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8asharaI MushIaq

Ashok PahdiI
ioIic inIer!erences on
5hankeracharya ForesI
FcosysIem
ForesI resources are much o! imporIahce ahd are o! ecohomic value Io
mah. Sihce Iimes immemorial mah has beeh exploiIihg Ihese resources.
Mah has become greedy as he sIarIed usihg or beIIer says abusihg Ihe
!oresI resources ih Ihe !orm o! Iimber, !odder, !uel wood, excessive
grazihg , medicihal plahI exIracIioh eIc. Shahkeracharya !oresI ecosysIem
has beeh desighaIed as ohe o! Ihe reserved ahd proIecIed !oresI
ecosysIem o! Ihe valley. 1he maih aims ahd ob|ecIives o! my work are Io
documehI Ihe impacI o! bioIic ihIer!erehces ih Ihe Shahkeracharya !oresI
ecosysIem. 8ecause o! beihg reserved !oresI, sIill Ihere was observed some
ma|or bioIic ihIer!erehce due Io: ForesI !ires DisIurbahces due Io
securiIy !orces DisIurbahce due Io Iourism Vehicular acIiviIies ih Ihe
!oresI De!oresIaIioh eIc.
asharaI MushIaq
8ASHARA1 MUSH1AQ passed M.Sc ih EhvirohmehIal
Sciehces ih FirsI divisioh !rom Ihe UhiversiIy Kashmir
ih 2008.l've sIarIed Ph.d programme Ihrough
8arkaIullah UhiversiIy 8hopal ih 2010 Io Iill daIe.
Durihg Ph.d ih 2011 l've beeh awarded as JRF ih
LAWDA spohsored research pro|ecI.8esides l remaih
acIively ehgaged ih several ElA research pro|ecIs.
978-3-8465-4034-3
asharaI MushIaq
Ashok PandiI
ioIic inIer!erences on 5hankeracharya ForesI FcosysIem
asharaI MushIaq
Ashok PandiI
ioIic inIer!erences on 5hankeracharya
ForesI FcosysIem
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BIUTIC INTERFERENCES
IN SHANKERACHARYA
FUREST ECUSYSTEM

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PAGE NO.
Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION 5-8
Chapter 2
REVIEWAND LITRATURE 9-12
Chapter 3
DISCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA 13-17
Chapter 4
METHODOLOGY 18-21
Chapter 5
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 22-69
Chapter 6
CONCLUSION 70-72
Chapter 7
MITIGATION MEASURES 73-74
Chapter 8
REFERENCES 75-77

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Through the grace of ALMIGHTY ALLAH, the cherisher and sustainer of
world, who give me enough courage and patience to carry out this work
successfully.
It is he who has created for you all things that are on earth. Then He turned to
the heaven.. And all things, He hath perIect knowledge.
I have no words to express my deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to Prof.
A R. Yousuf, P. G. Department of Environmental Science and Centre of
Research for Development, University Of Kashmir. For his enthusiastic
guidance, kind help, continued encouragement, generous assistance, valuable
suggestions and constructive criticism during the course of present work.
I wish to express my deepest and heart-felt gratitude and sincere thanks to
my respected projected supervisor Prof. Ashok K. Pandit, professor CORD &
P. G. Department of Environmental Science, University Of Kashmir, for his
supervision, invaluable suggestions, encouragement and a lot of guidance during
the course of present study.
I also extend my grateful thanks to Prof. G. A. Bhat and Prof A. N Kamila
for their moral support, valuable suggestions and kind advise during the period of
my project work.
It is with pleasure that I record the blessing and good wishes of my parents
Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat and Mrs. Hamida Bano without which it would
have been impossible to complete the present dissertation. The amount of
encouragement, understanding and patience that my parents Endeavour. They
fulfill my every requirement and make all sorts of facilities available for me to
continue my higher studies. I affectionately dedicate this work to them.
BASHARAT MUSHTAQ

Nature has been so kind to man ever since his appearance on the
earth`s surIace, man has been dependent on nature Ior his subsistence.
Nature has gifted a number of resources to man, which are available around
him. Among these natural resources, forests are one of the most important
natural resource available to man. A forest is a three dimensional
ecological system dominated by trees and other woody vegetation that exist
in dynamic interaction with the air-earth matrix of the landscape. A forest
is a complex ecological system or ecosystem, characterized by a layered
structure of functional parts. Forest ecology, therefore, is concerned with
the structure, composition and function of forests as a landscape ecosystem.
It is concerned with the climate, physiography and soil of diverse area in
which occurs the individual trees and other organisms constituting the
forest community.
Forest resources are much of importance and are of economic value
to man. Since times immemorial man has been exploiting these resources.
Man has become greedy as he started using or better says abusing the forest
resources in the form of timber, fodder, fuel wood, excessive grazing ,
medicinal plant extraction etc. and other products that are being
commercially used. Forests make considerable contribution to the economy
of our country.
India constitutes a rich biodiversity, which is abundant with
unique diversified flora and fauna wealth. The prevailing climate
conditions coupled with physical and biotic factors have untidily made an
impact on resources of many ecosystems, which are highly complex and

