FLORISTIC COMPOSITION AND DIVERSITY IN RESPONSE TO VARYING DEGREES OF DISTURBANCE IN TROPICAL DRY DECIDUOUS FORESTS OF SOUTHERN HARYANA, INDIAH. Punia, H. Dhiman, H. Saharan and S. Jakhar
The aim of the current investigation was to study the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on the vegetation structure of the three Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests of Southern Haryana i.e., Mandhana, Ghasola, and Mandhiali in the Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, and Mahendergarh districts, respectively. The data were collected from March, 2020 to March, 2021. The floristic composition was quantified by randomly placing 15 quadrats per site (45 in total). A disturbance index was developed for each site and high, medium and low disturbance areas were identified based on prevailing disturbances that were found to be maximum for Mandhiali (21), followed by Ghasola (16) and Mandhana (9). Ecological parameters such as frequency, density, abundance, basal area, IVI, and diversity indices were calculated for each siteduring the study. A total of 50 species of plants representing 44 genera and 25 families were observed consisting of 14 trees, 9 shrubs, and 27 herbs during the investigation of floristic composition. The species richness decreased with an increase in the disturbance level on the three sites viz., Mandhana (40), Ghasola (33), and Mandhiali (29) respectively. The value of Shannon Weiner diversity index (Hâ) and Pielou Index of evenness (E) declined with an increasing disturbance while Simpson index of dominance (Cd) increased as the disturbance levels increased across the three sites. The results offer significant evidence that anthropogenic disturbances in arid regions of South Haryana play a vital role in community structure and composition. In a forest ecosystem, anthropogenic disturbances cause habitat fragmentation along with soil erosion, loss of soil fertility and biodiversity, etc. The selected forests are in urgent need of management activities to check the intensity of disturbances by controlling anthropogenic pressure on these ecosystems and save them from further degradation. Thus, the present study intensifies the need for phytosociological studies crucial for proper management and conservation purposes.