Posted by Botanist in December 20, 2010
Vegetation of Pakistan:
Pakistan is a south Asian country. Situated between 23° to 30° and 37° to 45° east longitude. Its length from north to south is over 1000 miles and from east to west it is about 550 miles. The total area of Pakistan is over 310400 square miles.
Pakistan is bordered in the west by Iran and in the northwest by Afghanistan and in the east by India. The southern boundary of Pakistan is represented by the coast on the Arabian Sea. Beyond Kashmir and Karakoram Range lies china.
The vegetation of Pakistan can be divided into the following five basic categories on the basis and altitude.
(a) DRY TROPICAL FOREST VEGETATION:
Geographically Pakistan is a subtropical country in spite of the fact that the greater part of the country has tropical condition and the vegetation resembles remarkably to tropical region rather than a subtropical one.
The dry tropical forest are mainly distributed in the tropical coastal
Region. This vegetation chiefly consists on scattered low-statured xerophytic riverian plant. Vegetation has developed due to certain edaphic factors found in the sandy tracts, including waterlogged and saline soil as well as on the sandy tracts. Dry tropical forest vegetation is classified into following categories.
1) Dry tropical thorn forest vegetation.
2) Vegetation of riverian tract.
3) Vegetation of waterlogged and saline tracts.
4) Vegetation of sandy tracts.
5) Vegetation of irrigated plantation.
(1) DRY TROPICAL THORN FOREST VEGETATION.
The dry tropical thorn forests are open forest in which xerophytic species are more where as climbers are few. A layer of grass is also seen at most places. During the rainy season perennial grasses also grow.
Dry tropical thorn forest vegetation is mainly distributed in the alluvial plains of Indus basin of Punjab and sindh. This type of vegetation is also found in the coastal region of baluchistan and sindh.
The climax communities of these dry tropical thorn forests are Prosopis cineratia and Salvadora oleoides and Capparis deciduas. The height of these threes varies from 15 to 30 feet. Generally these trees tend to grow in clumps.
In khanewal region of the panjab, Prospis cineraria and Salvadora oleoides are the dominate species among the tree canopy. While other common tree species found are Capparis deciduas. And Acacia modesta. Among shrub layer Calatropis procera is common, many climbers such as Pentatropis spiralis and Coculus laeba are common same species are also found in khanpur forest of muzzafargarh division and in changa manga forest.
In the coastal dry tropical thorn forest, plants growing in its surroundings are typical xerophytes.the herb layer consist of Tribulus terrestris, Fagonia Arabica, Lasiurus hirsutus, Zygophyllum simplex, Cassian holocericea, Solanum gracillpes, and among low shrubs Grewia tenax. Grewia villose, are common the large shrubs of Commiphora wightii.
In Nagar parkar area nearly same type of vegetation that grows in between Hyderabad and Karachi region.Acacia sengeal, Euphorbis aducifolia are found followed by Acacia Jacquemonti and Salvadora oleoides and among shrub layer Commiphora wightii are very common followed by Cassia senna and Aristida mutabilis.
(2) VEGETATTION OF RIVERAIN TRACT.
The riverain tracts are classified in following three types.
i. RIVERAIN TRACTS
ii. VEGETATION OF THE DRY STREAM BEDS
iii. VEGETATION OF THE INDUS DELTA
The most important geographical features of sindh is the presence of Indus river and its tributaries which are fed by snow with the melting of snow in the Himalayas and heavy rainfall, water level rises. The water starts rising during the months of April and it continues to rise steadily till august, and in the month of October the river assumes its normal form. To protect the country-side from the floods, embankments have been constructed along the banks of the river. These embankment are 1 to 3 miles wide in jehlum, chenab, sutlej and ravi wile it is 1 to 12 miles wide along the Indus banks. The reverain tracts are comparatively wider in lower Indus plain then in the upper. When the floods are normal about 70% of the riverain tracts are submerged due to the lateral overflow of the river. The accumulations of silt on the river bottom, subsoil water level of the adjoining areas are also raised.
Almost none of riverain tracts are now in a natural condition; it forms a fairly complete conopy 40 to 50 feet high. Most of these areas of riverain tracts consist of almost pure formation of Tamarix indica. Which are so dense that it is impossible to cross them.
