VEGETATION DESCRIPTION AND CURRENT STATUS OF MOIST TEMPERATE CONIFEROUS FORESTS OF HIMALAYAN AND HINDUKUSH REGION OF PAKISTAN
The present study is based on the examination of vegetation description, disturbance factors and distribution of tree and understorey species of moist temperate conifer forests of southern Himalayan and Hindukush regions of Pakistan. Forty one stands at five different locations were selected for the study. Five conifer species and seven angiospermic species were sampled by point centered quarter method. Among conifers Pinus wallichiana occupied highest frequency found in 35 stands while Abies pindrow occurred in 27 stands with high importance value and density. Cedrus deodara is well tolerant in different climatic conditions, recorded from 22 sampling sites. Taxus fuana and Picea smithiana attained low frequency, recorded from 6 and 5 stands respectively. Angiospermic species that were associated with conifers attained very low frequency. Quercus incana, Quercus ilex, Pyrus pashia, Albizia chinensis, Juglans regia and Populus pamirica, Populus alba occurred in few sampled forests. Ground vegetation was also assessed to find the associated vegetation of the forests. The most common understorey species found in study area were: Pteris cretica (in 22 stands), Acer caesium (in 19 stands), Rosa brunoni (10 stands), Berberis lyceum, Hedera nepalensis, Rubus biflorus, Thymus serpyllum (9 stands), Rosa webbiana, Rubus ellipticus (8 stands), Adiantum venusutum, Echinophs niveus (6 stands), Adiantum capillus veneris, Aristida adscensionis, Cymbopogon jwarancusa, Duchesnea indica (5 stands), Dicanthium annulatum, Indigofera hebepetela, Podophylum emodi, Quercus incana (4 stands), Andropogon lancifolius, Asplenium filix, Cotoneaster microphylla, Gloriosa superba, Plantago asciatica, Ranunculus muricatus, Sinapis arvensis found in 3 stands. Seedlings of Pinus wallichiana, Abies pindrow, Cedrus deodara, Picea smithiana and Taxus fuana recorded from 22, 17, 15, 4 & 3 stands respectively indicated the future trend of the moist temperate forests of Pakistan.