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The Vetal hills: An urban wildscape in peril


Abstract and Figures

The Vetal Hill complex, an urban green space, is located in the heart of the city of Pune, India. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the total species lost prior to 1997 as well as to record new additions to the flora. The most recent flora of this hill complex has been used as a central reference. Past published records and herbaria data were consulted for plants that have not been recorded and opportunistic visits made to the hills resulted in additions to the flora. The study disclosed the loss of 84 species from this hill complex (54 species reported in the present study along with 30 species mentioned in earlier literature) over a period of more than 110 years, with 72 native species out of 84 showing a distinct decline. Twenty species are reported as additions to the flora out of which eleven are exotics and nine native. Regular monitoring is crucial in understanding such long term changes in any forested area. This hill complex is an important forest patch in the city that has undergone severe habitat degradation over the years and hence is in urgent need of conservation.
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Section Editor: James L. Reveal Submitted: 12 May 2014, Accepted: 06 July 2014
Ashish N. Nerlekar1 and D. K. Kulkarni2
1 Graduate student, Department of Botany, Fergusson College, Pune 411004, Maharashtra, India;
2 BAIF Development Research Foundation, Dr. Manibhai Desai Nagar, Warje, Pune 411058, Maharashtra,
The Vetal Hill complex, an urban green space, is located in the heart of the city of Pune, India. The
aim of the present work was to evaluate the total species lost prior to 1997 as well as to record new
additions to the flora. The most recent flora of this hill complex has been used as a central reference.
Past published records and herbaria data were consulted for plants that have not been recorded and
opportunistic visits made to the hills resulted in additions to the flora. The study disclosed the loss of
84 species from this hill complex (54 species reported in the present study along with 30 species
mentioned in earlier literature) over a period of more than 110 years, with 72 native species out of 84
showing a distinct decline. Twenty species are reported as additions to the flora out of which eleven
are exotics and nine native. Regular monitoring is crucial in understanding such long term changes in
any forested area. This hill complex is an important forest patch in the city that has undergone severe
habitat degradation over the years and hence is in urgent need of conservation.
Key Words: floristic diversity decline, India, monitoring, native species, Pune, urban green space.
The proportion of urban residents is increasing
globally and thus the subject of urban
ecosystems is gaining importance (Savard et al.
2000). Increasing urbanization can cause
alteration of habitats including fragmentation of
natural vegetation, increase in regional
temperature, degradation of air and water
quality, and soil erosion all affect species
composition and proportion of alien species
(Moore & Palmer, 2005; Tratalos et al. 2007).
Urban green spaces can support significant
biodiversity and are of great importance as they
help in mitigating the urban heat island
phenomenon, carbon sequestration, recharge
ground water, and provide suitable habitat for
rare and endemic species (Nehru et al. 2012;
Singh et al. 2010). Vetal Hill and its
neighbouring hills are one such urban forest that
provides invaluable ecosystem services for the
city of Pune.
TAPROBANICA, ISSN 1800427X. February, 2015. Vol. 07, No. 02: pp. 7278, pls. 35.
© Research Center for Climate Change, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia
& Taprobanica Private Limited, Homagama, Sri Lanka
The city of Pune (formerly Poona) in
Maharashtra State, India, has been fortunate to
boast a rich history of botanical workers since
the early 19th century (Razi, 1952). Botanical
studies by Blatter & McCann (1935), Burns &
Chakradev (1921), Cooke (19011908), Dalzell
& Gibson (1861), Ghate (1993), Graham (1839),
Gunjatkar & Vartak (1982), Narayanayya
(1928), Vartak (1959a, b, c), and Woodrow
(1897-1898) deal indirectly with the flora
around the city; whereas works by Bonde
(1988), Ghate & Vartak (1981), Kulkarni et al.
(1989), Kulkarni & Kumbhojkar (1995), Nagare
et al. (1990), Puri & Jain (1960), Puri &
Mahajan (1958), Varadpande (1974), and Vartak
(1958, 1964) deal directly with the flora of
different geographical areas of Pune.
The hills in and around the city have also
received considerable attention from botanists
since the early 20th century. The Vetal and
adjacent group of hills have been well studied by
Burns (1931), Ezekiel (1917-1918), and Phadnis
(1925), followed by more recent studies by Joshi
(1991), Joshi et al. (1992, 1994), Joshi &
Kumbhojkar (1997), and Punalekar et al. (2010).
Joshi et al. (1992) presented a comparative
account and highlight species missing from the
flora of Ezekiel (1917-1918). Yet, a review and
comparison of other literature apart from Ezekiel
with the flora of Joshi & Kumbhojkar (1997)
remains undone. Hence, the aim of this paper is
to enumerate such lesser known plants from
Vetal Hill and surroundings that were listed in
earlier sources but are absent in the latest
comprehensive published flora of Joshi &
Kumbhojkar. Also, we wish to highlight some
additions to the flora of the hills.
