Conservation Position of Plant Species in Tehsil Katlang, District Mardan, Pakistan  

Musharaf Khan1 , Shahana Musharaf2
1. Department of Botany, Federal Government College Mardan, Pakistan
2. Department of Chemistry, Government Girls Degree College S. Maltoon, Mardan, Pakistan
Author    Correspondence author
Medicinal Plant Research, 2014, Vol. 4, No. 7   doi: 10.5376/mpr.2014.04.0007
Received: 08 Apr., 2014    Accepted: 20 Apr., 2014    Published: 22 May, 2014
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Khan and Musharaf, 2014, Conservation Position of Plant Species in Tehsil Katlang, District Mardan, Pakistan, Medicinal Plant Research, 2014, Vol.4, No.7 55-60 (doi: 10.5376/mpr.2014.04. 0007)


The present study documents the conservation status of plant species in Tehsil Katlang, Pakistan. We have documented the conservation status of 45 plant species belonging to 34 genera and 25 families in which 13 species are found to be rare, vulnerable (20 species), Infrequent (4 species) , endangered ( 9 species) and it is decisive that no species was found to be dominant. After four years extensive field studies on the basis of questioner including availability of plant, collection of plant, growth of plant, plant parts, population size, geographic range and habitat we have concluded that 5 tree i.e. Ficus palmata, Monothecea buxifolia, Morus alba, Vitis vinifera and Ziziphus jujuba and 4 shrubs i.e Jasminium vrandiflorum, Rhazya stricta, Otostegia Limbata and Zizyphus  nummularia are endangered species in research area.

Conservation; Trees; Shrubs; Vulnerable; Infrequent; Endangered; Pakistan

The ecologists are naturally interested to record vegetation in diverse geographical areas. Plant species contribute to the beauty and character of the region. Different native tree and shrub species distinguish one place from another. Trees are significant to the overall quality of our environment. Trees balance increase impacts, significantly reduce noise pollution, air temperature, smog, pollutants from the air, and turn down topsoil erosion. Trees are an important component of numerous ecosystems and provide habitats for songbirds, small forest animals, wildflowers, and smaller understory trees. The conservation status of a plant species indicates whether the group is still extant. Many factors are taken into account when assessing conservation status: not simply the number of individuals remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats, and so on. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has calculated the percentage of endangered species as 40 percent of all organisms based on the sample of species that have been evaluated through 2006 (Anon., 2008). Native plants are key components of the global biodiversity, these plants are an integral part of our ecosystem in which they are facing multiple threats i.e. habitat loss and degradation, introduction of alien species, pollution and diseases, over-exploitation and climate change (Khan et al., 2012); Khan et al., 2013a). District Mardan’s picture is not different from the rest of the country (Khan et al., 2013b; Khan and Musharaf, 2014; Khan et al., 2014a; 2014b). Plant biodiversity is also under tremendous pressure due to its population explosion, unplanned urbanization, deforestation and over-exploitation of natural resources. Unfortunately, very little work has been done on threatened plants of Pakistan and extremely limited information is available on this subject (Khan, 2013). According to Nasir (1991) 580-650 flowering plant species (i.e. 12%) are expected to be threatened. Chaudhri and Qureshi (1991) reported 709 taxa as threatened plants from Pakistan. Alam and Ali (2009), who classified Astragalus gilgitensis as a Critically Endangered (CR). Khan and Hussain (2013), Khan et al. (2013C) and Khan et al. (2011) studied the conservation study of Tehsil Takhti-e-Nasrati and Tehsil Karak. In contrast, the recent red list of IUCN (Anon., 2008) only 19 flowering plants species have been listed from Pakistan. Regarding Pakistan, previous workers have classified the plant species as threatened or rare on the basis of literature or herbarium specimen. No work has been done in the research area according to IUCN red list categories or criteria. This study is a small effort to record the conservation status of the research area.

Study area
The Tehsil Katlang lies from 320 060 to 320 210 North latitudes and 610 460 to 620 250 East longitudes. It is bounded on the north by swat district, on the east by district of Buner, on the South by mardan city of district Mardan and on the west by Tehsil Takht Bhai. The total area is 1098573km. The research area is very fertile. It is a great sate of Gandhara remains. It may broadly be divided into two parts, the North-East hills and the South-West plains (Figure 1). The entire northern side of the research area is bounded by the hills. The summer season is extremely hot. A steep rise of temperature is observed from May to June. During May and June, dust storms are frequent at night. Due to usual cultivation and irrigation, the environment is humid. The relative humidity is quite high throughout the year while maximum humidity has been recorded in August. Maximum temperature (41.500C) and rainfall (125.85 mm) are recorded in June and August respectively (Khan et al., 2011; 2014b).