The study of succession of these edaphic communities that shows in the low lying areas, where some is standing near the river banks. Tanuculus scleratus phyla nofiflora are growing and with recent and wet alluvial deposists pioneer species are Saccharum munja, Saccharum spontaneum, Tamarix indica and Tamarix pakistanica with moist soil. The areas with moist soil are dominated by Populus euphratica and Acacia nilotica. With less soil moisture and older alluvial plain dominant plants are Dalbergia sisso, and finally with decreases of moisture and raising of the ground level Acacia nilotica forest are replaced by typical climatic climax Prosopis cineraria and Salvadora oleoides.
In the stream beds many seasonal water channels are formed during the rainy periods. These remain dry for the large part of the during the rainy periods. These remain dry for the large part of the year but their soil is alluvial having high soil moisture that is why the vegetation is comparatively is of mesophytic type. some of common plants are pteropyrum oleveri and rhazya stricts followed by Nerium odorum while on the dry banks are found shrubby plants of Gymnosporia Montana and Rhus mysorensis, Tecomella undulate and Acacia Senegal are.
In Indus delta of keti bunder area where only silt banks are found, vegetation consists of Tamarix indica, Ipomea aquatica, Phragmites karka etc.
In the area of kheri creek of Indus delta and Karachi coast mangrove vegetation is found of Aegiceras corniculata, Cerops roxburghiana, Sonneratia acida and Avicinnia Marina are commonly found.
(3) VEGETATION OF WATERLOGGED AND SALINE AREAS:
The vegetation of water logged and saline areas is divided into two types.
i. VEGETATION OF WATERLOGGED ATEAS
ii. VEGETATION OF SALINE TRACTS
i. VEGETATION OF WATERLOGGED AREAS:
In Indus basin plains, large area of land where there is extensive canal system is suffering from the problem of water logging and salinity due to the seepage of water through the banks of canals.
Its is estimated that in Indus plain, an area of 12 million acres is poorly drained or waterlogged, over 5 million acres are severely salinized and more than 11.5 million acres are with saline patches.
In waterlogged ditches, ponds and lakes of sindh, panjab and frontier provinces edaphic communities undergo hydrosere succession where as at submerged stages are found plants of Zannichelia palustris, Vallisneria,spiralis along with some algae like spirogyra and Chara etc. while among the floating plants Marsilea minuta, Nelumbium speciosum, Azolla pinnata are found and among amphibious plants Paspalum paspaloies, Juncellus laevigatue, Cynodon dactylon, Tanunculus muricatus, Ranuculus muricatus, Typha angustata and Phragmites karka are the common water plants of the ditches in waterlogged areas as well as lakes and ponds before they get filled up.
Due to the high rate of water loss on waterlogged soil, concentration of the salts on the soil surface increases. These are sulphate, carbonate and chloride of sodium which are brought to the soil surface by the seepage through canal and river banks. As a result extensive patches of salts in large areas of the Indus plain have appeared.
In the saline parts of interior Indus plains Salsola baryosma, Suaeda fruticosa, Haloxylon recurvum, Salicornia indica and Tamarix indica are found.
In the coastal saline swamps common plants are Cressa cretica, Suaeda monoica and Sporobolus pallidus. It is observed that the pioneer plants on saline plains are Cressa cretica, Atriplex griffith, Haloxylon recurvum and Salsola barysoma.
(4) VEGETATION OF SANDY TRACTS:
Sandy tracts include areas of thal, cholistan, thar and coastal sandy tracts of makran and sindh.
The region of that lies between the Indus, jhelum and chenab rivers and is spread over an area of 7,500 square miles. This region consists of mainly mianwali, sargodha and multan.
The average rainfall of this region varies from 6 to 12 inches which increases gradually from south to north. Highest temperature during June and July often rises to 121°F.during April to September the whole of the tract is swept by very hot and desiccating winds and sand storms.
Most of the area in thal is of alluvial nature and is covered with sand dunes for miles together. The dominant plants in these tracts of the fixed sand dunes are Salvadora olecides Capparis deciduas, Cenchrus bflorus and cynodon dactylon.
Cholistan is the desert area which covers about 15,000 square miles of bhawalpur, bhawalanagar and Rahim yar khan. The climatic factors are extreme in the cholistan as compared to thar and lower Indus valley. It receives less rainfall and its atmospheric humidity remains low throughout the year. bahawalpur and multan lying to the north of cholistan receives average rainfall of only 5 to 7 inches, whereas the highest temperature for these two stations rise to 121°F.but the winter months of cholistan may become frosty.
