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Saslis-Lagoudakis C.H.,University of Reading | Saslis-Lagoudakis C.H.,Imperial College London | Saslis-Lagoudakis C.H.,Australian National University | Hawkins J.A.,University of Reading | And 6 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Traditional knowledge is influenced by ancestry, inter-cultural diffusion and interaction with the natural environment. It is problematic to assess the contributions of these influences independently because closely related ethnic groups may also be geographically close, exposed to similar environments and able to exchange knowledge readily. Medicinal plant use is one of the most important components of traditional knowledge, since plants provide healthcare for up to 80% of the world's population. Here, we assess the significance of ancestry, geographical proximity of cultures and the environment in determining medicinal plant use for 12 ethnic groups in Nepal. Incorporating phylogenetic information to account for plant evolutionary relatedness, we calculate pairwise distances that describe differences in the ethnic groups' medicinal floras and floristic environments. We also determine linguistic relatedness and geographical separation for all pairs of ethnic groups. We show that medicinal uses are most similar when cultures are found in similar floristic environments. The correlation between medicinal flora and floristic environment was positive and strongly significant, in contrast to the effects of shared ancestry and geographical proximity. These findings demonstrate the importance of adaptation to local environments, even at small spatial scale, in shaping traditional knowledge during human cultural evolution. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Poudel R.C.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | Poudel R.C.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Moller M.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | Gao L.-M.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Despite the availability of several studies to clarify taxonomic problems on the highly threatened yews of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) and adjacent regions, the total number of species and their exact distribution ranges remains controversial. We explored the use of comprehensive sets of morphological, molecular and climatic data to clarify taxonomy and distributions of yews in this region. Methodology/Principal Findings: A total of 743 samples from 46 populations of wild yew and 47 representative herbarium specimens were analyzed. Principle component analyses on 27 morphological characters and 15 bioclimatic variables plus altitude and maximum parsimony analysis on molecular ITS and trnL-F sequences indicated the existence of three distinct species occurring in different ecological (climatic) and altitudinal gradients along the HKH and adjacent regions Taxus contorta from eastern Afghanistan to the eastern end of Central Nepal, T. wallichiana from the western end of Central Nepal to Northwest China, and the first report of the South China low to mid-elevation species T. mairei in Nepal, Bhutan, Northeast India, Myanmar and South Vietnam. Conclusion/Significance: The detailed sampling and combination of different data sets allowed us to identify three clearly delineated species and their precise distribution ranges in the HKH and adjacent regions, which showed no overlap or no distinct hybrid zone. This might be due to differences in the ecological (climatic) requirements of the species. The analyses further provided the selection of diagnostic morphological characters for the identification of yews occurring in the HKH and adjacent regions. Our work demonstrates that extensive sampling combined with the analysis of diverse data sets can reliably address the taxonomy of morphologically challenging plant taxa. © 2012 Poudel et al.


Maren I.E.,University of Bergen | Bhattarai K.R.,National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories | Chaudhary R.P.,Tribhuvan University
Environmental Conservation | Year: 2014

In developing countries, the landscape surrounding agricultural land is important for maintaining biodiversity and providing ecosystem services. Forests provide a full suite of goods and services to subsistence farmers in the Himalayan agro-ecological system. The effects of biomass outtake on woody species richness and composition were analysed in forests under communal and government management. Interviews on forest use and perception of forest condition and ecosystem service delivery were conducted in farmer households bordering the forests. Significantly more woody species were found in the community managed forests. Species richness was negatively correlated with walking distance from the nearest village and increasing levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Community forests were generally less degraded than government managed forests, giving support to common pool resource management. Woody vegetation represented a crucial source of fuelwood, timber, fodder, and edible, aromatic and medicinal plants. Using a multidisciplinary framework to analyse ecosystem integrity and ecosystem service delivery enabled a finer understanding of these complex agro-ecological systems, giving support to evidence-based management and conservation planning for the future. Copyright © 2013 Foundation for Environmental Conservation.


