, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 125–134 | Cite as

Effect of Grazing and Climatic Changes on Alpine Vegetation of Tungnath, Garhwal Himalaya, India

  • M. C. NautiyalEmail author
  • B. P. Nautiyal
  • Vinay Prakash


Effect of grazing and changing climate on vegetation composition of alpine pasture at Tungnath, Garhwal Himalaya was observed. Growth form pattern and phytosociological attributes were analyzed during 1988 under grazed (exposed to extensive grazing) and ungrazed (protected from grazing) conditions. These observations were repeated during 1998. It was observed that number of early growing species and long vegetative growth cycle species had increased at both sites in 1998 in comparison to 1988. Further, some species, viz., Poa alpina, Polygonum spp., Ranunculus hirtellus, Anemone spp., are predominantly found near the timberline-subalpine region. These species are less palatable and were present at both sites with higher dominance (TBC) and niche width in 1998 indicating wide distribution of the species along an altitudinal gradient. These observations indicated the migration of these species towards upper slopes of alpine. Species diversity was also higher after ten years. However, it is clear that climatic changes alone are not responsible for these vegetational shifts. In fact, human-induced changes are the main reason for habitat destruction and changes in vegetation composition of the alpine region of Garhwal Himalaya. Before final conclusions can be made, long-term studies on vegetation composition and changes are needed, especially in Himalayan region.


