Floristic quality assessment index of the Dagwan Stream in Dachigam National Park of Kashmir Himalaya.
Riverine ecosystem highly prone to invasion thereby provides pathway for efficient dispersal of propagules between isolated protected areas. Since invasive species have the potential to lead the loss of species diversity and ecosystems function at regional scale, it increases demands on the natural capitol being conserved. In the current study, we used the Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) which is a vegetation-based index having the property to assess the ecological health and coefficient of conservatism values for each species along Dagwan Stream in the Dachigam National Park of Kashmir Himalayas. The values of the Floristic Quality Assessment Index for the riparian zone are FQAI = 41.42. The results revealed that 33% species were non-native, 9% ranking 1-3; 32% ranking 4-6; 21% ranking 7-8; and 5% ranking 9-10. Among all (78 species) recorded, 67% were native and 33% were alien. Out of total alien species documented, six (6) invasive, seventeen (17) naturalized and three (3) casual species. Most invasive tree species growing were Quercus robur, Robinia pseudoacacia, Ailanthus altissima, shrubs like Rubus ulmifolius, Buddleja davidii and herbs such as Leucanthemum vulgare, Digitalis purpurea, Erigeron canadensis. The results of the present study provide a method to measure the response of vegetation communities to alien invasions and subsequently draft management strategies to protect the different ecosystems, particularly the protected areas from this biodiversity threat.