Vegetation Classification and Habitat Mapping of Dachigam National Park, Kashmir, India

  • Khursheed Ahmad
  • Majid Farooq


This chapter presents a detailed account of the vegetation classification and habitat mapping of Dachigam National Park in the Zanskar mountain range of Kashmir, India. A total of 203 vegetation plots in the entire study area based on the optimal size obtained from species-area curve were sampled during 2001–2010 for vegetation and habitat stratification following Mueller-Dumboise and Ellenberg (Aims and methods of vegetation ecology, Wiley, New York, p 574, 1974) and Rikhari et al. (Pattern of species distribution and community characters along a moisture gradient within an Oak zone of Kumaun Himalaya. Proc. Indian National Science Academy, pp 431–438, 1989). Forty-four (44) woody species were recorded, out of which 22 were trees and 22 were shrubs. Vegetation of Dachigam National Park was classified, based on Twinspan analysis, into six broader communities such as mixed riverine, mixed woodland, pine Parrotiopsis, grassland/scrub, mixed coniferous and alpine scrub. These communities based on the predominant vegetation types present were further classified into nine habitat types growing in an altitudinal sequence. The tree and shrub densities/ha differed significantly between different habitat types. The maximum tree density/ha (442.78 ± 18.89 S.E.) was recorded in mixed oak and pine Parrotiopsis (430.99 ± 58.92 S.E.) habitats. Ground cover showed significant differences between different seasons and habitat types. The riverine and mixed woodland habitats of Dachigam National Park showed the highest values of diversity indices, whereas rarefaction values were highest in case of mixed woodland and mixed coniferous habitats. Based on the tree diversity and density, cluster analysis (Bray-Curtis) showed that alpine scrub and mixed oak habitats followed by pine Parrotiopsis and mixed coniferous habitats of Dachigam National Park are very similar to each other, whereas cluster analysis (Bray-Curtis) of shrubs showed maximum similarities between riverine and mixed coniferous habitats and maximum dissimilarities between mixed oak and grassland/scrub habitats. The NDVI change detection analysis indicated that over the decades, there has been significant change in the vegetation in the National Park with area under open scrub having grown by about 5.81%, whereas area under alpine pastures has significantly reduced by 6.02%, followed by the blue pine forests by 4.75% and birch forests by about 3.57% which is imperative for long-term conservation and sustenance of the Park biodiversity.


Dachigam Vegetation Twinspan cluster analysis Kashmir 



We sincerely acknowledge the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu and Kashmir Government, and Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi, for sponsoring the research studies in Dachigam National Park.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khursheed Ahmad
    • 1
  • Majid Farooq
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of ForestrySher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of KashmirSrinagarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote SensingJammu and Kashmir Forest DepartmentSrinagarIndia

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