ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2011, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 211–215. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
The Himalayas embody a diverse and characteristic
vegetation distributed over a wide range of topograph
ical variation. The Himalayan forests are of immense
significance from the environmental conservation and
sustainable development view point (Sharma and
Baduni, 2000). Throughout the central Himalaya
evergreen forests are preponderant, except in some
forest stands where winter deciduous species exist.
Vegetation within the forest is greatly affected by dif
ferences in the microclimate, aspect and altitude
1996). The vegetation diversity of forest
ecosystem of Himalaya is influenced by topography,
soil, climate and geographical location of the region.
There is great diversity in floristic pattern due to altitu
dinal variation coupled with rainfall (Arora, 1993).
The geography influences the distribution of rain pre
cipitation temperature and air moisture, drought and
snow layer accumulation as well as the kind of growing
vegetation under which the northern and eastern
exposure of an area indicates greater moisture than
southern and western due to the difference in temper
ature and evaporation (Mountousis
Vegetation in a mountain area is affected by several
factors of which altitude, aspect, slope, position on hill
slope, soil depth are predominant as they modify
regimes of moisture and exposure to sun. Bray and
The article is published in the original.
Gorham (1964) studied the influence of slopes in dis
tribution of vegetation due to solar radiation. Bor
(1970) revealed that along an altitude gra
dient the total basal area, basal area per tree, decidu
ousness and productivity decreased with increasing
elevation while density, ever greenness and species
diversity increased. Aspect was found to play a signifi
cant role in determining plant distribution (Eber
Variation in species richness has been known for
over a century (Brown and Davidson, 1977;
Lomolino, 2001 and Bhattarai and Vetaas, 2003).
Lomolino (2001) pointed out that many components
of climate and local environment (temperature, pre
cipitation, seasonality and disturbance regime) vary
with the elevation gradients and ultimately create the
variation in species richness. Species richness studies
from temperate zones stress the importance of energy
as a limiting factor (Currie, 1991) whereas tropical
studies emphasize the importance of moisture and
related factors (Gentry, 1982; Brown, 1988).
The pattern of vegetation distribution of the Hima
laya is determined primarily by altitude though geol
ogy, soil and other abiotic and biotic factors exert
influence to some extent. Because of altitudinal varia
tion from less than 1000 m to more than 8000 m the
climate conditions are very diverse. Altitude deter
mines subtropical, temperate and alpine vegetation
from the submontane tracts to the snowy ranges.
Influence of Aspect and Location of Stands on Biodiversity in a Sal
Mixed Broadleaved Forest in Kumaun Central Himalaya
, Ashish Tewari
, and Ajay Kumar Srivastava
Department of Forestry Kumaun University, Nainital263002 India, India
Govt. Inter College, Kashipur, U.S.Nagar, India
Received June 30, 2010
—In the present study total 21 forest stands on different aspects and locations (Hill base, mid slope and
ridge top) on the slope were studied to assess the importance of these two parameters in supporting species regen
eration and biodiversity in a mixed broadleaved forest between 380 and 850 m elevation in the Kumauau Hima
layan region. A total of 36 tree species were recorded in the forest. In all aspects the tree, sapling and shrub richness
was higher at hill base stands in comparison to mid slope and ridge top stand. Maximum tree richness (average
across all aspects) was 9.7 and shrub richness was 9.3. Higher richness at hill base may be attributed to more soil
moisture and deeper soils which accumulate the hill base where the slope steepness declines. The tree richness was
higher in the northern aspect whereas southern aspect was more suitable for the shrub species. From the present
study it becomes evident that the base of the hills can support higher biodiversity and are instrumental in supporting
regeneration of several tree and shrub species in sal mixed broadleaved forest.
: Aspects, Hill base, Mid slope, Ridge top, Richness.