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Ecological evaluation of vegetation pattern of Sultan Khail valley, Hindu Kush range of Pakistan using advance multivariate analysis
  • Khaista Rahman,
  • Naveed Akhtar
Khaista Rahman
Islamia College Peshawar

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Naveed Akhtar
Islamia College Peshawar
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Abstract

Background: Both environmental and edaphic variables plays important role in the structure, composition and distribution of plant communities. We aimed to explore the impact of various topographic and soil physicochemical properties on vegetation in Sultan Khail valley, Hindukush range of Pakistan. Materials and methods: Data was collected during 2017- 2019. For the collection of fieldwork data, the valley was divided into various ecological zones based on altitude, aspect, physiognomy and geographical coordinates. Two hundred relevés were placed for the collection of data. Canopy coverage, cover/abundance of vascular plants species was determined using the Braun-Blanquet’s cover abundance scale. Soil samples were collected and analyzed for various physicochemical properties. In JUICE host program, modified Two Way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) was used to do multivariate analysis of vegetative data. To highlight diagnostic, constant and dominant specie, 40% threshold level was set for fidelity, frequency and cover of species in each association. For Ordination of vegetation, DCA ordination was performed using R Project version 3.6.1. Results: Modified TWINSPAN results into the formation of 5 association of vegetation (1. Abies-Picea-Sibbaldia association (APS), 2. Pinus-Wikstroemia- Galium association (PWG), 3. Ajuga-Artemisia-Quercus association (AAQ), 4. Cotoneaster-Quercus-Indigofera association (CQI) and 5. Conyza-Juglans-Dicliptera association (CJD). The results of DCA ordination indicated that altitude aspect, slope angle, clay (%) potassium and soil pH were the most important factors controlling species distribution in different associations found in Sultan khail valley, Pakistan. Key words: Cluster analysis, DCA Ordination, Vegetation communities, Edaphic and topographic variables, Sultan Khail Valley