Subedi S.C.,Florida International University | Bhattarai K.R.,National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories | Chauudhary R.P.,Tribhuvan University
Journal of Mountain Science | Year: 2015

This study aims to find the altitudinal distribution pattern of vascular plant species reported from high mountain of Nepal (Manang) along the whole Himalayan elevation gradient, and evaluate their fate against climate change. Data was gathered from multiple sources, field investigations, literatures, and herbarium specimens. Altogether, 303 vascular plant species were reported from Manang. We used a published data to calculate distribution range of each species by interpolating between its upper and lower elevation limits. The relationship between elevation and species richness is elucidated by generalized linear model. The consequence of global warming upon Manang’s vascular plant species was estimated based on projected temperature change for next century and adiabatic lapse rate along the elevation gradient of the Himalayas. The vascular plant species richness has a unimodel relationship with elevation along the whole elevation gradient of Nepal as well as in three biogeographical regions of Nepal. Vascular plants of Manang are found distributed from low land Terai to high alpine regions of Nepal and their elevation distribution range varies from 200 to 4700 m. Out of 303 vascular plants of Manang, only seven species might be affected if temperature increase by 1.5°C, whereas at least 70 species will be affected with Received: 3 March 2015 Accepted: 17 July 2015 5°C temperature increased. However, the majority of species (233 species) have wider distribution range (> 1000 m) and more than 5°C temperature tolerance range, thus they are likely to be less affected from global warming by the end of 21st century. © 2015, Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Poudel R.C.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | Poudel R.C.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Moller M.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | Liu J.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | And 3 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2014

Aim: To assess patterns of genetic variation and levels of diversity in the endangered allopatrically distributed Taxus contorta, T. mairei and T. wallichiana in highly fragmented and degraded habitats of the Himalayas. Location: Central Himalaya, particularly the area within the political boundary of Nepal and SW Xizang, China. Methods: We used a multidisciplinary approach combining a transect study, population genetic analyses based on chloroplast DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellite data, and ecological modelling to estimate the size-class structure, genetic diversity and differentiation of populations and understand the potential fate of yew populations in the face of rapidly degrading habitats and abrupt climate change. Results: For all three species, the flat regression slopes of the size-class distributions (SCD), and high permutation index values indicate unstable population structure with lower recruitment rates. The chloroplast and nuclear microsatellite data further reveal low genetic diversity, significant population differentiation and high inbreeding for yew species of this region. We identified two strong barriers of genetic discontinuities, where the presence of spatially different ecological environments caused an allopatric distribution of the species. The ecological model projection for the year 2080 forecasted a substantial decrease in size of suitable areas and a range shift towards the north. Main conclusions: The spatial distribution of the genetic variation and diversity within and among the populations of each yew species was largely shaped by their peripheral position in their respective ranges, differences in their evolutionary histories, and the periodic and asynchronous climates experienced by the species, in addition to the severe impacts of anthropogenic activities. Several yew populations in Central Himalaya have already declined to sizes too small to be demographically sustainable. Improved conservation managements, both at the species and landscape levels, should be implemented for the protection of remnant populations. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


PubMed | Kyoto University, National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories and University of Tokyo
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Tree physiology | Year: 2016

This study investigated altitudinal changes in leaf-lamina hydraulic conductance (K


PubMed | University of Sydney, Massey University and National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories
Type: Journal Article | Journal: BMC ecology | Year: 2016

Nepal provides habitat for approximately 100-125 wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Although a small proportion of the world population of this species, this group is important for maintaining the genetic diversity of elephants and conservation of biodiversity in this region. Knowledge of foraging patterns of these animals, which is important for understanding their habitat requirements and for assessing their habitat condition, is lacking for the main areas populated by elephants in Nepal. This study investigates the feeding preferences of the Asian elephant in Parsa Wildlife Reserve (PWR) and Chitwan National Park (CNP), Nepal.Fifty-seven species of plants in 25 families were found to be eaten by Asian elephants, including 12 species of grasses, five shrubs, two climbers, one herb and 37 species of trees. The species that contributed the greatest proportion of the elephants diet were Spatholobus parviflorus (20.2%), Saccharum spontaneum (7.1%), Shorea robusta (6.3), Mallotus philippensis (5.7%), Garuga pinnata (4.3%). Saccharum bengalensis (4.2%), Cymbopogan spp (3.7%), Litsea monopetala (3.6) and Phoenix humilis (2.9%). The preference index (PI) showed that browsed species were preferred during the dry season, while browsed species and grasses were both important food sources during the rainy season. Elephants targeted leaves and twigs more than other parts of plants (P<0.05).This study presents useful information on foraging patterns and baseline data for elephant habitat management in the PWR and CNP in the south central region of Nepal.


