An Ecological Assessment of Floristic Diversity in Hemis High Altitude National Park, Ladakh, Jammu &Kashmir.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vaneet Jishtu, Scientist-C

The Hemis High Altitude National Park is located within the Ladakh district of the state of J&K and gets its name from the Hemis Gompa. The basic topography of the park is mountainous and rugged high altitude cold desert, with an area covering about 3500 Km2, with elevations ranging between 3300 to 6400 m. It is most famous for its resident population of the rare snow leopard. Although the vegetation is sparse, there is a diverse range of large mammals amid varied mountain and riverine habitats. The study resulted in enumeration of 458 taxa belonging to 215 genera spread over 59 families of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms. An analysis of this list shows that family Asteraceae with 74 taxa belonging to 29 genera is the most dominant family of flowering plants in the study area. The analysis of the growth forms of the species reveals that the flora is predominantly herbaceous with herbs forming 92.36 % (423 taxa) of the total flora, followed by 5.24 % shrubs (24 taxa) and 2.40 % trees (11 taxa). The dominant family here is Asteraceae, with 29 genera and 74 species, amounting to 16.2 % of the flora of the PA; which is in agreement with the flora across the North West Himalaya. Further, the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is involved in the major project of preparing the flora of India in four series viz., National Flora, State Flora Analysis, District and Regional Floras and Miscellaneous. This study will go a long way in contributing towards the BSI series too.