Lichen diversity in high elevations of Western Himalaya with special reference to treeline ecotone: conservation and indicator value

Bisht K., Upadhyay S., Rawal R.S. & Joshi Y.
In: Singh S.P., Reshi Z.A. & Joshi R. (eds.), Ecology of Himalayan Treeline Ecotone
p. 307–338, Springer, Cham
The tree line ecotone, which lies between subalpine forests and the alpine grasslands, offers special habitats and niches for several unique, representative, and sensitive biodiversity elements. Present study,with a focus on distribution patterns of macrolichens, attempts to describe such elements in high-altitude landscape associated with Tungnath, west Himalayan treeline ecotone. Two representative elevation transects [Kalsir–Chandrashila (KCT), 2080–3677 m asl and Pothibhasha–Chandrashila (PCT), 2120–3677m asl] were investigated. Together the setransects harbor 108 macrolichen species (41 genera, 15 families). PCT with 104 species (40 genera, 15 families) was species rich compared to KCT (73 species, 34 genera, 15 families). While family Parmeliaceae (46), Physciaceae (18), and Cladoniaceae (14) werne species rich, genera like Parmotrema (12), Heterodermia (11), and Cladonia (8 species) had maximum species. Among families Candelariaceae, Coccocarpaceae, Nephromataceae, and Teloschistaceae had one species only. The species richness peaked at 2500 and 2600 m altitude bands (62 spp.). The presence of two foliicolous and caliciale lichen communities was interesting in view of the indicator value. Existence of the foliicolous lichens is indicative of human disturbance and increasing subtropical elements in high-elevation forests. Occurrence of caliciale lichens is associated with old growth forests. The distribution of macrolichens has implications for management of high altitude forests including treelines. Keywords: Conservation · Diversity · Macrolichen · Timberline ecotone · West Himalaya.
Monday, 26 February 2024 00:13