Research Paper

Vegetation composition and plant diversity in mining disturbed tropical thorn forest of Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Northern India

Vandana Sharma, Smita Chaudhary

Published on: 20 August 2018

DOI: 10.6165/tai.2018.63.267

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2018 vol.63 no.3 pp.267-280

Abstract

Assessing the biological diversity of any region is a fundamental necessity towards promoting sustainable development and implementation as efficient conservation action plan. Thorn forests, which exhibit extreme deciduous traits, cover 1.97% of the area of India. Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary (ABWLS), encompassing about 32.71 km2 area, represents a typical tropical thorn forest ecosystem of low hills layered with quartzite and has undergone drastic transformations due to massive open cast mining of feldspar and for red sand stone. Regeneration of secondary forests has occurred in mining pits that have been quarried. In the present study vegetation composition and plant diversity were analysed in the undisturbed natural forest (UD) and secondary forests sites exposed to different intensities of disturbance resulting in the formation of regenerating secondary forests inside the mining pits (SRMP) and on mine spoils (SRMS) and disturbed secondary forest (HD) in the periphery of the sanctuary. The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index indicated that the Sanctuary experienced an uptrend in vegetation regeneration as a whole over the last 21 years. Total density, total basal area, species richness and diversity indexes showed a declining trend with the increase in disturbance intensity. The good conservation efforts in the sanctuary have resulted in considerable natural regeneration of secondary forests in the degraded habitats including pits and mine spoils but needs greater protection efforts as well as eco-development to meet the livelihood requirements of the local people.

Keyword: Density, Diversity, Disturbance, Invasion, Mining, Protected Area, Secondary forest, Tropical Thorn forest

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