Study Area
The city of Pune is located at the confluence of
the Mula and Mutha rivers on the Deccan
Plateau in western Maharashtra. The Vetal Hills
as defined in this paper refers to a group of three
hills (Vetal Hill, Law College Hill and
Chaturshingi Hill) that are inter-connected.
(18°30′N to 18°32′N and 73°48′E to 73°49′E).
The Vetal Temple on Vetal Hill is the highest
point in the region with an elevation of 705 m.
Law College Hill is located to the southeast and
Chaturshingi Hill is north of Vetal Hill (Fig. 1).
Three distinct seasons are observed in Pune: The
summer lasts from February to May with an
average high temperatures ranging from 31.9° C
to 36.9° C. The winter lasts from November to
January with average low temperatures from
14.4° C to 11.0° C. The monsoon season lasts
from June to October with an annual rainfall of
29.17 inches (=740.918 mm).
The underlying rock in the entire region is
basalt. The vegetation type in the hills is
Tropical southern dry mixed deciduous (Type
5A/C3) as classified by Champion & Seth
(1968) with the Anogeissus-Lannea-Boswellia
community being common. Other common
plants are Capparis grandis L.f., Grewia
tiliifolia Vahl, Dolichandrone falcata (Wall. ex
DC.) Seem., Santalum album L., Azadirachta
indica A. Juss. Cassia tora L., Mimosa hamata
Willd., and such exotic plants as Gliricidia
sepium (Jacq.) Kunth, Eucalyptus globulus
Labill., and Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de
Materials and Methods
The study was divided into two sections. The
first was a review of the available literature and
herbarium data for species reported before 1997
but not mentioned by Joshi & Kumbhojkar
(1997). [This excluded already analyzed data
from Ezekiel (1917-1918)]. The second part
consisted of opportunistic visits made by the
first author which resulted in the collection of
specimens that are here considered to represent
additions to the flora of the Vetal Hills.
All scientific names were corrected for
synonyms using The Plant List (2013) with this
information corrected based on more up-to-date
nomenclatural information. Out of all the
sources reviewed pertaining to the flora of these
hills, Cooke (19011908), Razi (1952), Vartak
(1959a), Agharkar Herbarium of the
Maharashtra Association (AHMA), and the
herbarium of the Botany department, Fergusson
College, Pune, India, were found to contain
plants that were lacking in the 1997 flora. Some
species were reported missing by more than one
of the above sources (e.g., Echinochloa
colona (L.) Link) as indicated in Appendix I.
For the second part of the study, opportunistic
visits were made from January 2012 to July
2014 with the specimens collected deposited at
AHMA. Specimens were identified using Cooke
(19011908), Lakshminarasimhan (1996), Singh
& Karthikeyan (2000), Singh et al. (2001),
Ingalhalikar & Barve (2010), and Potdar et al.
Section 1: A total of 51 plants were found in
Razi (1952) that were absent in Joshi &
Kumbhojkar (1997) as well as Ezekiel (1917-
1918). This indicates that over a period of 45
years, 51 species have disappeared from the
study area. From Vartak (1959a), a single
species, Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb., which
was mentioned as “common” on the Vetal Hills
is missing from the latest flora. The herbarium
records at AHMA revealed three species:
Eriocaulon cinereum R. Br., Dopatrium
junceum (Roxb.) Buch.-Ham. ex Benth., and
Vitex pinnata L. that were found missing from
the latest flora. From the herbarium of the
Botany Department of Fergusson College, three
species, namely Callistemon lanceolatus (Sm.)
Sweet, Holmskioldia sanguinea Retz., and
Erigeron bonariensis L. were found not
mentioned in the 1997 flora. Cooke (19011908)
has two species (Grewia abutilifolia Vent. ex
Juss. and Fimbristylis complanata (Retz.) Link)
not reported by other workers. Thus, a total of
60 plants are listed in Appendix I which were
reported earlier but vanished by 1997.
Section 2: Visits made during 20122014
resulted in the collection of 26 plants not listed
in Joshi & Kumbhojkar (1997). Of these, six
species (Dalbergia latifolia Roxb., Diospyros
melanoxylon, Acacia ferruginea DC.,
Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth., Gardenia
turgida Roxb., and Arthraxon lanceolatus
(Roxb.) Hochst.) were reported by Razi (1952)
and by Vartak (1959a) indicating that these
plants were overlooked by Joshi & Kumbhojkar
(1997). Thus a net of 20 species are listed as
additions to flora (Appendix II). Of these, eleven
species are exotics (Michelia champaca L.,
Khaya senegalensis (Desv.) A. Juss.,
Cassia roxburghii DC., Senna siamea (Lam.)
H.S. Irwin & Barneby, Terminalia catappa L.,
Grevillea robusta A. Cunn. ex R. Br.,
Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.,
Parkinsonia aculeata L., Euphorbia milii Des
Moul., Zinnia peruviana (L.) L., Cuphea
hyssopifolia Kunth) and nine are native
(Bambusa arundinacea Willd., Murraya
koenigii (L.) Spreng., Saraca asoca (Roxb.)
