Floristic Diversity of Kandi Region of Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India

Laxmi Rawat, R. K. Manhas, Deepak Kholiya, S. K. Kamboj

  Open Access OPEN ACCESS  Peer Reviewed PEER-REVIEWED

Floristic Diversity of Kandi Region of Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India

Laxmi Rawat1, R. K. Manhas2,, Deepak Kholiya1, S. K. Kamboj1

1Forest Ecology & Environment Division, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

2Department of Botany, Govt. Degree College, Kathua, India

Abstract

Present study was conducted in the Kandi region of Hoshiarpur, India. Kandi region is the transitional zone between the Siwaliks and the plains. Field trips were undertaken weekly in all parts of the study site and plants were collected during each trip. Herbaceous flora was excavated as a whole whereas in case of shrubs and trees, only the tender twigs bearing flowers and/or fruits were taken. The dried specimens were mounted on the herbarium sheets. These herbarium sheets were protected against damages by poisoning them with 1% mercuric chloride and naphthalene balls. Total 176 plant species belonging to 57 families and 133 genera were recorded from the study site. Out of these 176 plants, 175 were angiosperms and 1 was gymnosperm. The contribution of dicotyledons was 78.3% (137 species and 105 genera) and monocotyledons 21.7% (38 species and 27 genera). Poaceae was the most dominant family with 30 species and 21 genera. Other important families were Papilionaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Euphorbeaceae, Apocynaceae, Acanthaceae and Mimosaceae. The most dominant life form was trees (36.9%), followed by shrubs (22.7%), grasses (17.1%), herbs (13.6%), climbers (8.5%) and sedges (1.1%). Studies of forest flora provide useful information on several aspects related to species diversity like dominant families, life-form status etc. The researchers and forest managers can exploit this information in planning of sustainable utilization of these resources. Time to time assessment of species diversity also helps in studying the impact of temporal changes like climate change on species distribution.

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Cite this article:

  • Rawat, Laxmi, et al. "Floristic Diversity of Kandi Region of Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 1.4 (2013): 49-54.
  • Rawat, L. , Manhas, R. K. , Kholiya, D. , & Kamboj, S. K. (2013). Floristic Diversity of Kandi Region of Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 1(4), 49-54.
  • Rawat, Laxmi, R. K. Manhas, Deepak Kholiya, and S. K. Kamboj. "Floristic Diversity of Kandi Region of Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 1, no. 4 (2013): 49-54.

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1. Introduction

The Kandi region spanning from Kashmir region, Punjab and Haryana is the transitional zone between the Siwaliks and the plains [1]. Kandi area of Punjab is a sub-mountainous zone that stretches in a thin belt along the northeastern border of the state of Punjab, and comprises the Punjab Shiwaliks and strip of undulating land below the hills in the districts of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar, with a length and width of 161 km and 10 km, respectively.

Punjab has 84% of its total geographical area under agriculture and only 6.07 % under forests. The majority of forest area of the state is in the form of block forests in Shiwalik hills or Kandi region. Champion and Seth [2] categorize these forests as Dry Deciduous thorn scrub forests. About 83 percent of the forest area in the Kandi belongs to the local communities and private individuals. Private forests include those owned by individuals, groups of individuals or the Panchayat. The Forest Department exercises control over these forest areas under the Land Preservation Act, 1900. This area constitutes about 52 percent of the total forest areas in the State.

The pressures on the forests for fuel-wood and fodder did not allow regeneration. Fires, which generally broke out in the summer destroys whatever remains. Most of the forest areas are infested by Lantana camara and Parthenium hysterophorus, two of most obnoxious weeds of the world. For all these reasons, the Kandi region is one of the most degraded areas of Punjab. With increase in population pressure (human and cattle) and subsequent overexploitation of renewable resources has ultimately affected the carrying capacity of the system.

The earliest record of plants from Punjab are found in Stewart [3] who published a book on ‘Punjab Plants’ and Atchinson [4] published a list of plants of Hoshiarpur district. Other significant contributors towards the listing of flora of Punjab are Bamber [5], Parker [6], Nair [7], Sharma and Khosla [8], Sharma [9], Sharma et al. [10] and Manhas et al. [11]. Studies of forest flora provide useful information on several aspects related to species diversity, besides other valuable information like dominant families, life-form status etc. Keeping the importance of the subject in mind, the present study was undertaken in the Kandi area of Punjab with an objective of listing the plants of Kandi region of Hoshiarpur, so that the importance of the flora of this region is recognized and some strategies are formulated for their conservation and sustainable use.

2. Material and Methods

2.1. Study Site

Present study site is located between 31° 31′ and 31°53′ N latitude, 75° 55′ and 75°92′ E longitude. It has an average elevation of 296 m (971 feet). May and June are the hottest months of the year during which the temperature rises to 45°C. The average annual rainfall for the last five years is 832.32 mm. Most of the rainfall is received during monsoon from July to September (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Rainfall (mm) of the study area for the last five years (2001-2005)

Hoshiarpur falls into two nearly equal portions of hill and plain country. Its eastern face consists of the westward slope of the Solar Singhi Hills; parallel with that ridge, a line of lower heights belonging to the Shiwalik Range traverses the district from south to north, while between the two chains stretches a valley of uneven width, known as the Jaswan Dun. Its upper portion is crossed by the Sohan torrent, while the Sutlej sweeps into its lower end through a break in the hills, and flows in a southerly direction until it turns the flank of the central range, and debouches westwards upon the plains.

