|Keywords (Extracted from title, table of contents and abstract of thesis)
ethnobotany, himalayan region, poonch vally, scleroderma cepa, melia azedrach, ficus palmata, morus alba, ulmus vilosa, dulbergia sissoo, pinus roxburghii, juglans regia, celtis australis, acacia modesta, abies pindrow, pinus wallichiana, zanthoxylum alatum, populus ciliata, ailanthus excelsa, buxus papilosa, quercus dilatata, quercus incana, cedrella toona, mentha sylvestricum, salix alba, dodonaea viscose
Poonch valley an area of about 8500 hectares at an elevation ranging from 1750 meters to 2500 meters above sea level. Biodiversity and ethnobotanical study was conducted during a period of three years (April, 1999 to April, 2002).The result of initial site analysis showed that the soils were mostly acidic with low content of exchangeable cations. No significant difference in soil organic matters and phosphorus were observed between categories use in the analysis. The genera studied were classified into 3 categories according to 'the number of species. 25 plant communities were recorded in the study area on the basis of phytosociological parameters. Scleroderma cepa was recorded as endemic mushroom in the study area. This study concludes that this region has a total of 430 vascular plant species and 5 non-vascular plant species. The ethnobotanical studies indicated that inhabitants of Poonch Valley utilized 169 plant species for more than 30 domestic needs. The major usage included 68 medicinal plants, 35 fuel wood species, 35 fodder species, 24 vegetable and pot herbs, 10 veterinary medicinal plants, 24 fruit yielding plants, 14 spices and condiment species, 12 for construction and timber requirements, 13 ornamental species, 9 used as field fencing species, 13 furniture making species, and 6 used as mouth wash (maswak). Most of the plants are used for multiple purposes.
The multiple purpose plants included Melia azedrach, (7 uses), Ficus palmata, Morus alba, and Ulmus vilosa (6 uses), Dulbergia sissoo, Pinus roxburghii, Juglans regia, and Celtis australis (5 uses), Acacia modesta, Abies pindrow, Pinus wallichiana, Zanthoxylum alatum, Populus ciliata, Ailanthus excelsa and Buxus papilosa (4 uses each), while Quercus dilatata, Quercus incana, Cedrella toona, Mentha sylvestricum, Salix alba and Dodonaea viscose.
Other studies suggest that the indigenous knowledge related to medicinal plants uses comes from women age between 29-50 years, where as in this study the folk medicinal use comes from men. Result of this survey were conducted to see the source of indigenous knowledge , related to the medicinal uses of the plants revealed that 72 % of folk medicinal knowledge comes from people above the age of 50 years, while 28 % of it comes from people between age of 30 and 50. The survey also indicated that men especially old ones are more informative of traditional knowledge of medicinal plants than women in the area.
Moreover, it was also observed that about 45 % of the local population is dependent on medicinal plants for curing different ailments. It was also indicated that about 60 % of the home made drugs were used by peoples above the age of 50 years, 30 % by children below age of 15 years especially infants while remaining 10 % of the traditional medicines of plant origin are utilized by people between ages of I5-50 years.
The conservation of biological diversity requires all possible efforts and there is a need for holistic approach involving wild and cultivated plants, forest trees and their habitats. An immediate action is required at national level for developing a system for protected areas, so that the biological study continues to remain available for the benefit and welfare of the inhabitants of the area for all times to come. All the above parameters are discussed.