fragile in nature. The land ecosystem is facing mounting problem by the


hands of man. Biotic pressure due to increasing populations periodically
covers large area in the forests, destroying and other products.
The Jammu & Kashmir State, situated in the north of Indian subcontinent
and forming the northwestern extremity of the Himalayan mountain range,
is spread over an area 2, 22,236 sq.km. Kashmir lies between 33
0
.20

and
34
0
.54

N latitude and 73
0
.55

and 75
0
.35

E longitudes, covering an area of


15,498sq.km. Topographically, it is a deepest elliptical bowl-shaped valley
bounded by lofty mountains of Pir Panjal in the north and east with 64% of
the total area under the mountains. The altitude at the floor of valley at
Srinagar is 1600 m (above the sea level). The State Jammu & Kashmir is a
bioresource State with major contribution to the bioresources being for the
valley of Kasmir. The main resources of the valley are lush green forests,
which makes the components of the sustainable economy of the valley.
Forests, despite being the dominant land use from the geological past,
unfortunately are a dwindling natural resource throughout the globe. They
are the first victims of outpacing populations, being depleted faster than
they can regenerate there by aggravating such problems as deforestation,
soil erosion, and desertification. Biotic factors are all the living components
of the forest. Some biotic factors that influence forest composition and
structure include insects, disease, herbivores, and competition between
tree/plant species. Although large scale impacts of biotic factors on forest
ecology in the form of deforestation, collection of fire wood, disturbances
with wild animals have been very much highlighted.

Shankeracharya forest ecosystem has been designated as one of the


reserved and protected forest ecosystem of the valley. The status of this
forest is a pilgrimage place for Hindus. The present work assigned to me
was 'Biotic InterIerences in Shankeracharya Iorest ecosystem, Iorm a
constituent part of the larger project on Shankeracharya forest ecosystem.
The main aims and objectives of my work are to document the impact of
biotic interferences in the Shankeracharya forest ecosystem. Because of
being reserved forest, still there was observed some major biotic
interference due to:
x Forest fires
x Disturbances due to security forces
x Disturbance due to tourism
x Vehicular activities in the forest
x Deforestation etc.

Though large interference is available on forest ecosystems in general yet


very little information is known about the biotic interference affecting the
forests, particularly in the country. However a few were published during
the last thirty years. Some of themare mentioned here;
Gupta, (1977) studied the impact of human interferences on the vegetation
of the western Himalaya. The author monitors the effect of human
influences on the vegetation of the western Himalaya. Impact of forest
management practices, over-grazing, surface mining, defense and
development operations, and road construction activities are served in the
region. This has created an alarming situation for soil and water
conservation. Increased soil loss and runoff pose a threat to various
reservoirs built for various use and have increased hazards of erosion and
flood in the Indus and Ganga basin regions.
Georg et.al (1994) studied the effect of air pollution on forest
ecosystems. They monitored the changes in the atmospheric concentrations
of a number of air pollutants over the last century are hallmarks of the
magnitude and extend of human impact on the environment. Some of these
changes are important to ecologists because many pollutants, acting singly
or in combination, affect ecological system in general and forests in
particular. Because the atmospheric residence time of most of the
pollutants of concern to ecologists to measure on time frames extending
from a few weeks to decades, pollutant distribution and effect are regional
to global in dimensions. They conclude that air pollution is affecting many
forests and some remote forests around the globe. There has been a rapid
evolution oI air pollution eIIects in the world`s developing countries. Air
pollution is one of the several factors influencing forest productivity,

community dynamics and biogeochemistry, and that effects through long


termexposures.
Marini et.al (1996) studied the effect of fire on understory birds of gallery
in Central Brazil. They monitored the population and community changes
in animal and plant when there is increase in the frequency of
anthropogenic fires. The authors compared pre-fire and post fire bird
communities in the understory of gallery forests by the method of mist
netting. They that the bird community was related to type of habitat used
by some species of birds than dier diet
Takle et.al (1997) studied degradation and regeneration of
vegetation of hill slopes in relation to human impact and environment.
They chose 65 sample plots and analyze them with respect to the cover
value of vascular plant species. Altitude, slope, aspects and estimate of
grazing pressure for each plot were regulated alone with physical and
chemical properties of soil their observations as under:
Forest patches which were inaccessible where usually characterized by
low live stock density consequently low grazing. The pressure of the huge
boulders in the forest area decreased accessibility and created natural
protection of the forest trees.
The vegetation type and lower altitudes including grasslands, dense and
open shrub lands and some wood lands were associated with varying
intensity of grazing. In these areas vegetation was found to suffer the major
biotic impact. The authors recommended the precipitation, involment and
awareness of local people for recovery of affected area.

