Designing of nature reserve to conserve biodiversity in mountains: A case study from Central Himalaya
This study emphasizes representation of habitats and diversity patterns in habitats of a protected area in the Central Himalaya. This protected area is one of the oldest Reserve Forest in the region and upgraded to the status of Wildlife Sanctuary in 1988. The wildlife sanctuary is exclusively dominated by forest landscape and few private estates. Along an altitudinal gradient six forest types were recognized. Pine (Pinus roxburghii) forest were preponderant in the sanctuary covering about 52% of the total area. Total tree biomass was increased with increase in elevation, and was related to the diversity. The protected area covers a number of representative types of the forest communities occuring in mid-mountain region of the Central Himalaya, and are habitats of wildlife which includes rare and endangered species. Pinus roxburghii and Quercus spp. were identified as keystone species. Altitude and area occupied by a dominant canopy community type within an altitudinal zone, and overlaping zone of vegetation along elevational gradient were identified as determining factor for designing nature reserves in mountains, particularly with sparsely distributed human population and reducing forest cover on a large landscape.
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