Composition and structure of plant communities in the Moist Temperate Forest Ecosystem of the Hindukush Mountains, Pakistan

Matiullah, A U Rahman* (Corresponding Author), Z Ullah, R Qureshi, D F R P Burslem, Z U R Mashwani* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, we investigated the relationship between Plant communities and the environment from the moist temperate vegetation of Lakoo mountainous forest District Swat. We sampled data from 162 sampling units (Quadrates) using 1x1m2 for herbs 5x5m2 and shrubs, while 10 x10m2 for trees, systematically considering six elevation gradients between the altitudinal from 1970m to 3095m. We performed statistical analysis like Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and TWINSPAN (two-way indicator species analysis) for ecological assessment and clustering of plant communities. To check upon the correlation of species (CR) with topographic and edaphic variables we used statistical software PC-ORD version 7. We recognized 264 species plants belonging to thirty families. We recorded key sampling measurements of density, frequency, and cover for all these species which are vital for community description. The results showed Shannon-Winner,s, and Simpson diversity values as 19.18 and 3.17 respectively. The importance value indexes (IVI) were used to identify the leading and rare species of plant in each community or cluster group. In total we recognized eleven different communities as: Berberis- Abies- Bergeni, Picea - Indigofera- Poa,Abies- Parrotiopsis- Poa, Quercus- Viburnum- Poa, Picea- Salix- Primula, Abies- Viburnum- Poa, Viburnum- Taxus- Poa, Pinus- Viburnum- Lithospermum, Abies-Berberis- carex, Pinus- Viburnum- Poa and Parrotiopsis- Picea- Poa through hierarchical cluster analysis (TWINSPAN). CCA analysis revealed that of all studied edaphic and topographic variables altitude, silt, calcium carbonate, and organic matter were the strongest factors determining plant community diversity and composition in each microclimate of the eleven communities. Visually the vegetation of the forest was dominated by small-sized trees followed by shrubs, and regenerates indicating the stage of secondary regeneration. We found severe human interference in disturbing the existing biodiversity, which requires immediate conservation to ensure sustainable management and utilization of natural resources of the Lalkoo moist temperate forest.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere266637
Number of pages14
JournalBrazilian journal of biology = Revista brasleira de biologia
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022


  • phytosociology
  • Lalkoo moist temperate forest
  • floristic pattern
  • indicator species
  • plant communities


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