Kimothi et al, (1998) studied fire in the eight central Himalayas in


hilly districts which has suffered fire in May-June 1995 and estimated he
severity of damage by adapting a methodology using IRS LISS1 of pre and
peak fire periods. Their thrust was on the direction of the fire spread. They
stressed the need of high temporal resolution regarding direction of fire and
rate of fire spread in order to take prompt fire control measures. This would
enhance the chance of an on line advise for large scale fire control.
Poatalo (1998) studied the occurrence and impacts of fire in
forests. The author has observed the interval, climate, topography and
amount of fuel present. Compression of fire return interval in mediterian
and Europian forest has shown a difference of significance. In case of
former the return interval was calculated to be 15 to 35 years, while in case
of later it was 60 to 120 years.
The consequence of fire were mostly anthropogenic and related to both
site and stand characteristics, dry sites being more flammable with high
risk of fire. The author has recommended the alteration of fire risks in
forests by management technique.
Pandit (2002) opined that technological intervention in the
mountain ecosystem due to urbanization and moldering have drastically
changed the basic fabric of natural forests by way of the degradation of the
ecosystem. Road communication through these systems is the main cause
of deterioration of the forest environment. Riana and Johan (2002) founded
that exploitation of minerals like limestone and building material by mining
has created environmental degradation and pollution.

Physiography and drainage of the area


The Shankeracharya hill station forms part of the inner great Himalaya by
being situated in the Kashmir valley and is being maintained as a forests
research range of the state forest department. It has received a lot of
attention for afforestation and species trails and a large variety of trees that
included Cidrus deodar, Ailanthus altisma, Thuja orientalis, Prunus spp,
Pinus helipensis, Rubinia acciacia etc. have been introduced and tried in
the area. Afforestation has received a considerable amount of success but
some times there are set backs due to the mortality in the young plants.
This hill station rises on the right bank of Jhelum river and flanks the city
of Srinagar in the east. This city has a plain concave topography and is
situated at an altitude of about 1586m above the sea level. The average
height of the Shankeracharya hill is nearly 300mts from the floor of valley.
it offers a mountainous, precipitatous and actively eroded slopes and scrap
topography.
Jhelum is the main river that drains the Kashmir valley. It meanders along
its course and has a large number of tributaries which bring down the large
quantities of snow melt and rain water from surrounding mountains. The
seasonal drainage of the eastern slopes of Shankeracharya range is drained
by this river in the south and the western slopes get drained into the Dal
lake.
CLIMATE
The climate of the Kashmir valley is temperate. The rain fall in the
Kashmir valley differs considerably from outer and eastern Himalayan
ranges. The force of the monsoon is reduced in Kashmir due to Pir Panjal

range as it acts as a barrier against monsoon winds. The Kashmir valley


therefore, gets little rain during the monsoon months. The major
precipitation occurs during spring and winter unlike other parts of the
country where it occurs in the monsoon months. The winter is cold and
moist with snow but there is rain in spring season due to western
disturbances.
GEOLOGY
The Shankeracharya range comprises of volcanic rocks which are known as
panjal trap series after the Pir Panjal where it shows particularly a well
developed disposition. Both the vesicular and non-vesicular type occurs
here. The non-vesicular type are generally greenish to grey colored with
some dark grey varieties and is very hard, compact, massive, fine granite
and basic in nature. The large phenocrysts of paleogeoclase distinctly
segregating giving rise to glomeropyrytic texture. The other few which
comprises of vesicular rocks often with amygdaloidal structure shows
chlorite, quartz and epidate filling with cavities. Most of the vesicles are
elongated in shape. The Panjal volcanic series has a well defined lower and
upper boundaries marked by fossiliferous sedimentary interclations of
known age and are composed of well defined and distinct successive and
lithological units.

