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Plant communities and anthropo-natural threats in the Shigar valley, (Central Karakorum) Baltistan-Pakistan

Zaheer Abbas, Shujaul Mulk Khan, Jan Alam, Zainul Abideen and Zahid Ullah

The present study elaborates the results of the first phytosociological research conducted in the Shigar valley, Karakorum Mountains along with posed natural and human made threats. Random stratified sampling method was used in order to collect phytosociological data. During field trips carried out in 2013-2016, 14 localities and 35 altitudinal transects were sampled in the elevation range of 2200-4700m. The plant communities were determined, and the plant taxa were analyzed against environmental variables using computer packages. Each community was analyzed for potential threats by point scaling (1-3) method. In all 345 species were recorded belonging to 206 genera and 63 families including few endemic and rare taxa such as Aconitum violaceum var. weilerei, Asperula oppositifolia subsp. baltistanica, Festuca hartmannii, Anaphalis chitralensis, Hedysarum falconeri, Pedicularis staintonii, Clematis alpine var. sibirica and Pyrola rotundifolia subsp. karakoramica. Species richness was observed at middle elevations. Three communities were recognized along altitude with prevailed dry slopes residing maximum thermophilous and petrophilous species. The main controlling factors of species composition and distribution pattern along elevation were soil moisture, substrate, aspect and elevation. Grazing, uprooting, trampling and cutting were recognized as the major degradation processes of the vegetation. The mountainous vegetation of the study area possesses substantial plant biological diversity with unique assemblage with elevation. Several anthropo-natural threats were observed mostly connected with direct habitat fragmentation triggering rapid decline in vegetation cover. Nevertheless, the grazing, uprooting and cutting were potential and destructive threats for local plant biota which demand prompt conservation plans.

To Cite this article: Abbas, Z., S.M. Khan, J. Alam, Z. Abideen and Z. Ullah. 2020. Plant communities and anthropo-natural threats in the Shigar valley, (Central Karakorum) Baltistan-Pakistan. Pak. J. Bot., 52(3): DOI:

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