Vegetation of this region is almost similar to that of thar. In these areas Calligonum polygonoides seems to appear as a dominant species on the sand dunes followed by Capparis docidua and Leptadaenia pyrrotechnica. Among the grasses dominant species are Dicanthium annaulatum, Aristida depressus and eleusine compressa.
This desert lies towards the eastern part of the lower Indus valley and covers an area of 13,000 square miles. The Thar Desert includes the districts of Hyderabad, sanghar tharparkar and sukkur. The average rain fall of this area ranges between 5 to 10 inches. The highest summer temperature may rise to 118°F.but the minimum temperature in winter does not fall below 39°F.the average rainfall in that desert is about 8 inches. During the summer months strong winds blow with a speed of 10 to 25 miles per hour from southwest to northeast. This is also the direction of the sand hills and sand dunes which are present parallel to each other, some of these sand dunes may rise as high as 300 feet. During summer the storm in this region may have a speed of over 60 miles per hour.
In all the sandy tracts, plant communities are mainly influenced by edaphic factor for the distribution of plants. In Thar Desert Acacia Senegal is found as dominant tree species, euphorbia Caducifolia and Calligonum polygonoides are sub-dominant Species. Panicum turgidum, Eleusine compressa, Cenchrus pennesetiformis, Aristida paniculata are the plants found in the sand hills which are subjected to direct wind they have a well developed deep root system and sand holding capacity. On the slope of sand hills vegetation are scrub types. The common plants on the sand hill slopes are acacia Senegal and euphorbia Caducifiolis, where as Commiphors wightii, Leptadeenia pyrrotechinica and Tecomela undulate grow at the base of the sand dunes.
Along the coastal area are found sand dunes on the gradually sloping sea shore these coastal dunes are common with in the region between Hyderabad and Karachi. The development of the dunes starts along the sea shore where the pioneer member of the dune vegetation like Cyperus effuses and Cressa cretica collects sand opposite the wind direction. Such dunes are colonized by the pioneer plants. Further away from the sea the dune sizes increases and among the important plants which take part in the intermediate stage of the dune development are Cyperus arenarius, Aerva javanica, Calatropis procera and Prosopis juliflora.
In the waterlogged belt of lower sind, due to the sand borne wind, sand dunes are also formed. Vegetation present on these dunes differs with the vegetation present in sandy tracts because of high water table in the coastal sandy tracts. These sand dunes are colonized by Panicum antidotale, Zizyphus nummularia and Saccharum benghalense being present in dominant form.
(5) VEGETATION OF IRRIGATED PLANTATION:
The canal system of Pakistan for irrigation is the most extensive in the world. It has been developed in the Indus basin region and covers about 93 million acres of the land surface. In these areas tropical thorn forests used to prevail but now due to the extensive canal irrigation system large tracts of areas are converted into irrigated forest plantation for timber, fuel and orchards. Besides these, irrigated plantation has also been cultivated on canal sides, road sides and on either side of railway tracts to provide shade and shelter belts.
In these irrigated plantations the dominant tree species consist of Dalbergia sisso, co-dominants in Morus Alba while Melia azedarach, Albizzia lebbek, Platanus orientalis etc are frequently grown. Besides above mentioned tree species prospois cinetaria, Acacia nilotica, Salvadora oleoides and Tamarix aphylla are also grown.
(B) DRY SUBTROPICAL SUBMOUNTAINOUS VEGETATION:
Dry subtropical sub mountainous vegetation of trees, from dense growth under the most favorable conditions, to scattered growth on the dry places. The trees and shrubs are generally thorny with small leaves, there is little ground vegetation most of the year but during the monsoon season a cover of herbs may develop. Both flowering epiphytes and climbers are generally absent but the lopping and grazing are very common. Dry subtropical sub mountainous vegetation, is distributed throughout the country at suitable elevation.
In this area, dry season is long; rainfall takes place mostly in monsoon months of June to September slight rainfall also takes place in winter season. In these areas rainfall ranges annually from 10 to 40 inches. Humidity is generally low falling to about 10% in the summer afternoon. The annual average humidity is about 50%.
Temperature rises high in June and July when monthly mean temperature is 85 to 97°F.on the other hand there is a definite cold monsoon in December to February, when the monthly mean temperature is about 50°F.frost may occur generally at the higher altitudinal limits.
The wind generally blows from northwest direction for nearly seven months ranging from October to April while it is from southeast in the monsoon months of July and august.