Figure 1 Research site of the study area

Field survey
The study was conducted by frequently surveying in spring, summer and winter during 2008 to 2012. The area is divided into plain and mountain. Habit, habitat, altitudinal range, population size, distribution range, impacts of multiple threats like habitat destruction, erosion, fuel wood cutting, grazing, poultry farms and invasive species have been studied for four years in the habitat.
Plant collection and determination
Plant specimens were collected from different part of research area. The population size was determined by counting the mature individuals. The seedlings were also counted separately. Nature of habitat was analysed by soil erosion, invasive species and impacts of anthropogenic activities (Khan, 2013).
Questioner development
Information on demographic (age, gender) and conservation status was gathered from each site by using a semi-structured questionnaire (Table 1). Due to the low education level or lack of understanding of the English language of most individuals, the structured questionnaires were discussed on an individual basis and explained by an interpreter. The results were then transcribed by the interpreter as many could not write. The plants were classified according to their economic value through interviewing and filling questionnaires from drug dealers, shopkeepers, fuel wood seller, local hakims, and farmers but priority was given to local elderly people and Hakims who were the real users and had a lot of information about the plants and their conservation status. Information about the availability of plant, collection of plant, growth of plant, plant part i.e. root, stem etc, local uses of the species as medicinal, fuel wood, timber and fodder etc were obtained through random sampling by interviewing 500 respondents from different aged and young gender and sex. During survey personal observation was also recorded (Figure 2). The data was collected through following formula (Khan, 2013): CSP=A+C+ G+P.

Table 1 Conservation status of plants

Figure 2 Collecting personal observation of plant species in research area

Analysis of data was made with the help of group discussions (Figure 3) and questioners among different age classes of Tehsil Katlang that include both genders of the society. The data was classified, tabulated, analyzed and concluded for final report.

Figure 3 Group discussion during research work

Conservation classes

The plants were divided on basis of conservation status into five classes (Khan, 2013).
In the present study the conservation status of trees in Tehsil Katlang were determined. Total 45 species belonging to 34 genera and 25 families were recorded (Figure 4). The Moraceae was dominant with 6 species followed by Myrtaceae, Rosaceae, Rutaceae with 4 species and Mimosaceae with 3 species. Asclepiadaceae, Papilionaceae, Rhamnaceae and Solanaceae with 2 species. Alliaceae, Apocynaceae, Cactaceae, Caesalpinaceae, Cupressaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Meliaceae, Oleaceae, Poaceae, Punicaceae, Sapindaceae, Sapotaceae, Simaroubaceae, Tamaricaceae and Vitaceae with single specie (Table 2). The plants were divided on basis of conservation into five classes i.e. endangered, vulnerable, rare, infrequent and dominant. In the present investigation among 27 trees; 10 species were found to be vulnerable, rare (8 species), endangered (5 species) and 4 species were Infrequent while in 18 shrubs; 10 species were vulnerable and 4 species were both rare and endangered. It is decisive that on the basis of conservation status no species was found to be dominant (Figure 5).

Figure 4 Total number of families in research area

Table 2 Floristic list and conservation status of plant species in Tehsil Katlang, District Mardan

