Lake Water Quality and Surrounding Vegetation in Dry Churiya Hills, Far-Western Nepal

Pawan K Neupane, Madhukar Khadka, Radium Adhikari, Dinesh R Bhuju

Abstract

Mudka, Bedkot and Jhilmila are natural lakes in dry sub-tropic Churiya hills of Kanchanpur in far-western Nepal. A study was carried out on these lakes to prepare baseline information on water quality, floristic and structural features of adjoining forest vegetation, socio-cultural importance and threats to help support their sustainable use. The study was conducted in March (pre-monsoon) and November 2008 (post-monsoon). A significant seasonal variation (p≤0.05) in the physico-chemical properties of the lake waters was recorded. Adjoining forests of Mudka contained 23 species at canopy, 13 species at shrub and 27 species at herb strata, while that of Bedkot had 31 species of plants at canopy, 9 species at shrub and 37 species at herb strata, and Jhilmila had 23 species at canopy, no species at shrub and 47 species at herb strata. The most frequently seen trees were Mallotus philippensis and Shorea robusta in the forests surrounding Mudka and Bedkot whereas Jhilmila's surrounding forests contained S. robusta, Semicarpus anacardium, Syzygium cumini and Anogeisus latifolius. At shrub stratum, in the forest surrounding Mudka, M. philippensis had the highest density (633.3 no./ha) whereas in case of Bedkot, Solanum erianthum had the highest density (144.0no./ha). At herb stratum, the species with highest coverage at the respective forest were Ageratum conyzoides (7.14%), Viburnum contifolium (8.5%) and Themeda triandra (16.09%). All three lakes possessed cultural values as the people visited the sites as pilgrimage and observed religious festivals mostly on full moon. However, unsustainable consumption of the resources from the surrounding forests is adding pressure on the condition of the lakes. Further, the area and depth of the lakes are diminishing due to the massive amount of sediments from fragile Churiya hills. This calls for the urgent conservation and good management of the lakes.

Key words: conservation; forest characteristics; seasonal variation; socio culture

DOI: 10.3126/njst.v11i0.4142

Nepal Journal of Science and Technology 11 (2010) 181-188

Keywords

conservation; forest characteristics; seasonal variation; socio culture
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