Depending upon the physiographic features, duration of rainfall, physiognomy and floristic composition of the vegetation, the dry subtropical vegetation is divisible into the following two broad divisions:
a) SIWALIK HILL DRY SCRUB VEGETATION.
b) BALUCHISTAN PLATEAU DRY SCRUB VEGETATION.
a) SIWALIK HILL DRY SCRUB VEGETATION:
This type of vegetation is distributed in the northern region of the country which includes the salt range, potohar plateau, and dry hills of kyber puktoon khwa (KPK).
The salt ranges take its name from the important salt deposits this range includes khewra, warchak and kalabagh.
The salt range forests of shahpur and mainwali consist of two dominant species the Olea cuspidate and Acacia modesta, other species found in these forests are Dodonace visocosa, Monothece buxifolia and at certain places groves of Nannorophs ritichinana are also present.
Potohar plateau includes himalyan foothill, consisting of margala, kalachita and gujar khan hills, similar hilly regions are also present in sialkot, garhi habib ullah, kaghan, pabbi, malaknd agency, dir swat, kurram agency and durra adam khell.
Due to the heavy grazing, lopping, poor agricultural practices and urbanization, the original vegetation is almost destroyed. In the result of the shortage of vegetational cover, the area is suffering from soil erosion.
The potohar plateau and the foothill zone extend roughly from 1000 feet to 5000 feet. In this area Pinus roxburghii also grow but Acacia modesta and Olea cuspidate are the common trees found in a wide altitudinal range. Pistacia integrrima inhabits at highest latitude while Acacia modesta tends to predominate in the lower and comparatively hot places.
In ayub national park of rawalpindi Acacia modesta, Lantana Comara, Zizphus nummularia, are the dominat species. Several ponds are present in these areas which contain winter plant like Potomogeton nodosus, Hydrilia verticillata, Typha angustata are at the banks of these water bodies. Salix tatrasperma, Tamarix dioica are the common the species growing on moist area around the ponds. Dalbergia sisso and Adhatoda vasica are also growing on moist areas.
In malakand, at the highest of 2,700 feet the dominant vegetation consist of Olea cuspidate, Acacia modesta, Zizphus nummulatia, Mallotus philipinesis and Rumex hastatus followed by the bushes of Acacia modesta.
On the hills of Khyber agency Monotheca buxifolia, Olea cuspidate,Acacia modesta are very common along with Thazya stricta, Withania sommifera, Adhatode vasica and Zizyphus nummularia.
In parachinar subtropical dry scrub is found at the height of 300 feet. Olea cuspidate, Acacia modesta, Monotheca buxifolia, Zizyphus nummularia are abundantly found. At the shrub state Gymnosporia royleana, Sagereria theezans, Dodonaea viscosa, Nannorophs ritichiana and Chrysopogon Serratus are common. In this vegetation zone Rhazya stricta, Withania somniferz and Nerium odorum are commonly found in dry stream beds.
b) BALUCHISTAN PLATEAU DRY SCRUB VEGETATION:
Baluchistan plateau dry scrub vegetation is distributed in dry hills, and coastal low hills of baluchistan. The deserted character of baluchistan gave rise to a xerophytic type of scrub vegetation. The tree species are badly affected by grazing but a few species like Pistacia khinjak, Pistacia cabulica, Fracinus xanthoxloides are common which are associated with shrubs like Mentha longifolia, Juniperus marcopoda and Ephedra nebrodensis.
Toward Loralai Olea ferruginea is a dominant species followed by Pistacia khinjak, Sophora griffithii, Artemesia maritime, Convolvulus spinosa, Caragana Ambigua, Dephe oleoides and Hertia intermeida which is found in small scattered tufts.
In the eastern part of baluchistan which borders KPK province. Consist of plants resembling that of salt range and potohar plateau, the dominant plants are Acacia modesta, Olea ferruginea along with Daphne oleoides.
In the south east corner of baluchistan plateau with low altitude, more or less flat topography with a few sand dunes the plants resemble to that of Indus plain dominated by Capparis deciduas, Prosopis cinerarra and Tamarix aphylla.
In mekran where hills are low, ranging from 2000 to 3000 feet, sandy soil is chiefly present with extensive growth of Nannorophs ritichianu along with Capparis deciduas, Zizphus nummularia, Periploca aphylla, Caragana ambigua , Nerim dorum ,some low shrubs and herbs of Rhazya stricta, Maerva crassifolia,Haloxylon griffithic, Salsole kalia. Fagonia Arabica, Sarcharum munja, Lasiurus hisutus and Desmostachya bippinata are also found in many places. The vegetation of eastern coastal hills of baluchistan resembles to much extent to that of Karachi hills and its surroundings.
