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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 748490, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/748490
Research Article

Richness and Cover of Nontimber Economic Plants along Altitude in Temperate Himalayan Forest-Use Types

1Department of Botany, Kohat University of Science and Technology, Kohat 26000, Pakistan
2Riyadh Community College, King Saud University, Riyadh 11437, Saudi Arabia
3Biomedical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Helwan University, Helwan 11792, Egypt
4World Wide Fund for Nature, Peshawar 25000, Pakistan
5Department of Chemistry, Government College Ara Khel, FR Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 26000, Pakistan

Received 16 March 2014; Revised 23 May 2014; Accepted 24 May 2014; Published 16 June 2014

Academic Editor: Hai Ren

Copyright © 2014 Akash Tariq et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Pakistani Himalaya stretches over a wide range of altitudinal gradients and supports high diversity of medicinal plants that are an important source for rural livelihood. Altitudinal effects on ground vegetation have already been indicated but ground vegetation is also under severe threat of grazing and over collection. The present study investigated the effect of altitude on medicinal plants abundance in both old-growth and derived woodland forests. Each of the five line transects was selected in old-growth and derived woodland forests. Each line transect consisted of four plots distributed at four altitudinal levels (2200, 2300, 2400, and 2500 m asl). Species richness under derived woodland had shown strong negative correlation (r=-0.95) with altitude while it was found to be nonsignificant under old-growth. Cover of most of the species such as Veronica laxa (r=-0.95, P0.05) had shown significant negative correlation with altitude under derived woodland. Cover abundance of some species like Valeriana jatamansi and Viola canescens has also shown significant negative correlation under old-growth forest. Derived woodland can decrease the cover abundance of valuable medicinal plants towards extension at higher altitudes. Thus, protection of the derived woodland could serve as a tool for the improvement of rural livelihood and ecological restoration.