Miyata K.,University of Tokyo | Ikeda H.,University of Tokyo | Nakaji M.,Tokyo Metroplitan University | Kanel D.R.,National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories | Terashima I.,University of Tokyo
Plant and Cell Physiology | Year: 2014

The extent of photoinhibition of PSII is determined by a balance between the rate of photodamage to PSII and that of repair of the damaged PSII. It has already been indicated that the rate constants of photodamage (kpi) and repair (krec) of the leaves differ depending on their growth light environment. However, there are no studies using plants in the field. We examined these rate constants and fluorescence parameters of several field-grown plants to determine inter-relationships between these values and the growth environment. The kpi values were strongly related to the excess energy, EY, of the puddle model and non-regulated energy dissipation, Y(NO), of the lake model, both multiplied by the photosynthetically active photon flux density (PPFD) level during the photoinhibitory treatment. In contrast, the krec values corrected against in situ air temperature were very strongly related to the daily PPFD level. The plants from the fields showed higher NPQ than the chamber-grown plants, probably because these field plants acclimated to stronger lightflecks than the averaged growth PPFD. Comparing chamber-grown plants and the field plants, we showed that kpi is determined by the incident light level and the photosynthetic capacities such as in situ rate of PSII electron transport and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) [e.g. Y(NO)×PPFD] and that krec is mostly determined by the growth light and temperature levels. © 2015 The Author 2015.


Taneda H.,University of Tokyo | Taneda H.,National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories | Watanabe-Taneda A.,University of Tokyo | Chhetry R.,University of Tokyo | Ikeda H.,University of Tokyo
Annals of Botany | Year: 2015

Background and Aims The epidermal surface of a flower petal is composed of convex cells covered with a structured cuticle, and the roughness of the surface is related to the wettability of the petal. If the surface remains wet for an excessive amount of time the attractiveness of the petal to floral visitors may be impaired, and adhesion of pathogens may be promoted. However, it remains unclear how the epidermal cells and structured cuticle contribute to surface wettability of a petal. Methods By considering the additive effects of the epidermal cells and structured cuticle on petal wettability, a thermodynamic model was developed to predict the wetting mode and contact angle of a water droplet at a minimum free energy. Quantitative relationships between petal wettability and the geometries of the epidermal cells and the structured cuticle were then estimated. Measurements of contact angles and anatomical traits of petals were made on seven herbaceous species commonly found in alpine habitats in eastern Nepal, and the measured wettability values were compared with those predicted by the model using the measured geometries of the epidermal cells and structured cuticles. Key Results The model indicated that surface wettability depends on the height and interval between cuticular steps, and on a height-to-width ratio for epidermal cells if a thick hydrophobic cuticle layer covers the surface. For a petal epidermis consisting of lenticular cells, a repellent surface results when the cuticular step height is greater than 0·85μm and the height-to-width ratio of the epidermal cells is greater than 0·3. For an epidermis consisting of papillate cells, a height-to-width ratio of greater than 1·1 produces a repellent surface. In contrast, if the surface is covered with a thin cuticle layer, the petal is highly wettable (hydrophilic) irrespective of the roughness of the surface. These predictions were supported by the measurements of petal wettability made on flowers of alpine species. Conclusions The results indicate that surface roughness caused by epidermal cells and a structured cuticle produces a wide range of petal wettability, and that this can be successfully modelled using a thermodynamic approach. © 2015 The Author.


Rajbhandari K.R.,G.P.O. Box 9446 | Bhatt G.D.,National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories | Chhetri R.,National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories
Journal of Japanese Botany | Year: 2015

Puccinellia himalaica Tzvel. (Poaceae) is reported as a new record for Nepal. This is the third species for the genus from Nepal.

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