W.J. de Wilde, Ficus virens Aiton,
Senegalia polyacantha (Willd.) Seigler &
Ebinger, Albizia procera (Roxb.) Benth.,
Albizia amara (Roxb.) Boivin, Cadaba fruticosa
(L.) Druce, and Schleichera oleosa (Lour.)
Thus out of 60 species that vanished prior to
1997, the aforementioned six species were
collected again during 20122014. Hence, we
report 54 species that have disappeared. Along
with the 30 species mentioned missing by Joshi
et al. (1992) and 54 species listed in the present
study, a total 84 species are now extirpated. Out
of these, 72 species were native and 12 were
Additional remarks: Of all the areas, we would
like to highlight some areas of botanical
importance. The Law College Hill and the
plateau just above it (18°31′08.14″N,
73°49′25.86″E) houses many rare plants.
Cochlospermum religiosum (L.) Alston,
Dalbergia latifolia and Jatropha nana Dalzell
& A. Gibson are rare in general, but seen
abundantly on the plateau. Locally rare plants
(as per Joshi & Kumbhojkar, 1997) like
Hardwickia binata Roxb., Semecarpus
anacardium L.f., and Manilkara hexandra
(Roxb.) Dubard, as well as a lesser known tree,
Gardenia turgida, are seen near the pathways
leading to the temple (Fig. 2). Other areas,
including the area behind the Vetal Temple
(18°31′33.78″N, 73°48′54.03″E), the grassland
beyond the quarry (18°31′57.97″N,
73°49′01.18″E), and the slopes of Patrakar
Nagar (18°31′26.16″N, 73°49′20.01″E) also
support a fair percentage of native vegetation
and hence should be protected. Herbarium
specimens of Gardenia turgida and Schrebera
swietenoides Roxb. dating back to 1902, are
shown below (Figs. 3 & 4).
The 84 species reported extirpated in the Vetal
Hill complex is compiled from sources starting
from Cooke (19011908) to Joshi &
Kumbhojkar (1997) and on to the present day
span more than 110 years and this indicates an
alarming rate of species loss. This number is by
no means insignificant and highlights the rapid
change in species composition on these hills.
Out of the 84 species most were natives, an
unambiguous indication of a rapid decline of the
native vegetation in this area.
Six species that were listed before 1997 and also
collected during 20122014 point out that they
were/are of rare occurrence and thus not
collected. The eleven exotic species listed as
additions to flora pose a potential threat being
invasive and spreading on the hills. At present,
exotics like Michelia champaca, Ceiba
pentandra, Cassia roxburghii, Khaya
senegalensis, Euphorbia milii, Cuphea
hyssopifolia, Grevillea robusta, and Terminalia
catappa were probably planted by the local
authorities and do not seem to be invasive. On
the other hand, Senna siamea , Zinnia
peruviana, and Parkinsonia aculeata seem to be
spreading probably due efficient seed dispersal.
Improving the biodiversity of urban ecosystems
is important (Savard et al. 2000) due to the
multiple ecosystem services they provide.
Regular monitoring of any ecosystem with
respect to its status and condition at several
points in time is crucial for better management
(Noss, 1999). The Vetal Hill complex has been
subjected to such periodic monitoring since the
early 20th century and continuing such studies
will help give us a better understanding of the
health of this ecosystem.
Unplanned plantation programmes of exotic as
well as native species, fires, and changing land-
use are some of the threats that these hills
currently face. Understanding and protecting the
original dry deciduous nature of these forests
and implementing suitable plantation
programmes [similar to those discussed by
Kulkarni & Kumbhojkar (1997)] of plants that
have been extirpated due to anthropogenic
pressures would help in the conservation of this
unique urban ecosystem.
The authors would like to thank V. N. Joshi
(ARI, Pune) for providing valuable literature,
the Librarian, Fergusson College, Pune for
library facilities, the Head, Botany Department,
Fergusson College and A. S. Upadhye (ARI,
Pune) for providing access to their valuable
collection of herbarium sheets. We are grateful
to P. Agarwal for providing inputs on the
manuscript. Thanks are also due to A. Watve, N.
Diwanji and S. Raje for assisting during the
collection visits, and S. Lapalikar and N. Patil
for procuring selected references. The authors
are grateful to Mr. G. G. Sohani (BAIF, Pune)
and the Principal, Fergusson College for
encouragement in the current work.
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Appendix I: List of species not reported by Joshi & Kumbhojkar (1997); * plants that were mentioned in the
earlier literature as well as collected during the present study; HFCBD, Herbarium of Fergusson College Botany
department (not a standard acronym); LCH, Law College Hill; VH, Vetal Hill; CH, Chaturshingi Hill; **See the
end note below.
Andrographis echioides (L.f.) Nees
Asteracantha longifolia Nees
Calophanes dalzellii T. Anderson ex Bedd.
Justicia simplex D. Don
Rungia repens (L.) Nees
Buchanania lanzan Spreng.
Wrightia tinctoria R. Br
Ceropegia tuberosa Roxb.
Cyathocline purpurea (Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) Kuntze
Erigeron bonariensis L.
