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Traditional application of the plants, (fence and fuel wood), used in Leepa Valley, Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir.

Introduction

Leepa Valley (1600-4000 m asl 340 24' N and 730 48' E, Toposheet No. 43 F) is located in the Western Himalaya, Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir. This region is a cold, dry and high wind exposed area of mountains, surrounding this valley. It is isolated from rest of the parts of state of Kashmir by huge peaks in all sides. Shamsa Bari Hills arcs the area from east to north and Qazi Nag Range covers the southern and western side of the investigated area (Leepa Valley). This unique fragmented habitat has varied climate, geology and ecological condition with its culture and traditions.

The isolated geographical features of investigated area combined with a lack of modern facilities and population pressure (23 villages with 40,000 populations) AJK. Glance, 2006) resulted in continued reliance on natural resources and indigenous knowledge for the fulfillment of their daily needs.

This paper presents field observations regarding the traditional application of the plants (fence and fuel wood) used by the people. Leepa Valley is least explored area in the field of wealth of wild plants and ethno botany in comparison to other area. Most of the work in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir has been conducted at the field of ethno botany and ethno medicines, mainly focusing on the uses of plants in ailments. Khan (2003), Shinwari and Khan (2000), Ahmad (2007), Ahmad & Hussain (2008), Hussain et al., (2008).

Materials and Methods

The present study was under taken in and around the villages of Leepa Valley. Field visits were made, during the year 2004-2007 for the collection of information on plant--people relationship. The information's were gathered by direct field observations and interviewing knowledgeable old villagers. Herbarium specimens were collected & identified by Flora of Pakistan (Nasir & Ali, 1971-1994 & Ali & Qaiser, 1995-2007).

A categorical list of plant species along with their scientific name (arranged alphabetically), family name and their usage as fence & fuel wood were enlisted.

Results

The present study recorded 31 plants species belonging to 19 families under 27 genera, which are being used as fence and fuel wood. Among these 31 species, 17 species were trees and 14 species were shrub species. Out of nineteen families, gymnosperms were represented by two families were as the share of Angiosperms was seventeen families. The major contribution of fence and fuel wood species was represented by Pinaceae (5 species), followed by Rosaceae (4 species) & Fagaceae (3 species). Caprifoliaceae, Papilionaceae and Salicaceae were represented by two species each. Remaining thirteen families were represented by one plant species each. (Table-1)

Among 31 plant species, nineteen species were used as a source of fence. Species used fences are grouped into two categories, i.e. live fence and harvested fence. Ten species were used as hive fence and 12 plants species were used as fence after harvest. Similarly 26 species were used as fuel wood (Table--1). The common parts at the plants used for fuel & fence are branches and stem.

Discussion

Fence is a structure made of wood or wire supported with posts that is put between two areas of land as a boundary, or around a garden yard, field etc. to keep animals in or to keep people and animals out (Oxford, 7th Ed). Fence plants play an important role in rural area in preventing livestock from entering crop fields. Plant species having thorn, species and branches are preferred for fencing. Some of these plants are grown around the field permanently as living fence. Some are harvested and temporarily placed as a barrier. These fences also help as a wind breaker. These are put around the cultivated fields to prevent entry of cattle (horses, goats, sheep, buffalos and cows) and even hens to avoid loss of vegetables or crops at sapling and seedling stages. Rosa macrophylla, Rubus fruticosus, Berberis lycium, Viburnum grandiflorum and Indegofera heterantha are used as living fence around the field. Whereas Viburnum grandiflorum, Spirea canescence, Cotoneaster roseus, Lonicera glabrata and Salix tetraspermum are harvested as a source of fence.

Fuel wood in Leepa Valley is used for cooking, warming and lightening purposes. The main supply of fuel wood is from Aesculus indica, Taxus wallichinana, Cedrus deodara, Pinus walliclinana, Abies pindrow, Picea smithiana, Betula utilis, Juglans regia and Acer ceasium. Some shrubs are used as fuel wood but occasionally, which are as Viburnum grandiflorum, Salix tertapermum, Cotoneaster roseus, Desmodium elegans and Indegofera heterantha.

The most preferred plant species used for fuel purposes are Taxus wallichinana, Aesculus indica, Cedrus deodara and Pinus wallichinana because of their good burn. Juglans regia, Quercus spp, Picea smithiana, Betula utilis and Acer ceasium ranked second in the category of fuel wood.

Cedrus deodara and Pinus wallichinana are used as lightening woody locally called "Dilli" for these purpose old parts of the trees and roots are used because of its high resin contents. The Oil/ resin of Dilli called "LOU" are used against snow burn and skin problems of livestock.

Huge amount of fuel wood from Taxus wallichinana Aesculus indica, Cedrus deodara and Pinus wallichinana can be seen stored in houses for the months of November to April. These months are snowy and wood collection is not possible for the people due to snow fall. Storage of fuel wood is culturally important due to bad weather or insufficient resources and funds.