In the western coastal region of mekran, Acacia Senegal and Euphorbia Caducifolia is replaced by Acacia Jacquemonti and on the beds of dry stream grow Nannorophs ritichina along with Tamarix stricta, Rhazya stricta and Pteropyrum olevri.
In the western corner of baluchistan desert like condition prevails and there are large areas entirely without vegetation. The localities where ever there is slight depression are invaded by vegetation like Haloxylon giffithii, Salsola kali and species of Tamarix.
(c) DRY TEMPERATE FOREST VEGETATION:
These forests exhibit relatively unfavorable climatic conditions. Plants are sparsely growing thus leaving a wide area of bare soil. The plants mostly found in the area are xerophytic.
Dry temperate forests are distributed in the inner mountains which are beyond the reach of the south west monsoon. These regions include sulaiman range, koh hindu kush range, karakoram range and lower part of neelam valley.
The altitude of this zone ranges from 5000 to 11,000 feet. The vegetation is much affected by the gradual melting of the winter snow and in warm temperate forests is gradually replaced by cold temperate forest.
Zone converted by warm temperate forest, have long are cold winters with means minimum annual temperature which varies between 60°F and 42°F.the annual total rainfall is always less than 30 inches and may be far below this, but mostly in the forests on higher altitudes, moisture in compensated by melting snow.
In ziarat the forest is open dominated with dwarf xerophytic trees of Juniperus excela along with Berberis bouchistanica, Prunus eburnean, Caragana ambigua, Cotoneaster afghanica and Fraxinus xanthoxyloides.
In shinghar on the low hills, vegetation resembles to that of other hills of baluchistan, but at the height of 9000 feet, Olea ferruginea is found in abundance followed by some scattered trees of Pinus geradiana alongwith Fraxinus xanthoryloides, Pistacia cabulica, Ephedra intermedia, Prunus eburnean, Lonicera quinquelocularris, Sophora griffihii, Daphne oleoides, Berberis calliobotrys, Clematis songarica and Peganum harmala.
In the sulaiman range of zhob district the altitude of which ranged from 9000 to 13000 feet above the sea level the dominant tree species are of Pinus gerardiana, Pistacia khinjak, Prnus eburnean, Cotoneaster nummularia, Rosa brononili, Caragana amblua and Sophore griffithii along with shrubs of Daphne oleoides, Plectranthus rugosus, Thymus serpyllum the species of grasses like Stipa barbata and Penneselum divisum are common.
In the valley of parachinar the vegetation shows a zone of transition between of northern and western temperate forest. The dominant trees include Quercus ilex with trees of Juniperus excela, Sophora griffithii, Berberis aitchisonii, Astragalus amhersitianus with Pistacia integerimma, Pistacia cabulica, Punica granatum, Caragana aurantica and Jasminum officinalis bushes on the higher altitude of koh safed region of kurram agency Pinus gerardiana is followed by Abies smithiana and Pinus excelsa.
In the swat and malakand, warm temperate forest is found above the subtropical dry forest. In swat Pinus rosturgii is a dominant species along with Pistacia integerimma, Dodonoea viscose, Celties eriocarpa, Sageretia theezans, Prunus cornuta, Rhamnus purpurea, Rhus continues, Mytisine Africana, Berberis lyceum, Jasminum humile, Gragaria nubicola and Ranunculus muricatus. A large number of ferns such as Hedera nepalensis, Clematic alphna, Rose brunoni are common. The dominant species between 4000 to 6000 feet are Quercus ilex, Quercus incans along with Pinus Wallichiana, Cratagus songarica, Corylus jacquemonti, Juglans regia, Cedrus deodara.
In kohistan, Quercus ilex is dominant ranging from 3000 to 4000 feet, followed by Pinus gerardiana in the zone which are slightly at higher elevation which ranges between 4000 to 6000 feet.
In lower neelam valley on grantie slopes nearly at the altitude of 5000 feet Quercus ilex is a dominant species. On still higher areas Cedrus deodara is found along with Vibernum nervo.
In the higher and comparatively dry arts of kaghan valley, where monsoon rain can not reach far deep in the valley, Quercus ilex, Pinus gerardiana and Juniperus excelsa are common.
