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Vascular plants distribution in relation to topography and environmental variables in alpine zone of Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary, West Himalaya

Journal of Mountain Science, 2018, Vol.15(9), pp.1936-1949 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Vascular plants distribution in relation to topography and environmental variables in alpine zone of Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary, West Himalaya
  • Author: Chandra, Sudeep ; Singh, Ankit ; Singh, C. ; Nautiyal, M. ; Rawat, L.
  • Found In: Journal of Mountain Science, 2018, Vol.15(9), pp.1936-1949 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: GLORIA ; Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ; Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) ; Ecotone ; West Himalaya
  • Language: English
  • Description: The present study was carried out in Tungnath alpine meadows of Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary, Western Himalaya from subalpine to upper alpine zone. A total of four summits were selected along an altitudinal gradient and sampled for detailed vegetation analysis using multi summit approach as per Global observation research initiative in alpine environments (GLORIA). Species richness, diversity, and evenness among four summits as well as the interaction between environmental variables with plant communities were assessed. Monthly mean soil temperature was calculated using data retrieved from geo-precision temperature logger in order to identify the trend of soil temperature among different season and altitudinal gradient and its implications to plant communities. Soil samples were analyzed from each summit by collecting randomized composite soil samples. The indirect non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) and direct canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) tools of ordination techniques to determine the linkage between plant species from various sample summits and biotic/abiotic environmental gradients were used in the present study. The results of the study demonstrated increase in species richness as soil temperature increases, the ecotone representing summits were found most warm summits followed by highest species richness. Annual soil temperature increased by 1.43°C at timberline ecotone. Whereas, at upper alpine zone the soil temperature increased by 0.810C from year 2015 to 2016. Sørensen’s similarity index was found to be increased between subalpine and upper alpine zone with increase in the presence of subalpine plant species at upper alpine zone. Both the ordination tools separate the subalpine summit and their respective vegetation from summits representing timberline ecotone and upper alpine zone. Soil pH, altitude, soil cation exchange capacity were found as the key abiotic drivers for distribution of plant species.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1672-6316 ; E-ISSN: 1993-0321 ; DOI: 10.1007/s11629-017-4738-8

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