Fig 1: Satellite Map of Shankeracharya Forest

SITE DESCRIPTION
The study area has been divided into four sites which are described as
under:
SITE-I: site-I is situated at the top of forest near by transmission tower
facing towards Dalgate. Site-I is a scrub site and is subjected various types
of biotic interferences due to the impact of different biotic factors.
SITE-II: Site-II is coniferous and is situated just below the temple,
opposite to Sonawar area of the city. Site-II is also affected with many
types of biotic interferences.
SITE-III: Site-III is located in the middle portion of the forest. It is
dominated with dedicious trees and is less affected with biotic
interferences.
SITE-IV: The last and fourth site is situated near the main entrance of
the forest, opposite to Nehru park. Site-IV is also facing various kinds of
biotic pressures.

During the study period the data was collected from June to
November 2007, by taking weekly visits, field photography, vegetation
analysis, and unaided usual count of trespassing.
VEGETATION ANALYSIS
Vegetation analysis or community structure is an important aspect of
ecology and enables us to understand as to how a community formed by
organisms control the organism and influence their behavior and life
history (Misra, 1974). A community is a component as well as factor of
environment. The vegetal analysis provides information regarding the
interaction among species in a particular community as well as about the
organization of the species within the community.
Vegetation analysis was made during September to November 2007. The
vegetation and composition was recorded by quadrat method (Misra,
1968). Herbs, shrubs and tree species were recorded by taking quadrates of
size 11sq.m, 55sq.m and 1010 sq.m respectively at various stations at
each site depending upon the vegetal cover the site sustain. Herbs and
shrub cover were determined by method given in Cain and Casto (1959).
Tree canopy cover was determined by method given in Babu et. al (1959).
Vegetation survey of all sites were carried out and data on vegetation was
subjected for percentage frequency, density and abundance which was
obtained by actual count method (Misra, 1968), Curtis and M.C. Intosh
(1951) were followed in obtaining the important value index (IVI) from the
relative values of frequency, density and abundance of each species. The
vegetation analysis can be done by using following formulas:

Percentage frequency:
This is the dispersion of species within a community and was determined
after Raunker (1934). Percentage frequency can be obtained by using
following formula;

Total no. of quadrates in which species has occurred


Frequency (%) = 100
Total no. of quadrat studied

Relative frequency:
Relative frequency can be obtained by using following formula;
Frequency of one species
Relative frequency = 100
Total frequency of all species
Density and relative density:
Density and relative density can be determined by using following
formulas;
Total no. of individuals of species
Density =
Total no. of quadrat studied
Density of one species
Relative density= 100
Density of all species

Abundance and relative abundance:


Following formulas can be used to obtain abundance and relative
abundance values are;
Total no. of individuals of species
Abundance =
Total no. of quadrat in which species has occupied
Abundance of a species
Relative abundance= 100
Abundance of all species
Impotent Value Index (IVI):
IVI can be obtained by sum of relative values of frequency, density and
abundance which are given as:
IVI = Relative frequency + relative density + relative abundance

In additional to this some other data and information was also collected
from secondary sources. Data collected during the study period was
carefully analyzed, compiled and interpreted.

During the period of study, the extensive floristic survey of vegetation of


the Shankeracharya forest for the purpose to observe the biotic interferences in
the forest. Shankeracharya forest has been designated as a reserved forest of
valley. Instead of being reserved forest there are also observed various kinds of
biotic interferences viz. disturbances due to security forces, tourism impacts,
forests fires, wood cutting etc. On the upper side of the vegetation cover was
very poor because of various interferences. The ground vegetation was totally
absent near the transmission tower due to huge accumulation of solid wastes on
the forest floor. Vegetation was also thin at slopes and dense forest patches,
where much of the coniferous litter was accumulated on various grass species. It
was also observed that there was to some extent pressure of human habitation on
the lower sides of forest. Various observations have been recorded during the
present study which is described here;
IMPACT OF BIOTIC FACTORS ON VEGETATION
As already mentioned four sites have been selected for the present study.
Vegetation analysis was used for determining the impact of different kinds of
biotic factors on vegetation of the forest. For vegetation analysis each site have
been divided into two plots i.e., protected and unprotected plot, so as to
determine the degree of interference at each site. Vegetation analysis was carried
for all types of vegetation viz. herbs, shrubs and trees, by taking quadrat of size
11m
2
, 55m
2
, and 1010m
2
respectively at various stations for each site
(Misra,1968).
For determining the impact of biotic factors on the herbaceous vegetation
of each site. Data generated from vegetation analysis was compared between the
protected and unprotected plots of each site. The data of each site was compared
by comparing frequency, density, abundance and IVI, so as to represent the
degree of impact of biotic factors on herbaceous vegetation.

