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International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 2 (2006) 97–104 Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation status of plant species of the Mornaula Reserve Forests, West Himalaya, India Shreekar Pant and S. S. Samant G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Himachal Unit, Mohal-Kullu, India Key words: Diversity, distribution, indigenous uses, status, Mornaula Reserve Forest, West Himalaya SUMMARY Assessment of plant diversity of the reserve forests of Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) has received little attention. The present study was conducted in Mornaula Reserve Forest, one of the biodiversity-rich reserve forests of West Himalaya, and examined the diversity, distribution and indigenous uses of economically important plant species. A total 337 species of economic importance, belonging to 111 families and 260 genera have been reported. Of these, there were 75 tree species, 69 shrub species and 193 herbs (including 7 species of pteridophytes). These species have been used as medicine (221 spp.), wild edible/food (114 spp.), fodder (94 spp.), fuel (40 spp.), in religion (12 spp.), in agricul- tural tools (11 spp.), as timber (9 spp.) and for several other purposes (25 spp.) Among the useful species, 144 species had multiple uses and 193 species had single utility. Two species are recorded in the Red Data Book of Indian Plants as rare-endangered e.g. Cypripedium cordigerum (Rare); Dioscorea deltoidea (Vulnerable). These and other species have been also categorized as Critically Endangered (3 spp.); Endangered (4 spp.); and Vulnerable (9 spp.), following criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Comprehensive assessment of biodiveristy will help in the conservation and management planning for the reserve forests of the IHR. INTRODUCTION The cultural diversity of society reflects the close (Samant et al. 1998), 675 wild food species (Samant relationship between human life and nature. and Dhar 1997), 279 fodder species (Samant 1998), Inhabitants of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) 118 medicinal and aromatic species yielding essen- are largely dependent on their immediate bio- tial oils (Samant and Palni 2000) and 155 sacred resources for medicine, wild food, fodder, fuel, species (Samant and Pant 2003) have been timber, agricultural tools and other purposes to recorded from the IHR. Studies carried out on the meet out their daily needs (Samant and Dhar human dependence on plant resources in the 1997). About 1748 species of medicinal plants reserve forests of West Himalaya and in the IHR are Correspondence: S. S. Samant, G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Himachal Unit, Mohal-Kullu- 175 126, Himachal Pradesh, India. E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org 97 Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation Pant and Samant sparse (Shah 1974; Pangtey et al. 1989; Jain 1991; Extensive and intensive surveys were conducted Samant 1993; Samant et al. 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002; between 2002–2004 to gather information on local Samant and Pangtey 1995; Joshi et al. 1999, 2001; names, altitudinal ranges and life forms of the plant Samant and Pal 2003; Kala et al. 2004) and a com- species. Knowledgeable persons, including local plete database on economically important plant vaidhyas (village expert in traditional herbal treat- resources is lacking. An attempt has been made to ment), from each village were interviewed and assess and compile available information on the information on utilization pattern and indigenous diversity, distribution and utilization patterns, knowledge was gathered. Among the villagers, one including indigenous uses of economically impor- knowledgeable person was hired to survey and tant plant species, of Mornaula Reserve Forest collect economically important species, including (MRF). MRF is one of the biodiversity-rich reserve medicinal and edible wild plants. Each species was forests of West Himalaya and was notified as such identified using available floras (Osmaston 1927; under section 569/14–15 in September 1915. Babu 1977; Naithani 1984, 1985; Samant 1987; The notification of reserve forests began Pangtey et al. 1988; Purohit and Samant 1995; Gaur between 1911 and 1915. These forests were 1999; Khullar 1994, 2000; Anonymous 1883–1970). grouped into ‘settlement blocks’ where villagers Identification of endemic species was done on the