Plant Diversity ›› 2022, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (03): 243-254.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2021.11.010

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Assessing the effectiveness of community managed forests for plant diversity conservation in Meghalaya, Northeast India

Aabid Hussain Mira, Kiranmay Sarmab, Krishna Upadhayac   

  1. a Department of Environmental Studies, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, 793022, Meghalaya, India;
    b University School of Environment Management, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Dwarka 16C, New Delhi, 110075, India;
    c Department of Basic Sciences and Social Sciences, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, 793022, Meghalaya, India
  • Received:2020-11-16 Revised:2021-11-26 Online:2022-05-25 Published:2022-06-21
  • Contact: Krishna Upadhaya,
  • Supported by:
    We are also partially thankful for financial support to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India (No.14/25/2011-ERS/RE).

Abstract: In the state Meghalaya, northeast India, >80% of the forest lands are owned by local communities and managed by traditional institutions. These forests are under severe threats due to a number of human disturbances. The present study was conducted to assess the plant diversity and identify the community forests for priority conservation in Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. Floristic explorations carried out in the 87 forests reveals the presence of 1300 plant species of which 400 are either rare, endemic or threatened. Of the different forest categories, reserve forests had the highest number of species (1190), followed by sacred forests (987 species) and village forests (786 species). Majority of the forests (56) had high-species richness, irreplaceability level (42 forests) and vulnerability level (54). In terms of area, 13.8% (1666.8?ha) fall under low risk while 1855?ha under high risk zone. High risk zone was mostly represented by village forests. An area of 7661.56?ha of community forests falls under high priority category and hence calls for immediate conservation actions. The conservation priority map generated in the present study will help to concentrate the protection strategy to the demarcated and adjoining areas and help conservationists and planners to evolve effective strategies for conservation of the community forests.

Key words: Conservation, Disturbance, Endemic, Rare, Threatened, Village forest