In dir between the ranges of 5000 to 7000 feet is present in a dominant form followed by Pinus wallichiana and Cedrus deodara the shrubs of Berberis aitchisonii and Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana, Artemesia maritma are also found in chitral valley, due to the arid climatic conditions the valley has got xerophtic vegetation dominated by Fraxinus xanthoxloies. Other common plants of the region are Artemesia maritime, Punica granatum, Pistacia integerimma, Capparis spinosa, Delphinium Acquilegifolium and Pennisetum lantaum. At the lower limit Quercus ilex grow in a pure form but higher above at the height of 6000 feet it gets mixed with Pinus geradiana. Some other important plants of the forest are Rumex hastate, Ephedra intermedia, Cotoneaster nummularia and Artemesia maritima.
In gilgit agency, the mountains are dry mostly with no vegetation at all, except on very high altitude where there is perennial snow. Towards the northern slopes dense vegetation is present because of the melting of snow, lakes are formed around which lush green coniferous forest are present. These types of forests are seen all over gilgit and baltistan.
In baltistan at the height of 7000 feet there are large tracts of lands which are without much vegetation. In these rocky and sandy deserts Synanchum acutum, Dianthus crinitus, Ephedra regaliana, Lycium ruthenicum, Sophore alopecuroides and Perovskia abrotanoides are common species. Sophora alopecuroides is a common plant in large tract of this valley.
(C) MOIST TEMPERATE FOREST VEGETATION:
Moist temperate forests are found along the moist Himalayan Mountains between the dry temperate and sub-alpine zone at the altitude which ranges from 4000 to 10000 feet. The moist temperate forest is found in Kashmir, mure-hazara hills tracts, swat, dir, kurram agency, gilgit and baltistan.
In most Himalayan from the southeastern the rain is mainly from the southwestern monsoon which falls from July to September and due to the westerly disturbance it also takes place during the winter and spring season. Rainfall ranges between 25 inches to about 60 inches. In these areas large amount of precipitation takes place in the form of snow. Here precipitation is a factor of considerable importance in determining the type of forests. Gradual melting of snow in early summer prolongs the season during which adequate moisture is available.
Kaghan valley is about hundred miles along with different amount of rain and snowfall. It is highest in the middle of the valley and may got as high as 36 inches at naran. Swat is fed by glaciers and melting snow. Monsoon comes in July and august. Climate in lower dir vegetation resembles too much extent with that of the neighboring swat valley.
Climate of upper dir, chitral and baltistan are the regions away from the monsoon rains with high and dry mountains. These mountains have perennial snow covered peaks. In these valleys rain fall is very low nearly less than ten inches. Dry wind which enters from the plain of Indus. In these valleys is the main factor for the dry conditions, northern exposure of these mountains are moist, further moisture is provided by melting of snow which results in large number of lakes. The bases of these mountains have lush green forests. Kurram valley near koh safed region receives rain from both winter and summer monsoon and also receives water from the melting snow of koh safed.
Important features of moist temperate forests are the coniferous trees of Pinus roxburghii, Pinus wallichians, Taxus wallichiana, Abies pindrow and Cedrus deodara. In these forests oaks Quercus semicarpifolia, Querrus dillata and other broad leaved trees are in large number. Among the broad leaved plant. Acer acuminatum, Prunus cornuta, Fraxinus xanthoxyloides, Aesculus indica, Populus ciliate and Salix albe are common. Some of these plants may attain the height of 90 feet. A deciduous shrubby undergrowth is almost always present with Vibernum continifolium and Lonicera quinquelocularis. Some evergreen shrubs such as Sarcocca saligna, Daphne oleoides and Skimmia laureola are present with Strobilanthus attenuatus occur over considerable areas. Climbers like Rosa moschata, Hedera nepalensis are common. Adiantum, Asplenium, Pteris, pteridum, and selaginella are some of common fern found in the area. Large number of thalloid bryophytes like Targionea, Marchantia, Riccia, Pellia and Porella are found growing on the moist banks and tree trunks. Members of Orchidacease grow as epiphytes in these forests. Thickest growths of these forests are present towards the northern sides of the mountains.
In neelam valley Quercus ditata is dominant with scattered trees of Aesculus indica, Juglans regia, Pinus webbiana, berberis lyceum, Fragaria vesca, viola stocksii.
At the height of nearly 8000 feet towards the northern stope. Abies pindrow is a dominant species followed by Picea smithiana, Cedrus deodara and Pinus walichiana. There are also the trees of juglans Regis, aitchisonii, Cotoneaster lindleyi, Sambucus wightiana, euonymus Hamiltonianus, Actaea spicata, Podophyllum emodia, Hedera nepalensis etc. large numbers of ferns are also found.
