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Ecology and species association of grass species in response to altitudinal gradient in the Potohar region.

Sana Fatima, Farooq Ahmad, Mansoor Hameed and Rashid Ahmad

An investigation was carried out to evaluate impact of altitudinal gradient on species composition and distributional pattern of individual grass species in the Potohar region. Vegetation was sampled by quadrat method, which were laid along a transect line at different selected sites. All ecological parameters like species composition, pair-wise association and distributional pattern, and community structure significantly changed with altitudinal gradient. Species with broad distributional range can be related to high degree of tolerance to a variety of environmental stresses. Species growing at low altitudes were different in their structure and contribution towards community structure. High altitude species are generally with restricted distributional range. Species richness was the maximum at moderate elevation because of better growth conditions. Chrysopogon serrulatus Trin., Cymbopogon jwarancusa (Jones) Schult. and Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. dominated the Potohar region, all showed significant association among themselves. Association usually existed between dominant species that shared similar resources. Species colonizing moister habitats, saline patches, drier hills. mountain slopes, low temperature ranges and sandy clayey soils, all have strong associations. Domination of species was similar up to 1200 m a.s.l., but species composition changed significantly along increasing elevation

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