were given the rights to collect forest resources for basis of their distribution (Samant et al. 2002). The their own use. In 1921, the reserve forests were species restricted to Indian Himalayan biogeo- divided into Class I and Class II forests; class I forests graphic provinces were considered endemic and were managed by the civil authorities, while Class II those extending to neighbouring countries and forests were managed by the Forest Department. In states were considered as near endemic. Informa- Class I forests, tree felling (except for timber trees) tion on indigenous uses is based on primary and was allowed, while in Class II forests tree felling was secondary sources (Shah 1974; Pangtey et al. 1989; restricted although, one could collect wood. In Samant 1993; Samant et al. 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002; 1964, management of Class I forests, except for Samant and Pangtey 1995; Joshi et al. 1999, 2001; Forest Panchayats (village communities), was Samant and Pal 2003; Kala et al. 2004). For external transferred to the Forest Department (Dwivedi use, the plant part is crushed and converted into a and Mathur 1978). At present, Uttaranchal State paste; for internal uses, the paste is mixed with has approximately 23,826.87 km of reserve and water. Species status is based on Samant et al. (1998) 103.73 km of protected forest (Anonymous 2000a). and Ved et al. (2003) and altitudinal distribution In Kumaun, reserve forests cover 648 203 ha is based on the occurrence of species within (Mishra 1997) including: Thal kedar, Dhwaj, altitudinal zones of the study area. Kalamuni, Berina Pine, and Sandeo in Pithoragarh; Kalika, Dalmoti, Jakhdeo, Airadeo, Jageshwar, Syahi Devi, and Soni Binsar in Almora district; RESULTS Kranteshwar and Devi Dhura in Champawat district; Species diversity and utilization pattern and Kilburry, Binayak, Kunjakharak and Chorgallia in Nainital district. MRF covers 139.23 km and The present study in the MRF recorded 337 eco- includes parts of Almora and Nainital districts of nomically important species: trees (75), shrubs the Kumaun region. (69), herbs (193) and pteridophytes (7), belonging to 111 families and 260 genera. These species are used as medicine (221), wild food (114), fodder MATERIAL AND METHODS (94), fuel (40), religious purposes (12), in agricul- MRF is bounded by Champawat in the east, Nainital tural tools (11), as timber (9), and for other pur- in the west and south, and Almora in the north poses (25) (Figure 2). Among the useful species, (Figure 1), 29°24′–29°30′Nto79°49′–79°52′E. 144 had many uses and 193 species had one use. Altitude ranges between 1500–2200 m and sup- The utilization pattern of medicinal plants indi- ports subtropical and temperate vegetation. It is cated that leaves (117 spp.), whole plants (79 spp.), surrounded by 16 villages in Almora and Nainital fruits (68 spp.), roots (55 spp.), aerial parts (28 districts, and nine representative villages were spp.), bark (27 spp.), seeds (21 spp.), flowers (18 selected for the present study (Figure 1). spp.), and bulbs/tubers (16 spp.) were used, while 98 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation Pant and Samant Figure 1 Location of the study area Figure 2 Utilization pattern of economically important species in MRF International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 99 Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation Pant and Samant Table 1 Diversity, distribution and indigenous uses of some economically important plants of MRF Local Altitudinal Life Part Family/Taxa name range (m) form used Origin/Endemism Medicinal Adiantum venustum D Don Sunraj, 1500–2200 Fern Frd Himalaya Hansraj Bergenia ligulata (Wall) Engl Silphor, 1500–2200 Herb Lf, Rt Himalaya** Pashanbhed Cannabis sativa L Bhang 1500–2200 Herb Lf, Sd, Fr, Fl Cosmopolitan Curcuma longa L – 1500–2000 Herb Rt, Lf Asian Tropics Datura stramonium L Datura 1500–1600 Herb Lf, Sd, Fr Tropics Cosmopolitan Delphinium denudatum Royle Nirbishi 1800–2200 Herb Rt Himalaya** Globa racemosa Sm. – 1500–2200 Herb WP Asian Tropics Gloriosa superba L – 1500–1600 Herb Rt Asian Tropics** Hedychium spicatum Buch.