Lactuca runcinata DC. ex Wight
Heliotropium ovalifolium Forssk.
Heliotropium supinum L.
Garuga pinnata Roxb.
Cassia auriculata L.
Cassia marginata Roxb.
Capparis divaricata Lam.
Celastrus paniculatus Willd.
Cleome monophylla L.
Terminalia arjuna (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Arn.
Cyanotis axillaris (L.) D. Don ex Sweet
Fimbristylis complanata (Retz.) Link
Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.*
Eriocaulon cinereum R. Br.
Acalypha malabarica Müll.Arg.
Euphorbia elegans Spreng.
Euphorbia tirucalli L.
Jatropha glandulifera Roxb.
Phyllanthus niruri L.
Holmskioldia sanguinea Retz.
Leonotis nepetifolia (L.) R. Br.
Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth.*
Acacia ferruginea DC.*
Callistemon lanceolatus (Sm.) Sweet
Habenaria longicalcarata A. Rich.
Aeschynomene indica L.
Crotalaria linifolia L.f.
Crotalaria mysorensis Roth
Dalbergia latifolia Roxb. *
Desmodium diffusum DC.
Taverniera nummularia DC.
Andropogon pumilus Roxb.
Arthraxon lanceolatus (Roxb.) Hochst.*
Arthraxon microphyllus (Trin.) Hochst.
Brachiaria ramosa (L.) Stapf
Cenchrus biflorus Roxb.
Chionachne semiteres (Benth.) Henrard
Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf
Echinochloa colona (L.) Link
Pennisetum hohenackeri Hochst. ex Steud.
Setaria intermedia Roem. & Schult.
Sorghum purpureosericeum (A. Rich.) Schweinf. & Asch.
Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze
Gardenia turgida Roxb.*
Dopatrium junceum (Roxb.) Buch.-Ham. ex Benth.
Corchorus fascicularis Lam.
Corchorus trilocularis L.
Grewia abutilifolia Vent. ex Juss.
Grewia obtusa Wall. ex Dunn
Vitex pinnata L.
Appendix II: Additions to flora discovered during the present study; LCH, Law College Hill; VH, Vetal Hill;
CH, Chaturshingi Hill.
**End note: The authors have retained the taxonomic disposition of families in the above tables as cited in the
references; likewise, we have kept the species names used by those authors. We are well aware that both
Caesalpiniaceae and Mimosaceae are best retained in a broadly defined Fabaceae which includes Papilionaceae.
Also, we are aware that Phyllanthus is now assigned to Phyllanthaceae, and Tiliaceae may be assigned to a
broadly defined Malvaceae although there are current systems of classification that accept Tiliaceae. A number
of species have been revised since the above cited publications made their appearance. For example, Grewia
obtusa is now considered to be a synonym of G. bracteata Roth and Acacia polyacantha is now S. polyacantha
(Willd.) Seigler & Ebinger. The name, Erigeron linifolius, is more a matter of taxonomic opinion than
nomenclature with opinions varying on accepting E. bonariensis L. or Conyza bonariensis (L.) Cronquist. In
either case there is no debate that E. linifolius is a synonym. As may be seen from our use of species names in
our text, we have attempted to use current nomenclature.
Zinnia peruviana (L.) L.
Exotic weed seen spreading
Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.
Cassia roxburghii DC.
Senna siamea (Lam.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby
Few well-grown planted specimens
Parkinsonia aculeata L.
Only a single plant seen
Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Willd.
About a dozen trees planted, growing
Cadaba fruticosa (L.) Druce
Couple of plants seen
Terminalia catappa L.
Euphorbia milii Des Moul.
Planted near temples
Cuphea hyssopifolia Kunth
Michelia champaca L.
A couple of young trees seen
Khaya senegalensis (Desv.) A. Juss.
Senegalia polyacantha (Willd.) Seigler & Ebinger
Occasionally seen
Albizia amara (Roxb.) Boivin
Native and plenty of well grown trees
Albizia procera (Roxb.) Benth.
Couple of trees
Ficus virens Aiton
Few well grown trees seen
Bambusa arundinacea Willd.
Planted and growing well
Grevillea robusta A. Cunn. ex R. Br.
Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng.
Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken
A fine grove of three full grown trees
seen along the pathway
Figure 1: The study area is outlined in white and shows the three hills that are inter-connected.
Figure 2: (A) Manilkara hexandra (Roxb.) Dubard, (B) Acacia ferruginea DC., (C) Gardenia turgida Roxb.,
(D) Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken, (E) Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb., (F) Cochlospermum religiosum (L.)
Alston (photos: A. Nerlekar).
Figure 3: Herbarium specimen of Gardenia turgida Roxb. collected by L.D. Garade on 17 Jun 1902 from
Chaturshungi Hill. Courtesy of the Department of Botany, Fergusson College, Pune, India.
Figure 4: Herbarium specimen of Schrebera swietenoides Roxb. collected by L.D. Garade on 17 Jun 1902 from
Chaturshungi Hill. Courtesy of the Department of Botany, Fergusson College, Pune, India.
