Vegetation composition and soil characteristics of a community managed forest situated in the foothills of Dhauladhar range, Western Himalaya.
Community managed forest in the foothills of Dhauladhar range supports the livelihood of rural communities by supplying a range of provisioning services. However, baseline data on the vegetation composition of this forest is still lacking which is otherwise very important to assess the status of forest in sustaining the flow of ecosystem services (ES). Present study therefore aimed to quantify its vegetation structure and composition. Encroachment of Ageratina adenophora in the forest fringes has not only deteriorated the vegetation composition but has also affected the quality of soil leading to loss of native herbs and grasses causing decline in fodder availability for the livestock. Due to improper management measures, the invasive species is spreading fast to other interior areas. This has serious implications for the sustenance of the provisioning services for the rural people including water retaining capacity of the forest ecosystem. Hence, proper management interventions are needed for the conservation of this forest so that the flow of ecosystem services continues for a long term.