Figure 5 Conservation classis of tree and shrubs in research area

Plants are already the most threatened species on the world; a plant walk should not further endanger threatened plants in your collection. Plant theft and damage at native land are serious problems. We recommend highlighting the rare and threatened plants in research area to protect the plants from destroying and damaging. Moreover, threatened trees and other woody shrubs can be interpreted with less safety alarm. Most endangered plants of the area are Ficus palmata, Monothecea buxifolia, Morus alba, Vitis vinifera, Ziziphus jujube, Jasminium vrandiflorum, Rhazya stricta, Otostegia Limbata and Zizyphus nummularia. These plants are often found in habitats that are highly threatened, inclined to over-collection in the wild, and under threat from invasive species. These plants are also very common in the research area for fuel and timber. The area is mostly divided into hilly area, clay soils, river banks and plain. From the present investigation it is noticed that each species have limited to a slim distribution range and specific habitat. With the changes in environment the plant species habitat are disturbed. A vast extent road structure and stone mine action was the main cause of interruption and demolition in the habitat of plant in the area (Figure 6). Our observations were agreed with the workers (Khan and Hussain, 2013; Khan et al., 2011) they reported the species from almost similar habitats from other parts of the country. The IUCN Red List categories and criteria, describes that if population size is fewer than 250 mature individuals with a continuous decline in their number along with no sub-populations, making the tree species eligible to be placed under Critically Endangered (CR) category (Anon, 2001). Cutting of plant species for fodder and fuel wood was serious problem in the research area because people of the area were very poor and unavailability of natural gas. The over-exploitation of plant species for fuel wood and fodder purpose by local communities and migrants is a complex problem and a major cause of plant extinction (Engler, 2008; Khan et al., 2012). Another major concern is that, local inhabitants and commercial scale poultry farms have no access to the natural gas and electricity for maintaining their living. Fuel wood exercise is relatively important in the habitat of tree species, thus badly affecting its population and in next decat the rare trees will become vulnerable. Those species which are found over a wide geographic range but are constantly rare throughout their distribution, need immediate attention as they are more vulnerable from extinction point of view (Rabinowitz, 1981). In summer, research area is very warm and rain is not enough. Due to dryness the herbs species are very rare in hilly area and animal directly depend upon the shrubs and tree species. The population size is often affected by dry periods during the growing season, when plants may not produce any viable seed and there will be no natural germination (Khan and Hussain, 2012). No existent development was observed in Acacia modesta and Otostegia Limbata (Figure 7). Hence, it is concluded that the population sizes of rare trees and shrubs are constantly falling at an alarming rate, without having natural staffing.

Figure 6 Development of stone crushing factory in research area is threat for conservation

Figure 7 Stunting growth of Acacia modesta and Otostegia Limbata due to grazing

Grazing is another ecological problem observed; more in hilly area to change the habitat of native flora but its impact was quite prominent and disturbing for shrubs and tree species. Uncontrolled and expanding grazing activities have a deep and long term impact on the local vegetation and it is disastrous for the local plant wealth which is already in stress. It was also observed that the erosion was increased proportionally with increasing the grazing and the people change the natural vegetation into agricultural land (Figure 8). Grazing ranges from almost invisible elimination of plant material to harsh reduction of vegetational wealth and extensive erosion (Khan and Hussain, 2012).

Figure 8 Agricultural field in the hilly area due to removing of natural vegetation

As important as trees are, their survival in research area is often threatened by development. For instance, developers commonly clear building sites to make construction faster and easier (Figure 9). Thousands of trees are unnecessarily destroyed in this way each year, because the communities in research area do not have strong tree preservation ordinances. Tree conservation can have positive environmental, economic and health benefits for communities. Conservation status of plant species is necessary because they help purify the air, increase property values and improve the tax base in communities. They cool our cities and towns by reducing heat generated by buildings and covered surfaces. Their shade, properly placed, can save an average household up to 15000/- Pak rupees annually in energy costs. They diminish the quantity of contaminants in drain systems. They provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, maintaining a balance with nature. They reduce levels of domestic aggression and foster safer, more sociable neighborhood environments.

Figure 9 Cutting of hills for roads and building reason


The present study show that the concerning impacts of unacceptable use of plant species, no precise information has been published, but there is no doubt about its cost. The investigated area has a rich diversity of plants and provides a conductive habitat and ideal conditions for their growth. Native healers should be encouraged to accurately share their knowledge to others. The method and technique of Hybridization and Grafting should be introduced which will be a good effort in conservation and expansion of many species. Medicinal farm should be set up in the study area to promote the vital importance of the plants and its conservation. Alternate means of energy like electricity and natural gas should be provided in the area to reduce the wood cutting activities. The plants should be introduced in botanic gardens for public display. Alternate environmentally friendly and sustainable jobs should be provided for the local inhabitants for maintaining their living properly.
CSP=Conservation status of Plants; A=Availability of plant species; C=Collection of plant species; G=Growth of plant species; P=Part used of plant species
Authors are grateful to the local people of area, who have revealed the valuable information about conservation status of plant species and their hospitability. Special thanks to students of Biological Department and Mr. Ali Gul Lecturer in statistics Federal Government College Mardan Cantt for accompany during research work.
Alam J., and Ali S.L., 2009, Conservation status of Astraglus gilgitensis Ali (Fabaceae): a critically endangered species in Gilgit district, Pakistan. Phyton (Horn, Austria), 48(2): 211-223.
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