2.2. Methodology

Floristic trips were undertaken weekly in all parts of the study site. Plants were collected during each trip and while collecting plants, voucher numbers was allotted to each specimen and details entered into the field notebook. Field data collected for every specimen included place of collection, altitude, date of collection, voucher number, flower color, fragrance and other such characters, which are not retained on pressing. Herbaceous flora excavated as a whole whereas in case of shrubs and trees, only the tender twigs bearing flowers and/or fruits were taken. Care was taken to collect a disease free specimen. The plants collected were pressed at the earliest in old newspapers and blotters. The pressing of plant specimens was carried out with the help of wooden press having four nut and bolts for tightening. The dried specimens were mounted on the herbarium sheets using glue and finally by stitching them at required places with the help of cotton thread. Glued pieces of paper were fixed over the knots at the back of the sheet to prevent them from getting loose with the passage of time. Herbarium sheets were protected against damage from insects by poisoning them with 1% mercuric chloride. Naphthalene balls were also used to keep the insects away from the Herbarium.

The specimens were identified either directly with the help of the herbariums of B. S. I. Northern Circle Dehradun and Herbarium of F. R. I., Dehradun or indirectly using local floras [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. The voucher specimens were submitted to the Forest Department of Punjab, Chandigarh, India.

3. Results and Discussion

Total 176 plant species belonging to 57 families and 133 genera were recorded from the study site (Table 1). Out of 176 plants, 175 were angiosperms and 1 gymnosperm. The contribution of dicotyledons was 78.3% (137 species and 105 genera) and monocotyledons 21.7% (38 species and 27 genera).

Table 1. List of plant species present in Hoshiarpur, Punjab

Poaceae was the most dominant family with 30 species and 21 genera. Other main contributing families were Papilionaceae (10 species and 10 genera), Caesalpiniaceae (8 species and 3 genera), Euphorbeaceae (8 species and 7 genera), Apocynaceae (7 species and 5 genera), Acanthaceae (6 species and 4 genera) and Mimosaceae (6 species and 3 genera). Twenty-five families (23 dicots and 2 monocots) had only one species each (Table 2).

Sharma [9] recorded 1879 species of angiosperms from Punjab whereas Sharma et al. [10] recorded 526 species and Manhas et al. [11] recorded 202 species of angiosperms in their studies on Shiwaliks of Punjab. The dominance of plants from Poaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Apocynaceae families in the study site supports the harsh environmental conditions especially the water stress, because these plants have made morphological, anatomical and physiological modifications to overcome the drought conditions [12]. Dominance of Papilionaceae shows that these areas are nutrient deficient especially nitrogen [11, 12].

Table 2. List of important families of the study area

The diversity of life forms was higher in the present study site (Figure 2). The most dominant life form was trees (36.9%) followed by shrubs (22.7%), grasses (17.1%), herbs (13.6%), climber (8.5%) and sedges (1.1%).

Figure 2. Contribution of various life forms to the flora of Hoshiarpur, Punjab

Generally, the high diversity of trees is associated with undisturbed tropical forests. But, forest sites in Punjab are highly degraded, which is also supported by the high shrub richness and dominance of grasses. Both these life forms prefer open forests with wide canopy gaps. High tree diversity of the present study may be ascribed to some of the protected areas (farm houses) of Hoshiarpur.

The vegetation of Kandi region of Punjab is very precious for the economy of the locals [13]. It provides fodder, fuelwood, non-wood forest products, medicinal plants etc. But, to use these natural resources in a sustainable way should be the main priority of the State Government and State Forest Department. Plantation programs and protection of vegetation from fire and grazing in different parts of Kandi belt are some of the initiatives taken by the forest department. In some parts of Kandi region joint forest management (JFM) has also been started with the help of locals.

Kandi region is a hilly terrain and major portion of the rainfall flows down without any underground water recharge due to lack of vegetation, as a result of this the entire Kandi region experiences drought like conditions in summer [14]. Various programs launched by the Punjab State Government and Department of Soil and Water Conservation, Punjab to build small check dams to collect water as well as slow down its flow during rainy season will certainly help the local vegetation. Water harvesting may be the other option of recharging the ground water [15].

4. Conclusion

The present study deals with the floristic diversity of Kandi region of Hoshiarpur, Punjab. The plants were collected and then pressed in old newspapers/blotters. The pressing of plant specimens was carried out. The dried specimens were mounted on the herbarium sheets. Herbarium sheets were protected against damage from insects by poisoning them with 1% mercuric chloride. Naphthalene balls were also used to keep the insects away from the Herbarium. The floristic listing of species is very important for researchers and forest managers, as it tells us about the available resources of a region. This information can be utilized in future planning of sustainable utilization of these resources. Time to time assessment of species diversity also helps in studying the impact of temporal changes vis a vis change in land-use pattern, climate change etc.

References

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