Diversity of Pteridophyte Flora in Rajamala, Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India
Asian Journal of Environment & Ecology,
Aims: To enumerate the fern diversity in the disturbed landscapes of Rajamala part of Eravikulam National Park, Western Ghats
Study Design: Purposive sampling method was adopted in the study area and habitats suitable for ferns were surveyed.
Place and Duration of Study: The study area is Rajamala, a tourist impacted site inside Eravikulam National Park in Kerala, India. Intensive field explorations were carried out in this area during February 2018- April 2019, to document the ferns and fern-allies.
Methodology: A preliminary study was conducted in February 2018 to identify the probable habitats of ferns for further detailed study. Purposive sampling was done in the study area considering the most suitable habitats in both shola ecosystems and grassland ecosystems of the area. Materials for herbaria were processed using standard methods. The collected plants were identified with the help of standard field guides and flora. The potential medicinally important ferns were also listed out.
Results: 54 species of pteridophytes including fern and fern allies belonging to sixteen different families were found from the Rajamala region of Eravikulam National Park. Aspleniaceae was the most common family with 11 species followed by Polypodiaceae. The majority of the Pteridophytes found in the region are showing terrestrial habit. Eleven species found in the study site are medicinally important.
Conclusion: Despite the high tourism pressure in the study area, pteridophyte species richness is higher in the Rajamala region of Western Ghats. The suitable habitat with ideal substrate conditions and year-long moisture availability in the substrates could be the reason for a higher number of pteridophyte species in this area.
- fern allies
- shola forests
- southern western ghats
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