Bryophyte diversity and community composition in the gap and non-gap areas of Chakrata forest range, Uttarakhand, India

, , ,

Research Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-021-00295-x
First Page: 251
Last Page: 257
Views: 880

Keywords: Diversity index, Environmental variables, Gap area, Bryophytes


The study presents the impact of canopy gaps on the diversity and distribution of bryophytes in a sub-temperate Himalayan forest through direct measurements of bryophyte species in plots. We recorded a total of 26 taxa of bryophytes in the present study. Bryophyte communities show a marked difference in terms of species associations in the gap and non-gap areas. While the number of species of bryophytes was more or less similar in the gap and non-gap areas, their composition varied greatly. Plagiomnium was represented by three congeneric species in the gap area and one species in the non-gap area. Fissidens was represented by three congeneric species in the non-gap area and one in the gap area. Based on importance value index (IVI), Plagiomnium cuspidatum (IVI = 65.13) and Fissidens geppii (IVI = 58.09) were dominant in the study area. Plagiomnium integrum and Fissidens sp. were frequently found growing near the wet rocks and streams, and Brachythecium buchananii formed the dominant cover on soil and rock surfaces. A high value of Margalef’s index (3.435) indicates the high species richness of bryophytes in the study area. Pielou’s Evenness index value (0.937) indicates the homogenous distribution of species. The study discusses the possible changes in the diversity of bryophytes in light of both natural and anthropogenic influenced habitat fragmentation in the Himalaya and explores the modelling of a relationship between bryophyte species-richness and environmental variables.

Diversity index, Environmental variables, Gap area, Bryophytes

*Get Access

(*Only SPR Members can get full access. Click Here to Apply and get access)



Acebey A, Gradstein SR, Krömer T (2003) Species richness and habitat diversification of bryophytes in submontane rain forest and fallows of Bolivia. J Trop Ecol 19:9–18.

Ah-Peng C, Chuah-Petiot M, Descamps-Julien B, Bardat J, Stamenoff P, Strasberg D (2007) Bryophyte diversity and distribution along an altitudinal gradient on a lava flow in La Réunion. Divers Distrib 13:654–662.

Alatalo JM, Jägerbrand AK, Molau U (2014) Climate change and climatic events: community-, functional- and species-level responses of bryophytes and lichens to constant, stepwise, and pulse experimental warming in an alpine tundra. Alp Bot 124:81–91.

Anonymous (2007) Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Vol. 27, bryophytes: moss, part 1. Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Oxford University Press, Oxford

Arruda Almeida Bd, Green AJ, Sebastián-González E, dos Anjos L (2018) Comparing species richness, functional diversity and functional composition of water bird communities along environmental gradients in the neotropics. PLoS ONE 13(7):e0200959.

Aude E, Ejrnæs R (2005) Bryophyte colonisation in experimental microcosms: the role of nutrients, defoliation and vascular vegetation. Oikos 109:323–330.

Bahuguna YM, Sanavar, Gairola S, Semwal DP, Uniyal PL (2014) Species diversity and composition of bryophytic vegetation in Garhwal Himalaya with special reference to Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS), Uttarakhand, India. Int J Ecol Environ Sci 40:75–85

Benavides JC, Alvaro J, Duque M, Duivenvoorden JF, Cleef AM (2006) Species richness and distribution of understory bryophytes in different forest types in Colombian Amazonia. J Bryol 28(3):182–189.

Brokaw NVL (1985) Gap-phase regeneration in a tropical forest. Ecology 66:682–687.

Bruun HH, Moen J, Virtanen R, Grytnes JA, Oksanen L, Angerbjörn A (2006) Effects of altitude and topography on species richness of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens in alpine communities. J Veg Sci 17(1):37–46.

Caners RT, Macdonald SE, Belland RJ (2013) Bryophyte assemblage structure after partial harvesting in boreal mixedwood forest depends on residual canopy abundance partial harvesting in boreal mixedwood forest depends on residual canopy abundance and composition. For Ecol Manag 289:489–500.

Chopra RS (1975) Taxonomy of Indian mosses: an introduction. CSIR, New Delhi

Dhyani S, Maikhuri RK, Rao KS (2018) Canopy gap phase regeneration: a study in moist temperate forests of Central Himalayas, India. Sustainable for 1(4):1–16.

Dovčiak M, Halpern CB, Saracco JF, Evans SA, Liguori DA (2006) Persistence of ground-layer bryophytes in a structural retention experiment: initial effects of level ground-layer bryophytes in a structural retention experiment: initial effects of level and pattern of overstory retention. Can J for Res 36:3039–3052.

Gangulee HC (1969–1980) Mosses of Eastern India and adjacent regions, vol 3. Book and Allied Ltd, Calcutta

Gignac LD (2001) Bryophytes as indicators of climate change. Bryologist 104:410–420

Götzenberger L, de Bello F, Bråthen KA, Davison J, Dubuis A, Guisan A, Leps J, Lindborg R, Moora M, Partel M, Pellissier L, Pottier J, Vittoz P, Zobel K, Zobel M (2012) Ecological assembly rules in plant communities: approaches, patterns and prospects. Biol Rev 87(1):111–127.