According to present data, given in table 1.1. It was observed that site-I
was ranking first in interference with herbaceous vegetation followed by site-II.
There is a variation between the values of protected and unprotected plots at site-
I. The total values of frequency %, density and abundance in protected plot are
830, 62.7 and 106.20 respectively. In comparison to this, such values for
unprotected plot are frequency % (410), density (13.30) and abundance (34.70).
However the values of IVI are not only maximum in protected plots but also in
unprotected plots. It was evident from present study that site-I have very less
herbaceous cover as compared to other sites because of various biotic factors.
Site-II also sustains less herbaceous cover because of forest fire, which destroys
the vegetal cover of this site. From comparison of data of herbs between
protected and unprotected plots at site-II (table1.2), shows variation in values of
biological spectrum i.e, frequency, density and abundance. At site-II the values
of total frequency % of all species for protected plot are (560),total density
(51.00) and abundance values are (81.41), while as these values for unprotected
plots are freq % (380), total values of density are (10.10) and total abundance
(27.30) respectively. At site-III there are also variation in data between the herbs
of protected plots and unprotected ones (table 1.3). At site-III there was observed
less interference with herbaceous cover than other sites. Site-IV also represents
large variation between the values of frequency %, density and abundance among
protected and unprotected plots of herbs. it is evident from compression of data
given in table (1.4). Site-IV represents large interference with herbaceous cover.
For determining the impact of biotic factors on shrub vegetation, two
sites (site-I & site-IV) have been selected for vegetation analysis because these
two sites were containing a good cover of shrub vegetation. Again these two sites
have been categorized into two plots i.e., protected & unprotected plots for the
purpose of comparison of data between these plots to determine the degree of
impact of biotic factors on shrubs. From data given in table 2.1, the values of

frequency, density, and abundance, are maximum in protected plot and minimum
in unprotected plot. However, in case of IVI it is not always maximum in
protected but some species shows maximum value of IVI in unprotected plot
also. After comparing the data between the protected and unprotected plots, it is
evident that site-I represents higher degree of interference with shrubs than site-
IV. According to present data site-IV shows less impact of biotic factor on shrubs
and there are less variation among the values of frequency(%), density and
abundance (see table 2.2).
For observing the impact of biotic factors on trees, three sites have been selected
(site-I, II&IV) for the purpose of vegetation analysis. Site-III was not selected,
because there was no any kind of interferences with trees. Impact of biotic
factors on trees and decline of tree cover was analyzed by taking quadrats of size
10 10m
2
(Misra, 1968 & Babu et.al, 1959). At each site two plots have been
taken to collected and compare the data between the two plots, so as to determine
the impact of biotic factor on trees. As per the present data given in table 3.1,
shows a great variation of each value among the species recorded in unprotected
plot. The total values of frequency (%) are (400), density (13.7) and abundance
(23.10), while as these values in unprotected plot are freq. (%) (170), density
(3.70) and abundance (8.50). At site-II there was also observed a great
interference with tree cover by some biotic factors. At this site here are also a
great variation among the values of frequency (%), density and abundance (table
3.3). Data collected from analysis was compared to represent the degree of
impact on trees at this site. Site-IV has a less pressure of biotic factors, thus
shows less degree of interference as compared to site-I & II. Data collected at
site-IV during present study period are represented in table 3.3, and there are not
much variation between the values of frequency (%), density and abundance of
protected and unprotected plots. The value of IVI was not only maximum in
protected plots but it is also higher in unprotected ones.



Graph showing protected plot of herbs at site-I

Graph showing unprotected plot of herbs at site-I


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/s/


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Graph showing protected plot of herbs at site-II

Graph showing unprotected plot of herbs at site-II


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Graph showing protected plot of herbs at site-III



Graph showing unprotected plot of herbs at site-III


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Graph showing protected plot of herbs at site-IV




Graph showing unprotected plot of herbs at site-IV


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Graph showing protected plot of shrubs at site-I

Graph showing unprotected plot of shrubs at site-I


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Graph showing protected plot of shrubs at site-IV

Graph showing unprotected plot of shrubs at site-IV


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Graph showing protected plot of trees at site-I

Graph showing unprotected plot of trees at site-I


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Graph showing unprotected plot of trees at site-II

Graph showing protected plot of trees at site-II


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Graph showing protected plot of trees at site-IV

