Microhabitat Diversity in a Lateritic Hillock of Northern Kerala, India
Sreejith KA*, Prashob P, Sreekumar VB, Manjunatha HP, Prejith MP
Forest Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation Division, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi-680653, Kerala, India
*Corresponding author: Sreejith KA, Forest Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation Division, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi-680653, Kerala, India, Tel: 9895598333, E-mail: email@example.com
Lateritic hillocks of Kerala which are often considered as ‘wastelands ’in remote sensing images due to devoid of vegetation were analyzed for its floral wealth and microhabitat diversity. The study identified 9 microhabitats in the study area which supports 263 angiosperms in which majority are distributed in specific microhabitats. Floral inventory and comparison of microhabitats using Sorensen's Similarity Index indicates that each microhabitat was characterized by a specific group of species. The result showed the Shannon diversity indices ranged from 2.11 to 3.64, the Simpson index ranged from 0.0324 to 0.1515 and the Species richness index ranged from 0.0736 to 0.3369 in different microhabitats. Plants on the plateaus are adapted to various microhabitats and each of these microhabitats is unique in its edaphic properties, water availability and species composition. A detailed long-term quantitative study on the vegetation dynamics of each microhabitat is essential to understand the structure, composition and function of each microhabitat and the landscape as a whole. The baseline information generated on the vegetation and microhabitats of lateritic hills of Northern Kerala can be used to develop conservation and restoration activities on these hills which are highly threatened due to habitat degradation, fragmentation, laterite mining and change in land-use pattern.