Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Impact of human activities on the pattern and process of sand dune vegetation in the Rajasthan desert.

Abstract

The hot arid zone of Rajasthan, India, represents 3 main ecoclimatic regions which can be divided on the basis of rainfall into extremely arid, arid and semiarid areas. Various landform units and associated plant communities can be found in each area. This study recognizes 9 palatable (Acacia tortilis, Aristida hirtigluma, Cyperus arenarius, Calligonum polygonoides, Cenchrus ciliaris, Lasiurus scindicus, Prosopis cineraria, Panicum turgidum and Ziziphus nummularia) and 9 unpalatable (Aerva persica, Calotropis procera, Crotalaria burhia, Capparis decidua, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Indigofera linifolia, Saccharum munja and Tephrosia purpurea) plant community types growing in a sand dune habitat which are affected by the combined interaction of climate and human activities. These play an important role in the distribution of plants in time and space, as well as in degradation of the sand dune ecosystem. The important human activities affecting this area are overgrazing, marginal cultivation, excessive cutting of woody biomass for timber, fuelwood and construction of shelter, including animal enclosures, road construction and, more recently, canal digging. Human activities result in frequent changes to the physical environment and deterioration and retrogressive changes in the vegetation have also been observed. Authors' summary. KEYWORDS: TROPAG | Calligonum polygonoides Aristida hirtigluma Cyperus arenarius Acacia tortilis Cenchrus ciliaris Lasiurus scindicus | Environmental Relationships | desertification | dunes | vegetation | environmental impact | ecosystems | arid zones | India | Rajasthan.