Recovery and Restoration of Some Critically Endangered Endemic Angiosperms of the Kashmir Himalaya
Floristic diversity constitutes an indispensable resource-base for the human livelihood. Plants, being vital components of the biodiversity and the ecosystems they form, are essential for human progress and survival. In the recent past, however, human actions have brought a large number of plant species at the brink of extinction. One of the conservative estimates suggests that 60,000 to 100,000 plant species are threatened worldwide. These include a large number of endemic taxa, which being of considerable phytogeographic importance, need immediate attention of the botanists and conservationists. The Kashmir Himalaya harbours a rich angiosperm-flora, about 152 species of which are endemic exclusively to the Kashmir region. Many of these endemics are of great economic value, especially in food and fodder, local and commercial medicine, etc. Due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction and other anthropogenic activities, together with their innate sensitiveness, many of these endemics have become rare and threatened. This necessitates a thorough study of the threatened endemics of Kashmir so as to pave way for their conservation. The present study aims to dilate upon the taxonomy and the ex situ conservation aspects of five critically endangered endemic flowering-plant species of the Kashmir Himalaya, viz. Aquilegia nivalis, Aconitum kashmiricum, Lagotis cashmeriana, Megacarpaea polyandra and Saussurea costus.
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