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Ecological Distribution Patterns and Indicator Species Analysis of Climber Plants in Changa Manga Forest Plantation

Article

Waheed, M; Haq, SM; Fatima, K; Arshad, F; Bussmann, RW; Masood, FR; Alataway, A; Dewidar, AZ; Almutairi, KF; Elansary, HO; Kassem, HS; Al-Yafrasi, M; Yessoufou, K

NA

2022

DIVERSITY-BASEL

14

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Climbing plants have an important role in forest communities and ecosystems. Despite the significance of the climbers in ecosystems, most of the previous research work in Pakistan has been concentrated on trees, shrubs, and herbs, with little attention paid to climbing plants. The current study investigated the ecology of climbers and the influence of soil characteristics on diversity, richness, and indicator species distribution in the Changa Manga Forest Plantation, Punjab, Pakistan. Field surveys were carried out between 2020 and 2021, with the data gathered using a random sample approach for ordination and cluster analysis of each plant species and edaphic data from sample plots. We reported a total of 29 climber species belonging to 23 genera and 9 families from the area. The Convolvulaceae family was the most prevalent, followed by Apocynaceae and Cucurbitaceae. Herbaceous climbers were the typical life form (70% species) and species showed peak flowering during the months of August and September. The multivariate analysis and cluster analysis grouped the climbers into four distinct communities based on the indicator species, representing filtering of the species pool in the studied area. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) results showed that soil factors had a significant influence (p <= 0.002) on the climbers' diversity and distribution pattern. Our research contributes to a deeper understanding of climbing plant ecology in response to soil variables, with immediate consequences for policy and practice in this Himalayan region, as well as research insights for neighboring Himalayan regions and elsewhere in the world.

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