-Ham Ban-haldi 1500–2200 Herb Rt Himalaya** ex Sm Heracleum candicans Wall ex DC Gandharajan 1700–2200 Herb WP Himalaya** Lilium polyphyllum Don ex Royle Kandmool 1500–2200 Herb B Himalaya M. cylindrostachya (Lindl) O Ktze – 1500–2000 Herb Pseudo-B Himalaya Malaxis acuminata Don Lasania 1500–2200 Herb Lf, Rt Himalaya Melia zedaracht L Bakain 1500–1600 Tree Fr, Lf, Bk, Himalaya Sh Origanum vulgare L Bantulsi 1500–2200 Herb WP Europe, Asia Paris polyphylla Sm Satwa 1500–2000 Herb Rt Himalaya, China Parnassia nubicola Wall ex Royle Nibris 1800–2200 Herb Rt Himalaya** Plantago himalaica Pingler Isabgol 1500–2200 Herb Sd Himalaya** Rubia manjith Roxb ex Flem Manjith 1500–2200 Herb St, Rt, Lf Asian Tropics, Africa Solanum indicum L Banbhantawa 1500–2200 Herb Fr, Rt Tropics Swertia angustifolia Buch.-Ham Chiraitu 1800–2200 Herb WP Himalaya ex D Don Syzygium cuminii (L) Skeels Jamun 1500–1600 Tree Bk, Lf, Rt, Asia, Australian Sd Tropics Taxus baccata ssp. wallichiana Thuner 2000–2200 Tree Bk, Lf Himalaya (Zucc) Pilger Thalictrum foliolosum DC Mamiri 1500–2200 Fern Rt Himalaya Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers Giloe, Gurch 1500–1600 Shrub WP Indian Orient Zanthoxylum armatum DC Timur 1500–1800 Tree Fr, Sd Himalaya, China Zingiber officinale Rosc Adrak 1500–1800 Herb Rt Tropics Wild edibles Phoenix humilis Royle Khajoor 1500–1700 Tree Fr SE Asia Asparagus racemosus Willd Keruva 1500–2200 Shrub Fr, Rt Indian Orient, Africa, Australia Viburnum cotinifolium Don Titmolia 1500–2200 Shrub Fr Himalaya** V. mullaha Buch.-Ham. ex Don Titmuya 1500–2200 Tree Fr Himalaya Terminalia chebula Retz Harar 1500–1800 Tree Fr Asian Tropics Cornus capitata Wall Bamor 1500–2000 Tree Fr Himalaya Melothria heterophylla (Lour) Cong Bankakri 1700–2200 Herb Rt, Fr Asian Tropics Diplazium esculentum (Retz) Sw Dhuskia 1500–2200 Fern Fr Asian Tropics Rubus biflorus Buch-Ham ex Sm Hisalu 1500–2200 Shrub Fr Himalaya Pyrus pashia Buch-Ham ex Don Mehal 1500–2200 Tree Fr Himalaya continued 100 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation Pant and Samant Table 1 continued Fodder Debregeasia longifolia (N Burman) Tushiaru 1500–2000 Tree Lf Himalaya Wedd ** Celtis australis L Kharik 1500–2000 Tree Lf Europe, Asia Goldfussia dalhoussiana Nees 1500–2200 Herb AP Himalaya* Digitaria cruciata (Nees ex Steud.) – 1500–2000 Herb Lf Cosmopolitan A. Camus Drepanostachyunm falcatum (Nees) – 1600–2200 Shrub Lf Himalaya** Keng f Litsea umbrosa Nees Putli 1500–2200 Tree Lf Himalaya Persea duthiei (King ex Hk f) Kaul 1500–2200 Tree Lf Himalaya** Kostern Quercus leucotrichophora A Camus Banj 1500–2200 Tree Lf Himalaya Fuel Quercus floribunda Thunb Kharsu 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Q. leucotrichophora A Camus Banj 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya Cupressus torulosa D Don Surai 1700–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Pinus roxburghii Sarg Chir 1600–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Celtis australis L Kharik 1500–2000 Tree St Europe, Asia, Temperate India Symplocos chinensis (Lour) Drace Lodh 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya, Asia Meliosma pungens Walp Ghosa 1500–2000 Tree St Himalaya, Japan Stranvaesia naussia (Don) Dcne Garmehal 1500–2200 Tree St Indian Orient Fraxinus micrantha L Angua 1500–2000 Tree St Central America Ficus nemoralis Wall ex Mir Chil 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Persea duthiei (King ex Hk f) Kaul 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Kostern P. odoratissima Nees Kaul 1800–2200 Tree St India, SE Asia Timber Cupressus torulosa D Don Surai 1700–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Pinus roxburghii Sarg Chir 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Quercus leucotrichophora A Camus Banj 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya Cedrus deodara (Royle ex D Don) Deodar 1700–2200 Tree St Himalaya, N Africa G Don Religious Brassica campestris L Sarsoo 1500–2200 Herb Sd Cosmopolitan Prunus cerasoides Don Paya, Padam 1500–2000 Tree Lf Himalaya Skimmia laureola (DC) Zucc Naraya patti 1700–2200 Shrub Lf Himalaya** Valeriana hardwickii Wall Samaya 1800–2200 Herb Rt Himalaya, SE Asia V. jatamansi Jones Samayo 1500–2200 Herb Rt Himalaya Agricultural tools Alnus nepalensis Don Utish 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya Cornus capitata Wall Bamor 1500–2000 Tree St Himalaya Michelia kisopa Buch-Ham Chafa 1700–1800 Tree St Himalaya** Quercus floribunda Thunb Kharsu 1500–2200 Tree St Himalaya** Toona serrata (Royle) Roem Dalla 1500–1600 Tree St SE Asia, Australia Abbreviations: * = Endemic; ** = Near-endemic St = stem; Fr = fruit; Sd = seed; WP = whole plant; AP = aerial part; Lf = leaf; F l= flower; Bk = bark; B = bulb; Rt = root; Frd = frond International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 101 Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation