Flora and Fauna

Flora

Flora

Based on the physiogamy (general appearance) the following categories of vegetation can be identified with in the Kedarnath WLS viz. a) Forest, b) Scrub vegetation, c) Temperate grasslands and forest banks, and d) Alpine meadows.

The categories can be further divided into following ten distinct categories

i)Temperate Chir-Pine forest: Dominated by Chir-Pine (Pinus roxburghii) mostly on steeper south facing exposed slopes up to 2000m altitude.

ii. Temperate broad leaf (evergreen) forest: The forest consists of zones of oaks viz. white oak (Quercus leucotrichophora), green oak (Q. floribunda) and brown oak (Q. semecarpifolia) representing low altitude (1500-2200m), mid altitude (2200-2800m) and high altitude (2800-3500m) respectively constitute this category.

iii. Temperate broad leaf (moist deciduous) forest: This includes broad leaved forest communities such as Aesculus-Acer-Juglans, Acer-Carpinus and Alder (Alnus) patches along the drainage.

iv. Temperate broad leaf conifer (mixed) forest: This comprises extensive forest of Fir-Wild sandal (Abies pindrow - Buxus wallichiana) and brown oak- Fir, rich in forest floor.

v. Sub alpine forest: The sub alpine zone between altitudes of 3000-3500m is characterized by high altitude Raga/ Rai- Brich (Pecia smithiana-Rhododendron arboreum) communities.

vi. Temperate secondary scrub: The anthropogenic categories such as Ban oak scrub, dwarf bamboo (Ringal) under this category which is found close to human inhabitations within the eco development zone.

vii. Alpine scrub: The stunted forest for the moist alpine scrub adjacent to tree line is characterized by these vegetation types largely dominated by Brich (Rhododendron), deciduous scrub and reverine willow scrub.

viii. Temperate grasslands and thatches: Extensive grassy slopes on the south facing slopes at the result of frequent fires and exposure give rise to this vegetation types. The dominant fodder grasses on these slopes are species of Themeda, Chrysopogon and Heteropogon.

ix. Alpine meadows: The herbaceous meadows and grassy slopes above the alpine scrub zone and below high altitude steep slopes and barren rocks near tree line are rich in attractive herbs many of them are medicinally important. A large number of plant associations and special life forms have been reported from the alpine meadows. Alpine meadows have a high diversity of herbaceous species, many of which have medicinal or aromatic properties and are of great commercial value. Grasslands are also found below the tree line, and it is not clear whether they have been created and maintained by human activities such as pastoralism, specially the grasslands surrounded by natural forest. In general, the KWLS has very high floral diversity.

Fauna

The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) in Rudraparayag and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in district Chamoli are the protected areas for wildlife. The Palearctic to the north andoriental to the south. These two areas harbour a rich and unique biodiversity. It supports several endangered mammals such as Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster), Himalayan Thar (Hemitragus jemlanhicus), Serow, Asiatic Brown Bear (Ursus thebetanus), Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus arctus) Yellow throated martin, barking deer, flying squirrel, porcupine, Wild boar etc.

Leopards are also in decent numbers and recently there has been confirmation of Tiger sightings in the Kedarnath WLS.

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