Ecological study of an important medicinal plant of Kashmir valley, Capsella bursa pastoris
The vegetation of a geographical landscape relies heavily on the local environment. Altitude is a major factor in shaping the phytodiversity and biomass. The biomass study is essential for estimating the productivity of natural ecosystems. The demand for medicinal plants has been increased and it has become a trend to utilize forests and its products according to their productivities. The present study was aimed to investigate the attitudinal and other ecological variations in biomass of an important medicinal plant of Kashmir, Capsella bursa pastoris. The method, we used to estimate the biomass of selected medicinal plant at different ecological sites, was the harvest method. We compared the biomass (fresh and dry matter) of two protected siteshaving altitudinal and other ecological variations. The maximum biomass was recorded at the site I with lower altitude and the minimum value was recorded at site II with higher altitude. The minimum above ground biomass was recorded at site II. However, at Bijbehara, biomass variation was observed at two different sites. Maximum biomass was found at the site II (Dara Shikoh garden Bijbehara). The below-ground biomass showed a considerable increase on decreasing altitude. Roots react instantly to better soil moisture conditions. The maximum biomass in underground parts at the site I may be because of translocation of the main materials from the above-ground parts to the below-ground parts as the above-ground biomass was greater at same altitude. The minimum biomass at higher altitude and the ecologically disturbed site may be because of unfavourable microclimatic conditions and degradation of medicinal plants by grazing activity respectively.Â
2. Geiger R. 1965. The Climate Near the Ground. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
3. Shirley HL. 1929. The influence of light intensity and light quality upon the growth and survival of plants. American Journal of Botany 16: 354â€“39
4. Soethe N, Lehmann J, Engels C (2008) Nutrient availability at different altitudes in a tropical montane forest in Ecuador. J Trop Ecol 24:397â€“406
5. Dufour A, Gadallah F, Wagner HH, Guisan A, Buttler A (2006) Plant species richness and environmental heterogeneity in a mountain landscape: effects of variability and spatial configuration. Ecography 29:573â€“584
6. Yonzon , P.B. and J.T. Heinen(eds)1997. Nepal`s biodiversity and protected areas. The 1997 Protected Areas Management Workshop of the National Biodiversity Action Plan, Kathmandu.
7. Milchunas, D.G.,O.E. Sala and W.K. Lauenroth, 1988. A generalized-model of effects of grazing by large herbivores on grassland community structure. American Naturalist, 132:87-106.
8. Fleischner, T.L. 1994. Ecological costs of livestock grazing in western north-america .Conser, Bio.,8: 629-644.
9. Jones , A. 2000. Effects of cattle grazing on North American arid ecosystems: a quantative review. Western North American Naturalist , 60: 155-164.
10. White, J.G.H. and G.P. Cosgrove. 1990. Lucerne grazing management.2. effect of grazing duration on defoliation pattern by ewes. New Zealand J. Agric. Res., 33: 621-625.
11. O'Connor, T.G. 1994. Composition and population responses of an African savanna grassland to rainfall and grazing. J. Appl. Ecol., 31: 155-171.
12. Kazmaier, R.T., E.C. Hellgren, D.C. Ruthven and D.R. Synatzske. 2001. Effects of grazing on the demography and growth of the Texas tortoise. Conser.Bio., 15: 1091-1101.
13. Critchley, C.N.R., M.J.W. Burke and D.P. Stevens. 2004. Conservation of lowland semi-natural grasslands in the UK: a review of botanical monitoring results from agri-environment schemes. Bio.Conser., 115: 263-278
14. Gillen, R.L. and P.L. Sims. 2004.Stocking rate, precipitation, and herbage production on sand sagebrush-grassland. J. Range Manage., 57: 148-152.
15. Mokany, K., Raison, R.J., Prokushkin, A.S., 2006. Critical analysis of root:shoot ratios in terrestrial biomes. Global Change Biology 12, 84â€“96
16. Schulze, E.D., Mooney, H.A., Sala, O.E., Jobbagy, E., Buchman, N., Bauer, G., Canadell, J., Jackson, R.B., Loreti, J., Oesterheld, M., Ehleringer, J.R., 1996. Rooting depth, water availability, and vegetation cover along an aridity gradient in Patagonia. Oecologia 108, 503â€“511.