The dominant plants of Ghoragali are Quercus incana and Pinus wallichiana and broad leaved species include Cornus macrophylla, Pistacia integerimma, Xylosma longifolium, Pyrus pashia and Diospyyrus lotus, in these forests lower stratum consists of Berberis lyceum, Tubus niverus, Indigofera hebepetala, Skimmia laureola and Lonicera quinquelocularis.
In dunga gali, towards the northeast aspect Quercus dilate is dominant species mixed with scattered trees of Pinus wallichiana. Other trees are Prunus cornuta, Aesculus indica, Uims wallichiana, Abies pindrow few scattered trees of Taxus wallichiana, Cornus macrophylla with shrub species of Lonicera quinquelocularis, Vibernum narvosum, Cotoneaster affinis, Berberis lyceum, Rhammus virgata, Lonicera webbiana, Daphne papyracea, Salix babylonica, Populus citicata, Ribes glaciale, Polystichum distertum and Pteridium aquiline.
In shogran the thickest coniferous forest of the country I present in this forest dominant species is Cedrus deodara with scattered trees of Pinus wallichiana and Picea smithiana and few trees of Abies pindrow in this forest there are also many broad leaved tree species of Quercus dilatata, Aesculus indica, Polystichum distichu, Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana, Vibermum nervosum, Rosa macrophylla, Berberis lyceum, Viola sylvestris, Fragaria nubicola, Adiantum incisum, Asplenium dentigerum, Hedera nepalensis and Clematic alpine. Towards the northern steep slopes Abies pindrow is a dominant species.
In marghazar of wat valley pinus roxburghii is a dominant species along with Quercus incana, Olea ferruginea, Myricaria bracteata, Spiraea canescenet, Rubus ulmifoluis, Buddleja asiatica and Smilax aspera. At the height of nearly 8000 feet the forest is quite dense with dominant species of
Quercus incana. Quercus dilatan with some scattered trees of Pinus wallichiana and Cedrus deodara. In steep north aspect on coarse gravelly soil, Pinus wallichiana is a dominant species intermixed with Quercus dilatata,
Diospyros lotua and Aseculus indica. Preunus cornuta. Pletranthus rugosus, Berberis lyceum, Spiraea aitchisonii, Viola conescens, Valeriana clarkei, Adiantum venustum, Hedera Nepalensis and Vitis parvifolia.
In gilgit at the height of 8000 feet Pinus gerardiana and Juniperus communis are common tree species, Fraxinus xathoxyiodies, Lonicera quinquelocularis, Pinus jacquemonti, Artemesia mantima, Astragalus bicupis and Sedum roseum are the common shrub species at the height of nearly 9,000 Pinus wallichiana is a dominant species with fe scattered trees of Picea smithiana, with broad leaved tree species of Betula utilis, Sorbus miscrophylla and salix denticulate, the undergrowth includes Lonicera webbiana, Rosa corymbifera, Geranium colium, Pyrola rotundifolia and Berberis aitchisonii.
In koh safed range, Prunus jacquemontii and Berchimmia edgeworthii are very characteristic species on the left bank of river. Tocks are seen covered with moss, like Selaginella sanguinillenta, Dionysia tapetades, Chinar trees Platanus orientalis are also common. As the valley widens largest trees of the Juglans regia occurs in the population along with Euonymus hamiltonianus and Rhamnus purpureus.
At the height of nearly 8000 feet Prunus cornuta, Taxus wallichiana, Pinus wallichiana and Abies pindrow begin to form a forest along with Quercus semicarpifolia, at 9000 feet Abies webbiana is in abundance. because of the heavy grazing, trampling and cutting these moist temperate coniferous forests has been destroyed and replaced by a low layer of herbs dominated by small grasses, some legumes, Composities and few members of family Liliaceae are also found.
(D) SUBALPINE AND ALPINE VEGETATION:
Vegetation zone above the moist temperate coniferous forest is known as sub- alpine and alpine zone. They are developed between the timber line and snow line zone. Found in the Himalayan mountains of kagha, swat, baltistan,chitral, dir and koh safed.
