Impact of climate change on the proliferation of invasive alien plant species in Almora district of Uttarakhand Himalaya.
A total of 16 invasive alien species belonging to 9 families have been recorded based on field observations and people perceptions. The maximum invasive alien plant species (IAS) were herbs (87%, 14 taxa) followed by shrubs (6.25%) and trees (6.25%). Most of invasive alien flora were belonged to Asteraceae and was most dominant family with 6 taxa. The highest percentage (43.75%, 7 taxa) of invasive alien flora was found up to altitudinal gradient of 2100 meters. Findings also revealed that climate change have been major impact on range shifting, distribution and proliferation of IAS. Findings revealed that local communities were aware about major invasive alien plants and their impact on forest resource and agriculture productivity in their locality. Some IAS were invaded and proliferated progressively in the study area and respondents observed that these plant species had grown in their locality over past 10-15 years, having previously been confined to lower altitude, they believed that the invasion of these plants species was due to the anthropogenic activities (deforestation, habitat fragmentation, land degradation, etc.) and changing climatic conditions. Findings also revealed that IAS especially Ageratum, Lantana, Eupatorium, Parthenium and Urena lobata was major threats to forests resources especially herbaceous flora, agriculture productivity and hence socioeconomic status of local inhabitants. It was found that forest sites with high IAS covers contains little understorey herbaceous vegetation as compared to sites having low IAS.