Priority Areas for Conservation in Northeast India: A Case Study in Meghalaya Based on Plant Species Diversity and Endemism

Krishna Upadhaya, Namita Thapa, N. John Lakadong, Saroj Kanta Barik, Kiranmay Sarma


For setting up priority sites for conservation, information on the distribution of species in the area is required. The present study provides first-hand information on the distribution of threatened and endemic species in Meghalaya, northeast India, which is a part of Indo-Burma hotspot. Distribution of species in different habitats reveals that primary forests are the main habitat of threatened and endemic species. The number of threatened species was high at low and medium-high altitude areas, whereas, endemic species showed high concentration at medium and medium-high altitude areas. Though the current protected area in the state is serving an important role in plant diversity conservation, it is inadequate because of smaller area and being restricted at low-medium altitude. High altitude areas in Meghalaya are poorly represented by protected category and a large number of threatened and endemic species occur in areas located outside the existing protected areas. Eleven priority sites are identified that contain 66 (80%) threatened and 274 (85%) endemic species, where conservation efforts need to be focused at the earliest. Closer monitoring of plant diversity including the populations of endemic and threatened species is suggested for effective conservation of such species.


Biodiversity Conservation; Endemic Species; Protected Areas; Threatened Species; Northeast India


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