Wild plants are cheap and often plentiful but increased population has posed marlines threat to these tree species. One of very important factor which devastates this natural resource in geographically isolated mountainous topography of the investigated area, which increases the utility of these fuel wood species manifolds because the fuel gas and kerosene oil is not available to the inhabitants.

The local people of Leepa Valley collected the fuel wood from nearby forest; there is need of awareness among the people about the need of forest and its role in environment. Awareness programmes should be strengthened by the forest department, environmental ministry and NGOs which will be the first step wards the long term conservation of forest resources. Community forests should be established. It is concluded that emphasis should be on organized cultivation and reforestation in the area.

References

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Tariq Habib, Muhammad Qayyum Khan Muhammad Altaf Hussain

Department of Botany, University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Muzaffarabad.

Corresponding Author: Muhammad Altaf Hussain, Department of Botany, University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Muzaffarabad.

E-mail: scholar.altaf@gmail.com
Table 1: Usage of plants as fence and fuel wood in Leepa Valley,
Muzaffarabad

S No.   Name of Plant          Family
        Species

1       Abies pindlow Royle    Pinaceae

2       Acacia arabica Lim     Mimosaceae

3       Acer ceasium Lindle    Aceraceae

4       Aesculus indica Wall   Hippocastanaceae
        (Hook)

5       Berberis lycium        Berberidaceae
        Royle

6       Betula utilis D. Don   Betulaceae

7       Cedrus deodara Roxb    Pinaceae

8       Coltis eriocarpa       Ulmaceae
        Decaisia

9       Cotoneaster roseus     Rosaceae
        Edgen

10      Desmodium elegans      Papilionaceae
        Lim

11      Diospyrus lotus Lim    Ebenaceae

12      Elagnus umbellata      Elagnaceae
        Thumb

13      Indegofera             Papilionaceae
        heterantha Wall

14      Juglans regia Lim      Juglandaceae

15      Juniperis communius    Cuperaceae
        Wall

16      Lonicera hispidata     Caprifoliceae
        Wall

17      Parratiapsis           Hamameliaceae
        jacquementtina Dene

18      Picea smithiana Wall   Pinaceae

19      Pinusw wallichinana    Pinaceae
        AB Jackson

20      Pinus roxburghii       Pinaceae
        Royle

21      Quercus incana Lim     Fagaceae

22      Q. dilatata Lim        Fagaceae

23      Q. semicarpifolia      Fagaceae
        Lim

24      Rhododendron           Ericaceae
        companulatum D. Don

25      Rosa macrophylla       Rosaceae
        Lindle

26      Salix wallichinana     Salicaceae
        Andern

27      S. tetraspermum Roxb   Salicaceae

28      Spirea canescence D.   Rosaceae
        Don

29      Viburnum               Caprifoliaceae
        grandiflorum Wall ex
        Dc

30      Taxus wallichinana     Taxaceae
        Zicc

31      Rubus fruticosis       Rosaceae
        Linn

S No.   Name of Plant          L. Fn    H. Fn    F. W
        Species

1       Abies pindlow Royle    -        +        +

2       Acacia arabica Lim     +        +        +

3       Acer ceasium Lindle    -        -        +

4       Aesculus indica Wall   -        +        +
        (Hook)

5       Berberis lycium        +        -        +
        Royle

6       Betula utilis D. Don   -        -        +

7       Cedrus deodara Roxb    -        -        +

8       Coltis eriocarpa       +        -        -
        Decaisia

9       Cotoneaster roseus     +        -        +
        Edgen

10      Desmodium elegans      +        -        +
        Lim

11      Diospyrus lotus Lim    -        +        +

12      Elagnus umbellata      -        +        -
        Thumb

13      Indegofera             +        +        +
        heterantha Wall

14      Juglans regia Lim      -        -        +

15      Juniperis communius    -        -        +
        Wall

16      Lonicera hispidata     +        -        +
        Wall

17      Parratiapsis           -        +        -
        jacquementtina Dene

18      Picea smithiana Wall   -        +        +

19      Pinusw wallichinana    -        +        +
        AB Jackson

20      Pinus roxburghii       -        -        +
        Royle

21      Quercus incana Lim     -        -        +

22      Q. dilatata Lim        -        -        +

23      Q. semicarpifolia      -        -        +
        Lim

24      Rhododendron           -        -        +
        companulatum D. Don

25      Rosa macrophylla       +        -        -
        Lindle

26      Salix wallichinana     +        -        +
        Andern

27      S. tetraspermum Roxb   -        +        +

28      Spirea canescence D.   -        +        -
        Don

29      Viburnum               -        +        +
        grandiflorum Wall ex
        Dc

30      Taxus wallichinana     -        -        +
        Zicc

31      Rubus fruticosis       +        -        -
        Linn

Key:-

L. Fn = Live Fence

H. Fn = Harvested Fence

F. W = Fuel Wood
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Original Articles
Author:Habib, Tariq; Khan, Muhammad Qayyum; Hussain, Muhammad Altaf
Publication:American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 1, 2010
Words:1800
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