... Floristically, cities have been observed to be richer than adjoining areas owing to high habitat heterogeneity as well as the presence of exotic species (Pyšek 1998;Chocholoušková 2003). In cities, urban green spaces are of great importance because of the multiple ecosystem services they provide (Nehru et al. 2012) and may exist in the form of domestic, public or botanical gardens, unused fields, woodlands (Smith et al. 2006;Primack & Miller-Rushing 2009;Kitha & Lyth 2011), campuses of educational institutes (Suresh & Bhat 2000) or urban forests/ wildscapes (Joshi & Kumbhojkar 1997;Nerlekar & Kulkarni 2015). ...
... The compilations available for floristic diversity of Maharashtra State also partly and indirectly deal with Pune City's flora (Almeida 1996(Almeida -2009Lakshminarasimhan 1996;Singh & Karthikeyan 2000;Singh et al. 2001;Lakshminarasimhan et al. 2012). Studies including Ezekiel (1917Ezekiel ( -1918, Phadnis (1925), Burns (1931), Puri & Mahajan (1958), Vartak (1958a, b;1962, 1964, Puri & Jain (1960), Varadpande (1974), Ghate & Vartak (1981), Bonde (1988), Kulkarni et al. (1989), Nagare et al. (1990), Joshi et al. (1992Joshi et al. ( , 1994, Kulkarni & Kumbhojkar (1995), Joshi & Kumbhojkar (1997), Datar & Ghate (2006), Patwardhan & Gandhe (2000, Ranade (2000Ranade ( -2001, Punalekar et al. (2010), Ingalhalikar & Barve (2010), and Nerlekar & Kulkarni (2015) deal with the city flora more directly. ...
... The hill today presents a mosaic of habitats with patches of relict scrub vegetation along with plantations (Image 4). Only some part of the southern spur of the hill and fragmented patches of the hill top retain the original forest type with the presence of Aristida spp., hardly be seen on the FC hill today, which is otherwise common on adjacent hills in Pune (Nerlekar & Kulkarni 2015). Several citizens use the hill regularly everyday for recreational activities and thus can contribute positively towards its development. ...
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p>The present study was aimed at determining the vascular plant species richness of an urban green-space- the Fergusson College campus, Pune and comparing it with the results of the past flora which was documented in 1958 by Dr. V.D. Vartak. For this, the species richness data was obtained by both secondary sources and intensive surveys from 2009–2014. The data from the primary and secondary sources resulted in the documentation of 812 species belonging to 542 genera under 124 families, of which 534 species (65.8%) exists today as compared to 654 in 1958 (net loss of 120 species). Of the 812 species listed, 278 species were observed only during the past, 210 species were exclusively recorded in the current survey and 324 species were observed both, in the past as well as current survey. Arboreal species richness recorded till date (196) in the campus accounts for 40.7% of that of the entire Pune City. Leguminosae and Poaceae were the dominant dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous families respectively and an inventory of all the species recorded is provided. Although the botanical garden over the past years has lost 187 species, it still houses rare species such as Acacia greggii, which has been reported from Maharashtra for the first time. Considering the rapidly changing urban land use in the city, much attention should be paid towards the conservation of these green spaces, for which such studies provide baseline data. </div
... 73°46′50.25″E) in Pune. These hills are an important natural landscape within an urban area and the habitat is a mosaic of plantations of exotic species and patches of remnant native savannah vegetation (Nerlekar and Kulkarni, 2015; https:// On the Vetal and Pashan-Baner hills, the native Anogeissus-Lannea-Boswellia tree community is commonly found along with plantations of Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) ...
... Kunth (Leguminosae) and Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit. (Leguminosae) (Nerlekar and Kulkarni, 2015), whereas the NDA hills have fairly intact vegetation with low anthropogenic disturbance (Vattakaven et al., 2016). The elevation of the hills is about 700 m above sea level and the region receives annual seasonal rainfall (about 700 mm), of which about 90% is received between June and October. ...
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The fact that plant spatial aggregation patterns shape insectherbivore communities in a variety of ways has resulted in a large body of literature on the subject. The landmark resource concentration hypothesis predicts that density of insect herbivores per plant will increase as host plant density increases. I examined this prediction across temporal samplings using Jatropha nana and the associated specialist insect herbivores as a system. Through 12 field samplings, I modelled the effect of host plant density on insectherbivore loads. The initial samplings (2–3) provided evidence for the resource concentration hypothesis, with insect loads increasing with increasing host plant density, whereas the later samplings (4–5, 7–11) showed the opposite; a resource dilution pattern with a decline of insect loads with increasing host plant density. These patterns also depend on the biology of the herbivores and have important implications on J. nana population dynamics.
... Our observations were similar to the previous vegetational study carried out in the exotic plantations of PMC by Punalekar et al. (2010). Nerlekar and Kulkarni (2015) also noted a change in the native plant species composition over the Vetal hill complex due to unplanned plantation of exotic and native plant species. Plantation of exotic plants in the natural habitat leads to a reduction of diversity and abundance of native herbaceous plant species (Ortega et al. 2006) and it ultimately reduces the number of arthropod density and diversity (Herrera and Dudley 2003;Narango et al. 2018;Goded et al. 2019). ...