Graph showing unprotected plot of trees at site-IV


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FOREST FIRES
Forest fires are as old as the mankind. The uncontrolled forest fires destroy
the trees, shrubs, herbs and natural regeneration, the wild animals, birds and their
eggs etc. The soil molecules are loosening with the result more soil erosion takes
place. High temperature destroys the organic matter of the soil. Air pollution due to
heavy fires gives rise to many other problems. The crown fire may kill the leaves
of shade plants with the result, water holding capacities of soil decreases badly and
natural water resource dry up. Besides, the destruction of soil micro-organisms
which maintains the nature`s balance hence, the important chain gets destroyed.
Every year India loosing crores of forest wealth due to forest fires.
Forest fires are one of the major biotic interferences in the Shankeracharya
forest, observed during the present study. During study period the incident of forest
fires in Shankeracharya forest has occurred three times in the month of October,
2007. The incident of fire has occurred at site- II. The Site affected by forest fire
results a great damage to trees and associated vegetation, damage to birds and
insects and soil conditions of the site. In Kashmir the most of the forest fires are
occurred due to human activities in one way or other way. In case of
Shankeracharya forest, the main source of forest fire is security forces posted in the
forest. It was observed during the present investigation, that security forces present
in Shankeracharya forest make fire in the forest for warm themselves during duty
hours particularly morning and evening hours, but at evening they leave the fire as
such without spreading water over it. This illegal activity in the forest becomes the
source of forest fire in Shankeracharya forest.

As already mentioned the forest fire has catches the study site II and results a
great damage to vegetation of the site. It is observed during present that forest fire
at site-II has damaged the ground vegetation to a large extent. At some stations of
the site-II ground becomes totally necked. In addition to ground vegetation, large
number of trees like Cidrus deodara, Thuja orientalis, Pinus helipensis etc was
also burnt by fire. Data of damage to trees and herbs was analyzed by quadrat
method (Misra, 1968 and Babu et.al, 1959). After generating the data, the data of
degraded plots was compared with data of protected plots of same site hence, to
represent the degree of damage due to forest fire. In case of ground cover
vegetation, the protected plots shows a good diversity of grasses, but in degraded
plot no any single species was recoded. Hence, all parameters in degraded plot
were absent. In case of trees the reading of degraded plot was not nil as in herbs,
some plants were also found in it. Thus the data of this degraded plot of trees was
compared with the protected plot of trees at same site which is given in table A.
from the data it is observed that in protected plot seven species of plants was found
which are given in table. While as in degraded plot only four species was found. It
is also evident that there are great variation of values of frequency (%), density and
abundance of each species between two plots. In protected plot, the value of
frequency (%), density and abundance for Cidrus are 100, 1.38 and 13.80
respectively. While in degraded plot, the same values of Cidrus are freq. %( 40),
den.(1.30) and abut.(3.20). For P.helepensis in protected plot, the value of freq.(%)
50, den.(1.90), and abun. (3.80). in degraded the same values are freq. (0.80),
den(2.50) and abun. (3.10). the values of other species are shown in table A.
Besides the damage of forest fire to floral diversity of the forest, some faunal
diversity will also be affected particularly insects and birds. No any kind of
damage of forest fire to big animals was observed during the present study. After
fire few burnt birds and their nest was found at the site. During study period, a

large no. of insects was seen at the site, but after fire there was observed very few
insects. Hence, it indicates that the diversity of insects were also destroyed by
forest fire.


Photographs showing damage due to forest fire in Shankeracharya forest ecosystem:


Photographs showing impact of forest fire on trees of Shankeracharya forest
ecosystem.


Photograph showing impact of forest fire on ground vegetation
.


These two photographs depict cause of forest fire in Shankeracharya forest ecosystem.

Table 4: comparison between protected and degraded plots of trees.


Protected plot Degraded plot
S.no Name of
species
Freq.
(%)
Density Abun Freq.(%) Density Abun-
dance
1 100 1.38 13.80 40 1.30 40
2 Pinus 50 1.90 3.80 0.80 2.50 0.80
3 Thuja 60 1.60 2.60 7.00 1.90 7.00
4 Celitis 70 2.70 38.00 - - -
5 Creatagis 50 2.00 4.00 - - -
6 40 0.70 1.70 - - -
7 Ailanthus 20 0.50 2.50 20 1.10 20
TOTAL 390 23.20 66.40 210 6.8 13.1

Graph between protected and degraded plot.