growth forms dominance niche climate grazing early growing and long growth cycled 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bullock, J.M., Clear, Hill B. and Silvertown, J.: 1994, ‘Grazing Experiments with Cattle and Sheep on Nutrient Poor Acidic Grassland and Heath. I. Vegetation Development,’ Natura Jutlandica 21, 1–48. Google Scholar
  2. Cullen, L.E., Stewart, G.H., Duncan, R.P. and Palmer, J.G.: 2001, ‘Disturbance and Climate Warming Influences on New Zealand Nothofagus Tree-Line Population Dynamics,’ J. Ecology 89, 1061–1071. Google Scholar
  3. Curtis, J.T. and McIntosh, R.P.: 1950, ‘The Interrelations of Certain Analytic and Synthetic Phytosociological Characters,’ Ecology 31, 434–455. Google Scholar
  4. Grabherr, G., Gottfried, M. and Pauli, H.: 1994, ‘Climate Effects on Mountain Plants,’ Nature 369, 448. Google Scholar
  5. Guisan, A.: 1996, ‘Alpandli: Evaluer la reponse des plants alpines aux changements climatiques a travers la modelisation des destributions actuelles et future de leur habitat potential,’ Bull. Murithienne 114, 187–196. Google Scholar
  6. Hill, M.O., Evans, D.F. and Bell, S.A.: 1992, ‘Long-Term Effects of Excluding Sheep from Hill Pastures in Wales,’ J. Ecology 80, 1–14. Google Scholar
  7. Houghton, J.T., Filho, L.G., Callander, B.A., Harris, N., Kattenberg, A. and Maskell, K.: 1996, Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Google Scholar
  8. Kershaw, K.A.: 1973, Quantitative and Dynamic Plant Ecology, Edward Arnold Ltd., London, 308 pp. Google Scholar
  9. Körner, C.: 1999, ‘Global Change at High Elevation,’ in Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystem, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 298 pp. Google Scholar
  10. Kullman, L.: 1990, ‘Dynamics of Altitudinal Tree-Limits in Sweden: A Review,’ Norwegian J. Geography 44, 103–116. Google Scholar
  11. Levins, R.: 1968, Evolution in Change in Environments, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. Google Scholar
  12. McIntyre, S. and Lavorel, S.: 2001, ‘Livestock Grazing in Subtropical Pastures: Steps in the Analysis of Attribute Response and Plant Functional Types,’ J. Ecology 89, 209–226. Google Scholar
  13. Misra, R.: 1968, Ecology Work Book, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co., New Delhi, 244 pp. Google Scholar
  14. Naithani, A.K., Nainwal, H.C., Sati, K.K. and Prasad, C.: 2001, ‘Geomorphological Evidences of Retreat of the Gangotri Glacier and Its Characteristics,’ Curr. Sci. 80(1), 87–94. Google Scholar
  15. Nautiyal, B.P., Pandey, N. and Bhatt, A.B.: 1997a, ‘Analysis of Vegetation Pattern in an Alpine Zone in North West Himalaya: A Case Study of Garhwal Himalaya with Reference to Diversity and Distribution Pattern,’ I. J. Ecol. Envirn. Sci. 23, 49–65. Google Scholar
  16. Nautiyal, B.P., Pandey, N. and Bhatt, A.B.: 1997b, ‘Biomass, Production Potential Dynamics and Turnover Rate in an Alpine Meadow of North-West Himalaya,’ J. Hill Res. 70(2), 95–102. Google Scholar
  17. Nautiyal, M.C., Nautiyal, B.P. and Prakash, Vinay: 2001, ‘Phenology and Growth Form Distribution in an Alpine Pasture at Tungnath, Garhwal Himalaya,’ Mountain Research & Development 21(1), 168–174. Google Scholar
  18. Parmesan, C. and Yohe, G.: 2003, ‘A Globally Coherent Fingerprint of Climate Change Impacts across Natural Systems,’ Nature 421(2), 37–42. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Payette, S.: 1988, ‘Late-Holocene Development of Subarctic Ombro-Tropic Peatlands: Allogenic and Autogenic Succession,’ Ecology 69, 516–531. Google Scholar
  20. Ram, J., Singh, S.P. and Singh, J.S.: 1989, ‘Plant Biomass, Species Diversity and Net Primary Production in a Central Himalayan High Altitude Grassland,’ J. Ecol. 77, 456–468. Google Scholar
  21. Ritchie, J.C.: 1995, ‘Current Trends in Studies of Long Term Plant Community Dynamics. Tansley Review No. 83,’ New Phytol. 130, 469–494. Google Scholar
  22. Rochefort, R.M., Little, R.L., Woodward, A. and Peterson, D.L.: 1994, ‘Changes in Sub-Alpine Tree Distribution in Western Noth America: A Review of Climatic and Other Causal Factors,’ Holocene 4, 89–100. Google Scholar
  23. Sai, V.S. and Budholiya, S.S.: 1986, ‘Niche Measurement of Tree Species in Central India Forest,’ Trop. Ecol. 27, 76–84. Google Scholar
  24. Semwal, J.K.: 1982, ‘Taxonomical Survey of Tungnath and Ecophysiological Studies of Some Selected Plants of the Region,’ Ph.D. Thesis, Garhwal University, Srinagar Garhwal. Google Scholar
  25. Smith, P.L.: 1980, Ecology and Field Biology, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 835 pp. Google Scholar
  26. Sundriyal, R.C.: 1994, ‘Vegetation Dynamics and Animal Behavior in an Alpine Pasture of Garhwal Himalaya,’ in Y.P. Sundriyal and R.S. Rawal (eds.), High Altitudes of the Himalaya, Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital. Google Scholar
  27. Sundriyal, R.C.: 1995, ‘Grassland Forage Production and Management in Himalaya: A Review,’ J. Hill Res. 8, 135–150. Google Scholar
  28. Sundriyal, R.C. and Joshi, A.P.: 1990, ‘Effect of Grazing on Standing Crop, Productivity and Efficiency of Energy Capture in an Alpine Grassland Ecosystem at Tungnath (Garhwal Himalaya), India,’ Trop. Ecol. 31, 84–97. Google Scholar
  29. Van Auken, O.W.: 2000, ‘Shrub Invasions of North American Semiarid Grassland,’ Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 31, 197–215. Google Scholar
  30. Wahren, C.-H.A., Papst, W.A. and Williams, R.J.: 1994, ‘Long-Term Vegetation Change in Relation to Cattle Grazing in Subalpine Grassland and Heathland on the Bogong High Plains: An Analysis of Vegetation Records from 1945 to 1994,’ Aust. J. Bot. 42, 607–639. Google Scholar
  31. Watt, T.A. and Gibson, W.D.: 1988, ‘The Effects of Sheep Grazing on Seedling Establishment and Survival in Grassland,’ Vegetatio 78, 91–98. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Nautiyal
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. P. Nautiyal
    • 1
  • Vinay Prakash
    • 1
  1. 1.High Altitude Plant Physiology Research Centre (HAPPRC)HNB Garhwal UniversitySrinagar GarhwalIndia

Personalised recommendations