Exotic plants are preferred in plantation forestry due to its fast growth rate and low maintenance. These plantations affect the natural vegetation and thus the fauna dependent on it. In our study, we assessed the impact of exotic plantations on savanna birds of Pune Metropolitan City (PMC). The original vegetation of the hilly region is a savanna type; through plantation forestry, exotic plants were planted in the savanna vegetation present over the hillocks in the PMC. We studied bird assemblages and vegetation in both savanna vegetation and exotic plantations. Bird sampling was done in late monsoon, winter and summer season. We found 41.67 ± 10.49 (Mean ± SD) bird species in savanna patches and 15.8 ± 6.75 bird species in the exotic plantations. The vegetational study showed that exotic plantations have the lower richness and high dominance of woody plant species compared to savanna patches. We noted an increased percentage of omnivore birds, lower percentage of predator and herbivore birds in the exotic plantations as compared to savanna patches. Our results demonstrate that exotic plantations have changed native plant community structure which was present before plantation, and has become a poorer habitat for bird species. We recommend that exotic plants should not be preferred for plantation forestry. Currently, savannas are under threat of non-scientific plantation forestry, therefore awareness among citizens, policymakers, forest officials are necessary for its conservation.
... Within urban ecosystems, themes like the flora in and around human settlements have earned great importance recently (Celesti Grapow et al 2013, Aronson et al 2014. In cities, urban green spaces are immensely valuable because they provide ecosystem services, social benefits and possible contribution to biodiversity conservation (Nehru et al 2012, Zari 2018 and may exist in the form of botanical gardens, parks, unused fields, woodlands (Smith et al 2006, Primack and Miller Rushing 2009, Kitha and Lyth 2011, Chen and Sun -2018, urban forests/ wildscapes (Nerlekar and Kulkarni 2015), peri-urban home gardens (Kunhamu et al 2015), campuses of educational and research institutes (Renukarya et al 2015, Nerlekar et al 2016, Balan and Harikrishnan 2017. Study of urban flora across the cities has also been performed in various parts of the world (Celesti Grapow et al -2013, Wang et al 2020. ...
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The floristic study was undertaken at an urban green space in Purulia, West Bengal during 2018-2019. A total of 88 species of Magnoliophyta (angiosperms) were documented systematically on the basis of Cronquist's system of classification out of which 80.7% are dicots and 29.3% are monocots. The dicots dominated over monocots in terms of their contribution to flora. The ratio of tree, herb and shrub were 37.5% , 45.45% and 17.05%, respectively. The present conservation status of the plants as per IUCN indicated that only 18 species were classified under different categories such as 1 critically endangered, 1 endangered, 1 near threatened, 2 data deficient and 13 least concern, while most of the species were not evaluated. This study can provide insights to comprehend the dynamics of the flora and help for future plantation program, designing and management of landscape in this campus and other urban green spaces in the adjacent areas.
... Various parts of the medicinal plants are used for different purposes and are also a source of economic growth to local people (Samant et al., 1997). Plants (Suresh and Bhat, 2000) or urban forests / wildscapes (Nerlekar and Kulkarni, 2015). The studies of biodiversity have now assumed greater significance to document global biodiversity in the face of unprecedented perturbations, habitat loss and extinction rates. ...
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The present study was aimed at determining the vegetation of an urban green-space-the Holy Cross College campus, Trichy and identify the medicinal properties of the plants. For this, the field survey was made from December 2016-February 2017. The data from the survey resulted in the documentation of 56 species belonging to 55 genera under 36 families. Arecaceae and Lamiaceae were the dominant families. The represented plant is dominated by tree 55.4%, Shrubs 23.2%, herbs 17.8%, and climber 3.6%, respectively. Totally, the recorded vegetation comprises of 56 species (includes 31 trees, 13 shrubs, 10 herbs and 2 climbers). Shannon-Weiner index was observed as 3.286. Other than these plants, several ornamental plants and a grass land is maintained inside the campus. Considering the rapidly changing urban land use in the city, much attention should be paid towards the conservation of these green spaces, for which the present study provide baseline data.
... Kunth and Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit. These urban wildscapes have undergone remarkable ecological change in recent decades with a number of natives declining at a fast rate (Nerlekar and Kulkarni 2015). The hills today are a mosaic habitat with exotic monoculture dominating most parts and interspersed with small native open-scrub patches. ...
... Inappropriate choice of cultivation of species has also resulted into habitat degradation; exotics, such as Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth and Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit, (Leguminosae) rapidly invade the landscape and dominate the native flora (Punalekar et al. 2010) resulting in loss of natives (Nerlekar & Kulkarni 2015). It is tremendously important to understand and convince the planters that the original forest type of the hills in and around Pune city is dry deciduous (Champion & Seth 1968) and that grasslands along with scrub are an important component of this ecosystem where J. nana thrives. ...
