub-tropical, temperate and sub-alpine regions of the west Himalaya. In some cases the values were slightly higher than the reported values. The important communities with high conservation values have been identified based on different ecological parameters and species distribution. Among all the prioritized communities, Mixed Silver fir-Rhododendron-Maple community in PSK site and Taxus wallichana- A. pindrow mixed community in LTP site supports maximum richness and density of native and endemic species. This study calls for development of adequate strategy and action plan for the conservation and management of habitats, species, and communities under changing climate and socioeconomic scenarios, so that sustainable utilization of the species could be ensured.
Journal of Mountain Science – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 28, 2015
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