Floral distributions at municipal waste dumpsites in relation to their soil properties: Identification of adaptive plants
A field study was conducted at three, 5 to 20 years old municipal waste dumpsites in Allahabad to identify some adaptive plant communities naturally growing on them. Ecological parameters such as Important Value index, Whitfold’s index and Species Diversity Indices were used to understand the occurrence, distribution pattern of plant communities and effect of these waste accumulations on species diversity as they become older. The pH, conductivity, texture, moisture content, water holding capacity, bulk density, organic matter, calcium and magnesium were analyzed in dumpsite soils. A comparative study of flora and soils was also done in adjoining areas unaffected by waste dumping. Soils of dumpsites were slightly alkaline ranging from 6.42 ± 0.16 to 6.99±0.19, with high organic matter (1.61±0.12% to 2.55±0.19%). Species diversity was greater on waste accumulations (SDI- 3.2 to 6.86) as compared to adjoining areas (SDI- 4.4 to 5.2). Whiltfold’s index ranged from 0.036 - 0.243, 0.024 - 0.360 and 0.016 - 3.568 at Alopibag, Naini and Phaphamau dumpsite respectively while it ranged from 0.021 - 0.091, 0.020 - 0.097 and 0.028 - 0.105 respectively at the adjoining areas of each dumpsite indicating the prevalence of contagious distribution at dumpsites. Among 34 plant species investigated on these sites, 13 species were identified as highly adaptive to these waste dump- sites. Nepeta hindostana (IVI-112.57); Croton bon-Plandianum (IVI-76.4); Cassia tora (IVI-51.99); Ricinus Communis (IVI- 34.37); Achyranthes aspera (IVI-34.32); Calotropis procera (IVI-39.08) and Amaranthus spinosus (IVI-23.19) are some of the pioneer adaptive plants of these dumpsites. The study may prove significant in selecting appropriate plant species for further phytoremediation studies under control conditions and will be helpful in understanding the role of soil properties in vegetation establishment and development on such sites.