Heegaard E, Vandvik V (2004) Climate change affects the outcome of competitive interactions: an application of principal response curves. Oecologia 139:459–466.

Ingerpuu N, Kupper T, Vellak K, Kupper P, Sober J, Tullus A, Zobel M, Liira J (2019) Response of bryophytes to afforestation, increase of air humidity, and enrichment of soil diaspore bank. For Ecol Manag 432:64–72.

Jiang Y, Liu X, Reixuan T, Shao X (2011) Field-sampling methods for investigating ground-bryophyte populations in forest vegetation. Pol J Ecol 59(2):317–327

Kimmerer RW (2005) Patterns of dispersal and establishment of bryophytes colonizing natural and experimental treefall mounds in northern hardwood forests. Bryologist 108:391–401.[0391:PODAEO]2.0.CO;2

Kimmerer RW, Young CC (1996) Effect of gap size and regeneration niche on species coexistence in bryophyte communities. Bull Torrey Bot Club 123:16–24.

Lassau SC, Hochuli DF, Cassis G, Reid CAM (2005) Effects on habitat complexity on forest beetle diversity: do functional groups respond consistently? Divers Distrib 11:73–82.

Levin SA (1992) The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73:1943–1967.

Lomolino MV (2001) Elevation gradients of species- density: historical and prospective views. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 10:3–13.

Mandl NA, Kessler M, Gradstein SR (2009) Effects of environmental heterogeneity on species diversity and composition of terrestrial bryophyte assemblages in tropical montane forests of southern Ecuador. Plant Ecol Divers 2(3):313–321.

Mandl NA, Lehnert M, Kessler M, Gradstein SR (2010) A comparison of alpha and beta diversity patterns of ferns, bryophytes and macrolichens in tropical montane forests of southern Ecuador. Biodivers Conserv 19(8):2359–2369.

McCune B, Grace JB, Urban DL (2002) Analysis of ecological communities, vol 28. MjM Software Design, Gleneden Beach

Muller J, Boch S, Prati D, Socher SA, Pommer U, Hessenmoller D, Schall P, Schulze ED, Fischer M (2019) Effects of forest management on bryophyte species richness in central European forests. For Ecol Manag 432:850–859.

Muscolo A, Bagnato S, Sidari M, Mercurio R (2014) A review of the roles of forest canopy gaps. J for Res 25(4):725–736.

Paquette M, Boudreault C, Fenton N, Pothier D, Bergeron Y (2016) Bryophyte species assemblages in fire and clear-cut origin boreal forests. For Ecol Manag 359:99–108.

Pharo EJ, Beattie AJ (2002) The association between substrate variability and bryophyte and lichen diversity in eastern Australian forests. Bryologist 105:11–26.[0011:TABSVA]2.0.CO;2

Raabe S, Müller J, Manthey M, Dürhammer O, Teuber U, Göötlein A, Förster B, Brandl R, Bässler C (2010) Drivers of bryophyte diversity allow implications for forest management with a focus on climate change. For Ecol Manag 260:1956–1964.

Rawat VS, Chandra J (2014) Vegetation diversity analysis across different habitats in Garhwal Himalaya. J Bot.

Semwal DP, Uniyal PL, Bhatt AB (2010) Structure, composition and dominance-diversity relations in three forest types of a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Central Himalaya, India. Not Sci Biol 2(3):128–132.

Slack NG (1990) Bryophytes and ecological niche theory. Bot J Linn Soc 104(1–3):187–213.

Sun SQ, Wu YH, Wang GX, Zhou J, Yu D, Bing HJ, Luo J (2013) Bryophyte species richness and composition along an altitudinal gradient in Gongga Mountain, China. PLoS ONE 8(3):e58131.

Tullus T, Tishler M, Rosenvald R, Tullus A, Lutter R, Tullus H (2019) Early responses of vascular plant and bryophyte communities to uniform shelter wood cutting in hemiboreal Scots pine forests. For Ecol Manag 440:70–78.

Vanderpoorten A, Engels P (2003) Patterns of bryophyte diversity and rarity at a regional scale. Biodivers Conserv 12:545–553.

Vitt DH, Finnegan L, House M (2019) Terrestrial bryophyte and lichen responses to canopy opening in pine-moss-lichen forests. Forests 10(3):233–247.

White PS, Pickett STA (1985) Natural disturbance and patch dynamics: an introduction. In: Pickett STA, White PS (eds) The Ecology of Natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 3–13

Whittaker RJ, Willis KJ, Field R (2001) Scale and species richness: towards a general, hierarchical theory of species diversity. J Biogeogr 28:453–470.



Authors thank the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Science and Research Engineering Board (SERB), New Delhi, for providing the financial aid (EMR/2016/007962). We are grateful to the Chief Conservator of Forest, Uttarakhand, for providing the necessary permission to conduct this study in Chakrata Hills.

Author Information

Dhyani Anshul
Department of Botany, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
Baishya Ratul
Department of Botany, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Uniyal P. L.
Department of Botany, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Rao K. S.
Department of Botany, University of Delhi, Delhi, India