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Diversity pattern of habitats of Macrophytes in Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), a floating mat (Phumdi) environment of Loktak Lake, Manipur, India

Maibam Haripriya Devi, Potsangbam Kumar Singh
Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), Loktak lake Manipur, north-east India which is one of the 25 Ramsar sites of international importance and the biggest fresh water Lake in India. Macrophytes of the floating Phumdi mat environment of KLNP play an important role in the aquatic environment. An investigation was planned during the period of about three years from March, 2010 to December 2012, to study the diversity pattern of habitats of macrophytes available in six study sites of KLNP viz., 1.Kumbi, 2.Khordak, 3.Keibul, 4.Toya, 5. Nongmaikhong and 6. Sargam. All total 85 dominant plant species were recorded. Maximum plant species (49) was observed in Site-1 Kumbi (Altitude-780m) and minimum (27) in Site-3 Keibul (Altitude-772). The variation of plant species may be because of the slight variation of altitude. As the six study sites are distributed as floating aquatic environment in KLNP Loktak Lake, there is favourable place of the plants in higher altitude and altitude represents a complex gradient along which many environmental variables change concomitantly. In all the six study sites, common distribution of ten dominant plant macrophytes viz., Ageratum conizoides, Hedychium coronarium, Leersia hexandra, Oenanthe javanica, Phragmites karka, Polygonum sagittatum, Saccharum munja, Thelypteris interrupta and Zizania latifolia was noticed. Individual dominant plant was recorded in other sites also viz., Azola piñata in site-6; Xanthium atrumarium, Polygonum orientale, Dichrocephala latifolia and Cymbopogon citratus in site-2; Arundo plinii, Cuscuta reflexa, Gnaphalium luteo-album, Hydrilla verticillata, Marsilia minuta, Saccolepis interrupta, Selvenia cuculata and Utricularia spp. in site-1. Variation of IVI value of dominant plant species was observed in this study. Even though 85 dominant plants were selected for all the 6 sites, however, maximum plant richness expressed in IVI was recorded in case of Zizania latifolia (Site-5, IVI-87.5) and minimum IVI in case of Xanthium strumarium (Site-2, IVI-1.13). The diversity pattern and habitats of macrophytes in KLNP Phumdi environment might be due to water availability along the altitudinal gradient and other environmental factors suited in the study sites and expected to be an important factor affecting the survival and fecundity of plant population. We need to conserve the natural habitat of KLNP thereby maintaining the luxuriant growth of the seasonal and perennial, macrophytes, so as to maintain the natural flora and fauna of the park. These plants are the food of man and animal therefore, it needs a proper care and attention to protect them from over exploitation. Considering the diversity pattern of habitats of Macrophytes in KLNP, a floating mat Phumdi environment with high floral diversity and unique vegetation assemblage, it has been suggested that this track and adjoining sites should be declared as ecologically sensitive area not only the World Heritage Site.
Diversity pattern, Macrophytes, Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), Loktak Lake, Importance value index (IVI)
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