Anthropogenic Pressure

Due to overuse, medicinal plants are vulnerable and are considered rather threatened since their population is thinly scattered and cannot be commercially utilized on a large scale. The entire plant of Ajuga bracteosa, Berberis lyceum, Bergenia ciliata, Viola canescens, and Zanthoxylum armatum is used. Due to demand, the existence of these species will be threatened in the future. The only way to protect these plant species is to make the local communities aware of well-managed propagation and regeneration techniques. Although the fruit products of Punica grana-tum, Prunus spp. and Pyrus spp. are being sold on the local market, these species face pressures such as being cut down for fuel, furniture, and fodder purposes. Yet the species' density in the areas is satisfactory and can be sustained if other pressures like being cut down for fuel and furniture are removed. The case is similar with Carissa opaca, Myrsine africana, and Mallotus phillipensis. Berberis lycium, Bergenia ciliate, Justicia adhatoda, Pistacia chinensis, Quercus leuctrichophora, Punica granatum, and Viola canescens, are vulnerable due to their part(s) used, growth rate, quantity of consumption, and pressures like grazing, erosion, and fuel-wood collection. They in particular need to be conserved by domestication and regeneration techniques.

2.13.1 Fire

Fire is the most important factor that damages the vegetation over large areas. Fire not only destroys plant regeneration but also replaces trees with inferior scrub-type broad-leaved species such as Berberis lycium, Mallotus phillipensis, Myrsine africana, and Rhus cotinus. In most of cases, the outbreak of fire is deliberate and is set by villagers in order to get the forest floor clear of pine needles to facilitate the movement of their cattle and to get a good growth of grasses, which come up abundantly after fire. People who have their own lands in forest areas or who live in forests are involved in fires. The fire normally continues for 5-6 days. Although Pinus spp. is a fire-hardy tree, great damage still occurs to the young crop as well as to mature trees by the presence of inflamed resin blazes. Repeated ground fires also cause soil to dry up and create drought conditions. In some cases, the trees are not apparently burned, but are subsequently killed by fire after-effects, such as desiccation and drought. The greatest damage is done to the young generation of Pinus spp., Dodonaea viscosa, Diospyros lotus, Myrsine africana, and so forth.

Fig. 2.8 Himalayan nomads

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