Journal of Ecology and The Natural Environment

Article Number - D697CCD9823


Vol.3(6), pp. 196-204 , June 2011


Full Length Research Paper

Comparative assessment of edaphic features and herbaceous diversity in lower Dachigam national park, Kashmir, Himalaya









S. A. Shameem1*, N. Irfana  Kangrooand G. A. Bhat2



1Division of Environmental Sciences, SKUAST-Kashmir, Srinagar (J&K) 191121,Ecology and Environment Division, Forest Research Institute University, Dehradun, Uttrakhand, India.

2Centre of Research for Development (CORD) / P. G. Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Kashmir, Srinagar (J&K), India.


Email: sa78@rediffmail.com

Accepted: 10 March 2011      Published: 30 June 2011


Copyright © 2011 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.

Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the

Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License




 Abstract

Assessment of edaphic features and herbaceous diversity was evaluated in two different sites (Site I, forest) and (Site II, pastureland) in the lower Dachigam National Park of Kashmir, Himalaya. The study was done on seasonal basis and the results revealed higher trend for edaphic factors at Site I (moisture content, 31.22%; organic carbon, 4.33% and total nitrogen, 0.33%). However, soil temperature varied from (6 to 25°C) at Site I. pH showed acidic (5.41, Site I) to nearly neutral kind of nature (6.91, Site II). Diversity index (H′) showed higher trend during summer season at both sites. Dominance index showed inverse relationship to diversity index (H′) at both sites. Richness index depicted maximum value in spring (Site I) and summer (Site II). Equability or evenness index showed highest value at Site I (winter) and Site II (summer). Comparatively average values showed higher trend at Site I in Shannon diversity (Site I = 2.655, Site II = 2.435), richness index (Site I = 3.297, Site II = 2.652) and equability index (Site I = 0.915, Site II = 0.852). Dominant species based on frequency and density at Site I were Fragaria nubicolaPoa annuaStipa sibirica andTrifolium pratense whereas Site II was dominated by Cynodon dactylonOriganum vulgareSalvia moorcroftiana and Thymus serphyllum. Maximum similarities between the two communities were recorded in spring and minimum in winter season. The study concluded that seasons have great influence on edaphic factors and species diversity. During spring and summer season an increase in species diversity was observed which declined as autumn and winter approached due to multitude of factors. The study recommended urgent need for seasonal monitoring of soil characteristics and plant diversity in the two selected sites.

 

Key words: Dachigam, diversity, forest, grazing, seasons, species.