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Jatropha nana is an endemic and threatened taxon with restricted distribution. A lectotype for this name is designated in the present communication. Jatropha nana var. benghalensis was recently described as a new variety based on stipule morphology and size of the root. On examining specimens from the type locality, these characters were found to be present but also variable. Hence, J. nana var. benghalensis is proposed now as a synonym of J. nana. A critical taxonomic treatment for this species is provided along with notes on anthropogenic threats to the species in and around the type locality.
Birds produce diverse acoustic signals, with coexisting species occupying distinct “acoustic niches” to minimize masking, resulting in overdispersion within acoustic space. In tropical regions of the world, an influx of migrants from temperate regions occurs during winter. The effects of these migrants on acoustic community structure and dynamics remain unstudied. Here, I show that in a tropical dry forest bird community occurring within an urban area in India, the influx of winter migrants is accompanied by a change in species composition of the acoustic community. However, in spite of this, the acoustic community remains overdispersed in acoustic niche space. The winter community of vocal birds at this study site additionally exhibits lower energy in the 4–7 kHz frequency bands (consistent with species singing less continuously), as well as lower phylogenetic diversity. My data are thus indicative of seasonal turnover in acoustic communities but suggest that acoustic niches and community structure are stable across seasons. Migrants occupy similar regions of acoustic space as residents and are relatively closely related to some of these species. Their arrival, therefore, leads to greater phylogenetic clustering in the winter and thus lower phylogenetic diversity, although the acoustic community remains overdispersed. Studying seasonal dynamics of acoustic communities thus provides valuable insight into assembly processes, as well as a potential framework for long-term monitoring of urban ecosystems.
Animals employing acoustic signals, such as birds, must effectively communicate over both background noise and potentially attenuating objects in the environment. To surmount these obstacles, animals evolve species-specific acoustic signals that do not overlap with sources of interference (such as songs of close relatives), and issue these songs from locations that maximize transmission. In multispecies assemblages of birds, the acoustic resource may thus be interspecifically partitioned along multiple axes, including song perch height and signal space. However, very few such studies have focused on open habitats, where differences in sound transmission patterns and limited availability of song perches may drive competition across multiple axes within signal space. Here, we demonstrate acoustic signal space partitioning in four sympatric species of wren-warbler (Cisticolidae, Prinia), in an Indian dry deciduous scrub-grassland habitat. We found that the breeding songs of the four species partition acoustic signal space, resulting in interspecific community organization. Within each species’ signal space, we uncovered different intraspecific patterns in note diversity. Two species partition intraspecific signal space into multiple note types, whereas the other two vary note repetition rate to different extents. Finally, we found that the four species also partition song perch heights, thus exhibiting acoustic niche separation along multiple axes. We hypothesize that divergent song perch heights may be driven by competition for higher singing perches or other ecological factors rather than signal propagation. Acoustic signal partitioning along multiple axes may therefore arise from a combination of diverse ecological processes.
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Humans have altered the forests of urban regions drastically, thereby reducing the original forests to isolated fragments. Such fragments may contain remnants of the original vegetation. Nanmangalam Reserve Forest (NRF), located in the Metropolitan Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, is an example of such a forest fragment, covering an area of 321 ha. A total of 449 angiosperm species belonging to 313 genera representing 83 families were recorded from NRF. Amongst the species, 79% were dicots and 21% were monocots. The most genera/species rich families were Fabaceae (37/69) and Poaceae (34/52). The species rich genera included Cassia (10), Crotalaria (7), Erogrostis, Hedyotis and Phyllanthus (6 each). Six endemic species were recorded. This diversity amidst a rapidly expanding city has to be protected in order to enable the conservation agenda of urban areas.
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Enlightened forest management requires reliable information on the status and condition of each forest ± interpreted from a broad context ± and of change in forest conditions over time. The process of forest planning must begin with a clear statement of goals, from which detailed objectives and management plans follow. Goals and objectives for forest management should re¯ect the conservation value of a forest relative to other forests of the same general type. This paper reviews some recent assessments (with emphasis on North America), presents a framework for forest assessment and monitoring, and suggests some indicators of biodiversity in forests. Among the broad assessments of forest status and conservation value are a globaìforest frontiers' assessment by the World Resources Institute, gap analysis projects that assess the level of representation of forests and other communities in protected areas, and ecoregion-based conservation assessments conducted by the World Wildlife Fund. Also important is information on change in forest area and condition over time. Among the common changes in forests over the past two centuries are loss of old forests, simpli®cation of forest structure, decreasing size of forest patches, increasing isolation of patches, disruption of natural ®re regimes, and increased road building, all of which have had negative effects on native biodiversity. These trends can be reversed, or at least slowed, through better management. Progress toward forest recovery can be measured through the use of ecological indicators that correspond to the speci®c conditions and trends of concern. Although there is a wealth of indicators to choose from, most have been poorly tested and require rigorous validation in order to be interpreted with con®dence. # 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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The study reveals the impact of three exotic tree species namely Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill., Gliricidia sepium Kunth ex Steud, and Leucaena leucocephala de Wit. on the indigenous tree and shrub species through a phytosociological study and statistical analysis on Vetal hill in Pune. It reveals the declining status of native woody species due to rapid growth and spreading of these exotic species.
