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Lichens as bioindicators of air pollution from vehicular emissions in district Poonch, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Syeda Sadiqa Firdous, Safina Naz, Hamayun Shaheen and Muhammad Ejaz Ul Islam Dar

In the present study epiphytic lichen mapping was done by Index of Atmospheric Purity (IAP) for the assessment of impact of vehicular pollution on lichen diversity in the Hajira city and its north sites of District Poonch Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. Vehicular emission is one of the sources of air pollution in the cities. Six transects and 25 sites (4 sites each 5km distance/transect with Hajira City (HC at 0km) as common site were selected for the present study.  It is recorded that on increasing distance from the HC lichens diversity also increased. Lowest IAP value 38 at 0 km and highest 145 at 15 or 20 km distance was recorded. However some sites at a distance of 20 km showed decreased trend in lichen taxa because of undulating topography, change in zonation with changes in selection of trees and wind pattern. In the data higher IAP value indicated better air quality. A total of 42 lichens species were recorded from the study sites. Based on Ecological Index (Q), Ramalina fraxinia, Flavoparmelia flavientior, Xanthoria ucrainica, X. candelaria, Parmelia minarum, Physconia grisea, Parmelina carporrhizans, Parmelia squarrosa, P. succinata P. hyperopta, Bulbothrix laevigatula, Hypogymnia physodes, Melanelixia fulginosa, Lepraria finkii, etc., were sensitive in response to air pollution in the study area. It is concluded that IAP is a good approach in determination of air quality using bioindicators. This method proved simple, quick and cheap and vast areas are surveyed in a relatively short time at a relatively low cost.  

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