Pant and Samant other parts (latex or oil) were also widely used. Wild Pyrus pashia was used as medicine, food, fuel, edible fruits, flowers, seeds, leaves and bark are fodder and for religious purposes. eaten raw, roasted and fried. Status Distribution Of the 337 species, 17 were rare-endangered and The altitudinal distribution of the economically threatened, including Cypripedium cordigerum important species indicated that more species (Rare) and Dioscorea deltoidea (Vulnerable), accord- (334) were found between 1500–1800 m and fewer ing to the Red Data Book of Indian Plants (Nayar species (248) above 1800 m. and Sastry 1987, 1988, 1990; Ved et al. 2003; Pant 2005). Other species were considered as Critically Endangered (Lilium polyphyllum, Dioscorea deltoidea, Endemism Taxus baccata ssp. wallichiana), Endangered (Berberis In MRF, 44.8% of species were native to the aristata, Paris polyphylla, Heracleum candicans, Swertia Himalayan region, 9.2% were native to the angustifolia), Vulnerable (Bergenia ligulata, Cinna- Himalaya and adjacent countries, 16.3% were momum tamala, Gloriosa superba, Polygonatum verti- considered near endemic and 46.0% were non- cillatum, Zanthoxylum armatum, Valeriana jatamansi, natives (Table 1). Only one species, Goldfussia Curculigo orchioides, Hedychium spicatum, Thalictrum dalhoussiana, was endemic. foliolosum) using current IUCN criteria (Ved et al. 2003; Samant and Pal 2003). Indigenous uses CONCLUSIONS Of the 337 economically important species, 221 were used medicinally (some of which are listed in Since time immemorial, plant resources have been Table 1). For example, fronds of Adiantum venus- used by mankind to meet daily needs. Attempts tum were used in fever; roots of Acorus calamus were have been made to explore, identify and prepare an used for bronchitis, toothache, headache and neck inventory of the plant resources of protected and pain; Asparagus racemosus in rheumatism, nose unprotected areas of the Himalaya (Pangety et al. bleeds, diarrhoea, dysentery, snake bite, menstrual 1989; Samant et al. 1996, 2001, 2002; Joshi et al. complaints, tongue ulcers, urinary complaints; 1999, 2001; Jain 1991). In spite of the best efforts by whole plants of Artemisia nilagarica in asthma, ear such workers, the information is still scattered and complaints, epilepsy, menstrual complaints, ner- most of the biodiversity-rich areas, including vous disease, skin disease, stomach ache and as a reserve forests, remain unexplored or under- tonic; roots of Bergenia ligulata in kidney stone; explored. The present study provides first-hand roots and leaves of Melothria heterophylla in contra- information on diversity, distribution, utilization ception, cuts, diabetes, fever, stomach ache; and patterns and indigenous uses of economically roots of Malva verticillata in cough, as an emollient, important plant species of MRF. Most of the high piles, ulcers and urinary complaints. value species used in several industries were There were 144 multipurpose species, e.g. extracted from the wild, and hence face high Pistacia integerrima was used as medicine, food, anthropogenic pressures. Over-exploitation and fodder, tannins, timber and dye; Cornus capitata habitat degradation of some economically impor- were used for food, fuel and animal bedding; tant species is a severe threat to these species. Base- Quercus leucotrichophora was used for fuel, fodder line information, such as that provided in this and timber; Polygonatum verticillatum was used as paper, on the useful species is essential to under- medicine, food and for other purposes; Cynodon stand the population status of wild species in order dactylon was used for medicine, religious and to identify their economic and conservation value ornamental purposes; Myrica esculenta was used as and thus develop strategies for conservation and medicine, food and fuel; Grewia oppositifolia was management of economically important species used for medicine, fodder, fuel and fibres; and that are under high anthropogenic pressure. 102 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Diversity, distribution, uses and conservation Pant and Samant Development, Kosi-Katarmal, Almora for facilities ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and encouragement. Support and cooperation The authors thank U. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jun 1, 2006
Keywords: DIVERSITY; DISTRIBUTION; INDIGENOUS USES; STATUS; MORNAULA RESERVE FOREST; WEST HIMALAYA
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