W&
W
W
&

DISTURBUNCES DUE TO SECURITY FORCES


Security forces present in the Shankeracharya forest are one of the major sources
of various kinds of disturbances with the forest ecosystem. During present study
period various kinds of interferences with the forest ecosystem as a result of
security forces have been observed like deforestation, forest fires, accumulation of
solid wastes on the forest floor, trespassing etc. According to present investigation
a large quantity of solid wastes are produced on daily basis from the security forces
including both degradable and biodegradable wastes, which are directly thrown on
forest floor. There was observed a great impact of accumulation of solid wastes on
ground vegetation. It was also observed that a large area nearby temple was totally
under the solid wastes. As a result of it no any kind of grass species was found in
these areas. Solid wastes not only damages ground vegetation, but also disturb soil
conditions and produces foul smell and shabby look of green forest floor.
Another biotic interference due to security forces, which was observed during the
present study are wood cutting. At siteI in the inner side of forest there was
observed a great impact of wood cutting on the forest. A large number of trees
were cut down by security forces. The impact of wood cutting was analyzed by
vegetation analysis by taking quadrates in degraded area and in the protected area
at same site. Quadrants of size 1010m
2
were taken at different stations in each
plot. The data generated from both the plots were analyzed and then the values of
frequency (%), density and abundance of both the plots were compared to
represent the degree of interference. From data it is evident that in protected plot
six plant species were observed while as in degraded one only four plant species
are observed. These plants along their data are represented in the table 5.
According to present data the plant which were influenced by wood cutting are;
Ailanthus altisma, Thuja orientalis, Cidrus deodara, Rubenia acacia and Pinus

helipensis. Among these species first two were totally degraded. Besides these
interferences there are other minor impacts of security forces on forest ecosystem.
Data recorded during present study are given in given table (table 5).
Photographs showing impact of biotic interferences on trees in Shankeracharya forest
ecosystem:




Photographs showing impact of biotic interferences on trees in Shankeracharya forest
ecosystem




Photo: Impact of biotic interference with trees.

Table 5: comparison of data between protected and degraded plots;


Protected plot Degraded plot
S.no Name of species Freq.
(%)
Density Abun Freq.
(%)
Density Abun.
1 100 8.50 8.50 50 1.60 3.20
2 Pinus helipensis 90 2.20 2.40 40 0.50 1.20
3 Celitis australis 60 2.10 3.50 30 0.70 2.30
4 Creatagis 60 1.70 2.80 50 0.90 1.80
5 Ailanthus altisma 20 0.30 1.50 - - -
6 Thuja orientalis 50 1.20 2.40 - - -
TOTAL 370 22.7 63.9 170 3.70 8.50

Graph showing comparison between protected and degraded plot of trees.


W&
W
W
&

INTERFERENCES DUE TO TOURISM


From study it was observed that tourism is an important factor of biotic
interferences in Shankeracharya forest ecosystem. Shankeracharya is very famous
for tourism. Shankeracharya forest was designated as a reserve forest of valley of
Kashmir. There is very restriction for entry in the forest area, but on the other hand
this forest has also a status of pilgrimage for Hindus. Because of this reason
hundreds of tourists both local as well as outsiders visit the forest area daily. As
per the data collected during the present study period, there is a great flow tourist
on the forest ecosystem. The highest flow are in the month of June, July and
August during these three months there are 700 to 1000 tourists enter in the forest
area daily see table 6.
According to present study tourism activities in the Shankeracharya forest
results a number of interferences with biodiversity of forest ecosystem. There was
observed various kinds of biotic interferences in the forest which are associated
with tourism. Trespassing was observed one of the major biotic interference as a
result of tourism. There are made a number of trespasses in the forest area. Eighty
seven (87) trespasses which was counted during the study in the forest area. It was
observed that trespassing in the forest area leads adverse impacts on ground
vegetation of forest and results damage to ground to a large extent. At various
trespassing the ground become totally naked both at slopes as well as plain area.
Soil erosion is the secondary anthropogenic impact of trespassing. During rainy
days rain water flows very quickly through these trespassing as compared ground
covered with vegetation, the quick flow of runoff trough naked ground results soil
erosion. In additional of trespassing there was observed some other minor impacts
of tourism on forest area which are accumulation of wastes on forest floor,
disturbance with trees and other vegetation, risk of species introduction and

extraction of important herbs etc. Following table shows data of monthly flow of
tourists entering & leaving the forest area.
Photographs showing disturbances due to tourism:




Photographs showing accumulation of solid wastes mostly rubbish on forest floor thrown by tourists.


Photo: A tourist cuts branches of a medicinal shrub in Shankeracharya forest.

Photo: wastes thrown by pilgrims on forest floor.

Photographs showing various trespasses in the Shankeracharya forest:




Photo: Impact of trespassing on vegetation


Photo: Some major trespasses in the inner side of Shankeracharya forest.

