Dear Nature Lovers,
Greetings from oikos !
In nature, nothing is unwanted… Even thorny clusters of vegetation, which are normally neglected and removed during any kind of development, are one of the most potential Ecologically Sensitive Sites !
Ketaki & Manasi
Clusters – Due to intense forest cutting and fragmentation, most of our natural areas have vegetation in clustered form without any uniform canopy layers. Climax vegetation is seen only in the form of Sacred Grove or protected areas. A cluster is composed of thorny shrubs, climbers, a coppiced or regenerating tree, seasonal climbers & variety of seasonal herbs in an area of min 1 sq m. It houses about 5 to 25 types of plants at any given time. Though, an indication of degradation, it also suggests plant composition & act as building block in succession. Succession is a natural phenomenon in which degraded landscape, if protected, slowly reaches ultimate climax stage. So, clusters play very important role as protected anchoring places for various plants and animal species. It maintains a micro climate on the land which helps in regeneration of new plants and provides habitat and shelter for birds, insects and animals which otherwise may get driven out. Restoration process can be accelerated just by protecting clusters, along with certain other techniques.
Saplings planted near clusters grow very well than planted in open area. Clusters also act as seed banks since many birds disperse seeds through their droppings. Many of these clusters hold very rare and endemic floral species.
Generally, such vegetation is blindly removed during development, plantation or landscaping activities. But Knowing all this importance, clusters are worth protecting and needs conservation at a very large scale !
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* Photograph is taken in catchment of Mushi dam towards west of Pune.
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