FOREST COMMUNITIES OF AZAD KASHMIR, PAKISTAN
Phytosociological studies were carried out at 31 sites in Azad Kashmir area. Sampling sites were located from 833 to 2744m elevation, with open to closed canopies. On the basis of importance value 7 communities and two monospecific stands were recognized i.e. 1. Pinus roxburghii- Pinus wallichiana community 2. Cedrus deodara – Pinus wallichiana community 3. Abies pindrow – Aesculus indica community 4. Picea smithiana – Abies pindrow community 5. Picea smithiana – Taxus fuana community 6. Pinus wallichiana – Pinus smithiana community 7. Abies pindrow – Pinus wallichiana community 8. Pinus wallichiana monospecific stand and 9. Pinus roxburghii monospecific stands. Community 2 and 7 were distributed at 7 different sites while community 4 and monospecific stands 8 were recorded from 5 different sites. Understorey was covered with 66 non tree species in which Chenopodium ambrosioides, C. botrys, Geranium rotundifolium, Mentha arvensis and Viola canescens were recorded in 75% of the circular plots. Floristic similarity was higher among the stands of each community and monospecific stands.