Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 985–995 | Cite as

Pastoralism, plant conservation, and conflicts on proliferation of Himalayan knotweed in high altitude protected areas of the Western Himalaya, India

  • Chandra Prakash Kala


The conservation policy of banning pastoral grazing, and subsequently emerging conflicts between conservationists and pastoral communities regarding the proliferation of Himalayan knotweed (Polygonum polystachyum), was studied in the Valley of Flowers National Park, a high altitude protected area of the Western Himalaya, India. A total of 10 habitat types identified in the study area were sampled using quadrats along an altitudinal gradient between 3000 and 4500 m. Plant species richness decreases with altitude and also varies across habitat types. The highest density of P. polystachyum and its associated species, Impatiens sulcata, was found between 3300 and 3500 m in the disturbed habitat types, viz., bouldery areas, fragmented treeline zone, avalanche-prone areas and eroded slopes. Eradication of P. polystachyum from the national park by managers is not going to serve any meaningful purpose to the long-term conservation; rather it initiates soil erosion and instability, hindering the establishment of natural plant communities.

Altitudinal gradient Pastoralism Polygonum polystachyum Protected areas Western Himalaya 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandra Prakash Kala
    • 1
  1. 1.G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & DevelopmentKosi-Katarmal, AlmoraIndia

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