Twenty-two relatively undisturbed Quercus baloot dominating stands were surveyed on different physiographic situations in district Dir upper Pakistan. The purpose of the study was to investigate the types and structure of plant communities and ecological status ofQ. baloot using agglomerative cluster analysis and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA ordination). The distribution pattern and influential factors of the plant communities were also analysed by testing edaphic, topographic and soil variables of vegetation sampled by Point centered quarter method for trees. The shrubs and saplings were sampled by 5×5 m quadrats while herbs and seedlings were included in 1× 1 m to assess the understorey vegetation. In the overstorey vegetation, beside the dominant Q. baloot 6 other tree species including Olea ferruginea, Quercus dilitata, Juglans regia,Ficus palmata, Diospyros lotus and Robinia pseudoacacia had a significant share of the tree stratum. Among the understorey vegetation frequent species were Indigofera gerardiana, Artemisia maritima, Plantago lanceolata, Rumex dentatus, Micromeria biflora, Fragaria vesca, Geranium rotundifolium, Ajuga bracteosa, Daphne oleoides and seedling of Q. baloot and Q. dilitata. The results of cluster analysis disclosed three major vegetation groups that were principally dominated by Q. baloot with varied co-dominants. The groups derived from classification method could be clearly demarcated in the ordination space suggesting continuity in vegetation. However, none of the environmental variables measured explained the distribution pattern of the vegetation in the site ordination. We concluded that past disturbances, particularly the anthropogenic disturbance are mainly responsible for governing the different community types. The structure and composition varied in different community types, thereby representing unique entities. Some recommendations are outlined for the protection and maintenance of each of the different forest communities through appropriate management and conservation techniques.
Key words: Physiographic, communities, ecological status, influential factors, DCA-ordination.
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