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Ecological assessment and indicator species analyses of the Cholistan desert using multivariate statistical tools

Sana Rasheed, Shujaul Mulk Khan, Zeeshan Ahmad, Ghazala Mustafa, Zahoor Ul Haq, Hussain Shah, Lubna Ansari and Tahira Jatt

It was hypothesized that the vegetation structure of Cholistan desert shows a significant correlation with moisture (water), edaphic and climatic variables. Is it possible to identify plant communities of Cholistan desert using indicator species statistical approach in relation to environmental gradients? To answer these questions quadrat quantitative ecological techniques were used for vegetation data collection in the vicinity of ponds (Tobas/water bodies) of the Cholistan Desert. A total of 4800 quadrats were established in 100 randomly selected Tobas in each direction. Sizes of the quadrats were 64m2, 16m2 and 1m2 for trees, shrubs and herbs, respectively. All the data were put in MS Excel for analyses in PCORD and CANOCO software’s through Two-way Cluster Analysis, Cluster Analysis, Indicator Species Analysis and Canonical Correspondence analysis using Monte Carlo procedures. A total of 49 plant species belonging to 25 families were recorded from Cholistan desert. Cluster analysis and indicator species analysis identified four different plant communities i.e., (i) Prosopis-Dipterygium-Cymbopogon community, (ii) Zizyphus-Suaeda-Cenchrus community, (iii) Tamarix-Haloxylon-Tribulus community and (iv) Capparis-Calotropis-Zaleya community. It is concluded that the available phosphorus, organic matter, soil moister and grazing pressure were the significant (p*<0.05) environmental variables in the determination of vegetation structure, formation of plant communities and its respective indicators in the Cholistan desert

To Cite this article: Rasheed, S., S.M. Khan, Z. Ahmad, G. Mustafa, Z.U. Haq, H. Shah, L. Ansari and T. Jatt. 2022. Ecological assessment and indicator species analyses of the Cholistan desert using multivariate statistical tools. Pak. J. Bot., 54(2): DOI:  

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