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"In an era of global climate change and rapid urbanization, innovations on governance of urban systems are critically required as 50% people are now living in less than 3% of the earth’s urbanized terrestrial surface. Without careful production of knowledge, and large investments to link that knowledge to action, cities will be overwhelmed with environmental challenges. Both policy and science now emphasize the critical necessity of green areas within urban social-ecological systems. Here, we review the present status of urban forestry across the world, and draw lessons that can be applied for the governance of urban green spaces during the development of Jaipur as a world-class city in Rajasthan. We find wide variation both in coverage as well as per capita availability of green spaces. There are, however, some discernible trends emerging from cities renowned for their urban green spaces: approximately 20 to 30% coverage of the total geographical area, and 15 to 25 m2 urban green spaces per capita. World Health Organization suggests ensuring at least a minimum availability of 9 m2 green open space per city dweller. Finally, we provide strategies and lessons for connecting science to decision-making aimed at creating multifunctional landscapes to enhance urban resilience and human well-being."
The urbanization of agricultural lands is currently one of the dominant pat-terns of land use change in developed countries. In the United States and parts of Europe, this has led to the implementation of agricultural land preservation programs and riparian protection and replanting efforts along urban streams. The ecological benefits of such programs for the conservation of freshwater biodiversity have yet to be fully explored. We designed a study to investigate the patterns of stream macroinvertebrate community structure along a gradient of agriculture to urban development, and the patterns among urban streams that vary in the amount of intact riparian buffer. In 2001 and 2002, we sampled the 29 small headwater streams comprising the outlying tributaries of four watersheds just north of Washington, D.C., in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA. This region has had dramatic urban development over the last 50 years, yet significant efforts have been made to maintain riparian buffers and promote preservation of agricultural land. Macroinvertebrate richness was strongly related to land use, with agricultural streams exhibiting the highest macroinvertebrate diversity. Taxa richness was related negatively and linearly (no statistical threshold) to the amount of impervious surface cover. For the urban streams, there was a strong positive relationship between invertebrate diversity and riparian forest cover. Urban streams with high amounts of intact riparian forest exhibited biodiversity levels more comparable to less urban areas despite high amounts of impervious cover in their catchments. The agricultural headwater streams in this study were not only more diverse than the urban headwaters, but their levels of macroinvertebrate diversity were high compared to other published estimates for agricultural streams. These higher richness values may be due to widespread use of ''best management practices'' (BMPs), including no-till farming and the implementation of woody and herbaceous riparian buffers, which may alleviate many acute stressors caused by cultivation. These findings suggest that, if managed properly, the preservation of agricultural land from development may help conserve stream invertebrate biodiversity, and that maintenance of riparian forests even in highly urbanized watersheds may help alleviate ecological disturbances that might otherwise limit macroinvertebrate survival.
The association of biodiversity and urban ecosystems has usually concerned the impact of urbanization on biodiversity. However, biodiversity concepts can easily be applied to the urban ecosystem itself. As more and more people live in cities, restoration, preservation and enhancement of biodiversity in urban areas become important. Concepts related to biodiversity management such as scale, hierarchy, species identity, species values, fragmentation, global approaches can be used to manage urban biodiversity. Application of these concepts in such artificial ecosystems may yield important insights for the management of natural ecosystems. Birds are highly visible and quite sensitive to changes in habitat structure and composition. Bird species richness in urban ecosystems is influenced both by local and landscape characteristics and a multi-scale approach is essential to its proper management. People–wildlife conflicts are an integral component of wildlife management in urban ecosystems and must be addressed. Enhancement of biodiversity in urban ecosystems can have a positive impact on the quality of life and education of urban dwellers and thus facilitate the preservation of biodiversity in natural ecosystems.
Using data from selected areas in five UK cities, we studied the relationships between urban form and the following measures of ecosystem performance: availability and patch characteristics of tree cover, gardens and green space; storm-water run-off; maximum temperature; carbon sequestration. Although most measures of ecosystem performance declined with increasing urban density, there was considerable variability in the relationships. This suggests that at any given density, there is substantial scope for maximising ecological performance. The social status of residents was related to measures of tree cover. Housing type was significantly associated with some types of ecosystem service provision, indicating that the type of development may be important independent of its density. These findings have implications for understanding the distribution of ecosystem services and biodiversity across urban landscapes, and the management of development aimed at meeting UK government housing density targets.
Flora of Maharashtra State
  • P Lakshminarasimhan
Lakshminarasimhan, P., 1996. Monocots. In: Sharma B.D., S. Karthikeyan and N. P. Singh (eds.). Flora of Maharashtra State. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta: 794.
Some imperfectly known plants from Poona and Satara districts (Part II)
  • V D Vartak
Vartak, V. D., 1959b. Some imperfectly known plants from Poona and Satara districts (Part II).