VEHICULAR DISTURBANCES
The disturbances due to vehicular traffic entering and leaving the Shankeracharya
forest may be apparently pronounced, but their effect and interference with forest
ecosystem are considerable. The roads that pass trough the forest are used by
tourists, pilgrims, and security forces. The impact of vehicular disturbances on the
forest is observed in the form of:
x Noise,
x Air pollution from vehicular exhaust,
x Accumulation of dust on the leaves of plants, accumulation of litter
along road sides,
x Reduction in vegetation cover by parking vehicles on ground,
x Disturbance with birds and animals, and
x Forest fire due to carelessness.
According to the data collected during the present study, indicates the flow of
vehicles entering and leaving the forest. Among the vehicles which entering in the
forest are small vehicles and very less are big vehicles. As per the present data
every day hundreds of vehicles entering in the forest. Following table shows the
monthly flow of vehicles entering in the forest:

Table 7: Monthly flow of vehicles entering in Shankeracharya forest


NUMBER OF VEHICLES
S.NO SUMO MARUTI AUTO OTERS
SPACIFIED
TOTAL AVERA
GE
1 June 3481 2988 2709 1866 11044 368.13
2 July 3589 3323 2694 2149 11755 379.19
3 August 1466 1177 1106 1037 4786 154.38
4 Septemb
er
1256 847 837 665 3605 116.29
5 October 1277 865 425 2567 5137 165.70
9
Source: Block Forest Officer, Urban Forestry Division Srinagar


Photograph showing victim of vehicular disturbance in the forest.

Photograph depicts air pollution inside the forest area near temple.

Photographs showing impact of erosion on vegetation of forest ecosystem

Photographs showing pressure of human habitation on lower the reaches of


Shankeracharya forest ecosystem.

Shankeracharya forest ecosystem which has been designated as a reserved and


protected forest of the Kashmir valley is not free from biotic interferences. By
taking together the results from all the sets of data, it may be evident that various
types of biotic interferences were observed in the Shankeracharya forest
ecosystem. In present study it may be observed that biotic interferences reduce the
vegetal cover significantly in the forest. The increasing interferences disturb the
plant species diversity, richness and evenness significantly. It can be observed that
various plant species have been completely eliminated by different types of biotic
interferences like trespassing, disturbances due to security forces, forest fire, wood
cutting etc.
From vegetation analysis it may be observed that maximum number and
distribution of species was recorded in protected plots. In comparison to it the
number and distribution of species was very less in unprotected plots at each site.
The concept of important value index (IVI) in overall biological spectrum has been
extensively as a means of assessing the biological contribution of species of forest
community (Curtis & Melntosh, 1951). In present study it was observed that the
value of IVI was not maximum only in the species recorded in protected plots, but
some species in unprotected plots may also have higher values of IVI than the
same species in protected plots. It indicates that biotic interferences do not affect
the survival capacity of the perennial species in degraded plots.
From present study it may also be observed that deforestation and forest
fires have reduced the tree cover in the forest. From overall observations it may be
concluded that the large scale impact of biotic interference was on the herbaceous
vegetation and on trees because of forest fire and wood cutting. At various places

in Shankeracharya forest, ground vegetation has been totally destroyed by some


kinds of biotic interferences like trespassing .Trespassing which was observed one
of the major biotic interference in the Shankeracharya forest ecosystem not only
damages the vegetal cover of the forest but also leads compaction and denudation
on soil. As a result of trespassing, there becomes a great risk of soil erosion during
rainy season. Soil erosions are the secondary anthropogenic impacts of such type
of interferences. According to present observations, site-I & site-II are more
affected by biotic interferences than site-III &site-IV. Site-I was ranking first in the
degree of interferences then site-II followed by site-IV and site-III shows least
interferences than other sites. Thus, from present investigation it is evident that
biotic interferences increase in the Shankeracharya forest ecosystem day by day.
Therefore, the area needs complete protection from all types of biotic interferences
so that original vegetation can occur again.

In the Shankeracharya forest ecosystem various types of biotic interferences have


been observed during the present study period which results great damage to the
forest community. To stop these interferences various mitigation measures should
be taken necessary, some of the mitigation measures are given below;
To protect the geomorphic, geological and pedological features.
Rehabilitation of the interference area by using local plant species.
To protect the diversity of native fauna and flora in the forest.
To promote specific conservation measures.
To Protect habitat of rare and threatened endangered species.
To promote research on fauna and floral pathogens of the forest.
To Prepare fire management plan for forest fires.
To Promote organization training and development of fire fighting
crews.
To Promote public awareness and appropriate use of wilderness.
To Prohibit vehicular activity in the forest area.
There should be completely ban on the movements of tourists in the
inner sides of forest area.
Government should take active steps against wood cutting in the forest
area.
There should be Complete ban on trespassing in the forest area.
To promote sanitary measures in the forest and to develope proper
management of solid wastes generated.

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