An assessment of floristic diversity in urban forestry.
The structure and composition of vegetation within urban wetland parks, developed as destinations for nature-based tourism; recreation and human well-being are important aspects of urban forestry having significant management implications. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 recognizes the importance of ecosystem services rendered by wetlands. Since vegetation has significant impacts on ecosystem services, studies on vegetation were undertaken at three such parks with water bodies or wetlands in the city of Kolkata, India which has a very high population density of 24000 per km2. with only 4.79% of green cover. Thus, these urban wetland parks with their floristic diversity play a pivotal role in urban forestry, while maintaining a healthy socio-ecological character of the city, rendering the current study all the more critical. The methodology includes examining the percentage of native, exotic and invasive species of trees, shrubs and herbs, grasses, creepers and climbers, the Simpson's Index of Diversity of trees and shrubs and the frequency and relative frequency of occurrences of herbs, grasses, creepers and climbers. The paper suggests suitable recommendations for these water-parks based on the outcome of the analyses.