Examining relationship between environmental gradients and Lesser Himalyan forest vegetation of Nikyal valley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir using ordination analysis
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine
Objective: To report the relationship of vegetation structure and environmental gradient and physiochemical properties of soil at Nikyal valley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir . Methods: A survey of natural vegetation and soil of Nikyal valley was undertaken. Phytosociological survey was conducted by using Braun-Blanquet's approach. The study also investigated the vegetation structure and its relationship with altitude and edaphic factors. The floristic data was analyzed by cluster anlaysis, detrended
... nlaysis, detrended correspondence analysis and canonical correspondence analysis using CANACOO 5.0. Results: A total of 110 plant species and 13 stands were merged into five major associations as dema rcated by cluster analysis and detrended correspondence analysis. The associations were Olea-Pinus-Themeda association, Myrsine-Rhus-Quercus association, Quercus-Rubus-Pinus association and Quercus association. Soil organic matter, saturation, pH and altitude play the major role in distribution of species. Conclusions: The variation in vegetation structure is controlled by the altitudinal gradient and physiochemical properties of soil. These results indicate a deteriorated forest structure and reduced regeneration pattern, demanding immediate attention of forest management authorities.