Ecology, a neglected area in Pakistan

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ECOLOGY IS the basic foundation of all biological sciences but unfortunately it is a neglected subject in Pakistan. The research on vegetation ecology required resources, laborious and time consuming field work in often remote, rugged, hard and wild areas. In addition knowledge of multivariate techniques and computer skills are also necessary to summarize huge quantitative data. Besides, no book is available that provides information on vegetation ecology in a comprehensible manner methodology, using local examples by any Asian author. This is one of the main reasons we are far behind in this field and only a handful of vegetation ecologists are working in this field. This book is written by two famous Ecologists of Pakistan following the international standard. This is the first book on this subject in Pakistan with local examples and computer programme.

The major objective of this book is to present a practical introduction to phytosociology, community analysis, multivariate approaches and phytogeography.

Another purpose of this book is to provide an account of the subject in simple English, comprehensible and readable manner with examples in a step by step method, covering at least one section of university syllabus text around which students and researchers can focus with little guidance.

Since the last 40 years, vegetation ecology has experienced major growth and development. This book reflects these changes. They have retained important basic information of vegetation ecology and added new approaches and developments. This is way the basic ideas of phytosociological methodology are described at length. The book is divided into 21 chapters. The chapter one gives a brief introduction to ecology definition, important developments, basic concept, branches and major climatic zones of the world. the chapter two describes an important and basic concept of ecology ?Niche?. The chapter three deals with phytosociological attributes which are explained by examples, illustrations, photographs and formulae.

Since students may have some knowledge of the sampling methods, these methods have been explained by illustrations, field photographs and formulae in chapter four. In chapter five, emphasis is given to two widely used sampling techniques i.e. plotless (Point centered quarter method) and sample plot (quadrat) method. It is shown that how sampling is undertaken in the field and how data is summarized in a step by step manner.

The chapter six provides a brief overview of classification presented from different schools of thoughts, and their comparison. Land-cover mapping with the help of GIS and satellite images are described in chapter seven.

The material in chapter eight and chapter nine, describe concepts and details of multivariate analyses. Chapter eight, deals with ordination and its kinds with details of Bray and Curtis ordination, while chapter nine explains classification (cluster analysis) with special reference to TWINSPAN and Ward?s methods of clustering.

Status of vegetation analysis in Pakistan in chapter ten is an upto date brief review of important works carried out in Pakistan. Phytogeography is described from chapter eleven to chapter twenty slightly in detail. The main reason is to provide detailed information on which students can develop their own short notes according to their time and requirement. The Chapter 21 deals with the vegetation of Pakistan including various systems of classification, ecological regions and brief description of vegetation of Pakistan.

One merit of this book over the other related books is that computer programs are presented for computing species diversity, niche breadth and overlap and polar ordination. Some other useful programs are also presented.

In general in this book, niche (chapter 2), step by step data summarizing procedure (chapter 5), types of classification (chapter 6), land cover mapping (chapter 7), multivariate procedures (chapter 8 and 9) and the status of vegetation analysis in Pakistan (chapter 10) are topics which are presented for the first time in any text book of this nature, in the region.

Hopefully, the book will be helpful not only to students of Botany but also to the research workers of forestry, environmental science and geography can get benefit.

The writer is associated with the Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Pakistan.


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