In these zones growing season is short, snow is deep, solar radiation are intense, wind is cold with high velocity, and temperature is low. All these factors results in the prevalence of xerophytic habitat for the plants. These sub-alpine zones are away from the monsoons rains therefore rainfall is very low, ranges from 4 to 26 inches and normal snowfall is 6 to 15 feet. Maximum temperature is about 50°F or less, for 5 to 6 months, mean monthly temperature is below 32°F. Maximum temperature of this zone does not exceed 60°F.
In the sub-alpine vegetation zone Betula utilis is a characteristic and dominant species. It is the only tree species which attains a height of about 20 feet with other deciduous trees such as Sorbus cashmiriana and Salix lindleyana, Vibernum foetens and Rhododendron are common shrubs. Plants present in this zone exhibit the xerophytic habits. The plants remain dwarf, stunted, clothed with hairs are packed and densely arranged, so tightly that they form a compact solid cushion like structure. Heavy snowfall results in the crocked, flat and uneven appearance of the plants. Ephemerals appear in the month of June, July and august when snow melts.
Alpine vegetation is found above 12,500 feet extending up to 15000 feet above sea level, forming quite a dense cover composed mostly of deciduous and small leaved species. As the growing period is rather short they are able to complete various stages of growth and development in about 5 months from June to October. Most common plants found in alpine zone are species of Arenaria, Salix, Astragalus, Lonicera, Berheris, Cotonoaster, Polygonum, Potentilla, Primulas odtropis,Corydolis, Rhododendron and dwarf Junipers are also common. Plants present in the alpine zones are mostly represented by members of family Primulaceae, Gentianaceae, Polygonaceae, Liliaceae, Labiateae, Runnunculaceae, Compositae and Leguminosae.
In hushu valley of baltistan the dominant woody plants on slopes is shrubby Juniperus excelsa associated with Berberis zebaliana. Ephedra gerardina and Spiraea lycioides. The native rose is also in abundance and flowers profusely in clearings. Herbs are present which includes Agropyron repens, Campanulata clorata, Eritichium canum and Galium pauciflorum. Near the lacier some of the characteristic species are Astragalus peduncularis, Cicer songaricum, Epiboium latifolium, Psychrogeton alexeenkoi, Potentilla salesoviana, Sedum roseum, Senecio chrysantemoides, Juncos membranaceus. Rosa saxtilis and salix karelinii.
On the dry rocky barren slopes some characteristic plants are Allium carolinianum, Bergonia stracheyi, Geranium coilinum, and waldheimia tomentosa, Betula utlis is a dominant species. Other plants associated with it are Cotoneaster integerrima, Lonicera heterophylla and Ribes emodense are conspicuous. Herbaceous plants found under the trees, this vegetation include Abter flaccidus, Carex tristris. Polygonum viviparum and Thalictrum alpinum.
Alpine plants grow along the rivulets or may form continuous meadows above the height of 13000 feet the plants fond here are generally the members of family primulaceae, Gentianaceae, Polygonaceae, Liliaceae, Labiateae, Ranunculaceae, Compositae and Leguminosae. The higher reaches are representing by Arenaria potentilla, Myricaria davurica, and Myricaria prostata.
The very high altitudes of deosi plains carry mainly Artemesiia steppe type of vegetation along with some of the sub alpine trees and shrubs of other localities. The herbaceous flora appears to be quite rich. Compact and dense patches of Dwarft junipers are present on the dry slopes. Starting from Betula utilis zone till the snow line zone.
In Astore valley towards the north aspect the dominant species are Abies spectabilis, Betula utilis, Salix denticulate, Sorbus tianshanica, Vivermum foetens, Lonicera semenovii, Juniperus squamate and Rhododendron hypenanthum.
In naltar valley Betula utilis is a dominant species followed by Salixpyconstachya, Sorbus cashmiriana, Lonicera semonovii and Juniperus communis.
In chitral above the coniferous forest, sub-alpine Betula utilis. Salix karelihii, Juniperus squamata and Rhododendron collettianum are common shrubs of this zone. In the inner lees dry valleys generally scrub growth of Betula utilis, Juniperus communis, Ribes villosum, Reheum tibeticum, Acantholimon lycopodiodes, Chrysanthemum pyrethricides and Thymus serpyllum are present almost similar vegetation is also found at the lowaritip. In alpine zone of swat the upper hill have typical Artemesia steppe with scanty vegetation.
On the higher altitudes of kaghan valley Betula utilis is found grasses and other herbs are Primula, Anemone, Fritillaria and Gentiana are conspicuous with many members of family Ranunculaceae, Cruciferae, Carypohllaceae and Compositae.