Habitat Distribution Modelling for Reintroduction of Endangered Medicinal Plants - Ephedra gerardiana, Lilium polyphyllum, Crepidium acuminatum, Pittosporum eriocarpum and Skimmia anquetilia in India

Pragya Sourabh, Julie Thakur, Priti -, Prabha Sharma, Prem L. Uniyal, Arun K. Pandey


The populations of Crepidium acuminatum, Ephedra gerardiana, Lilium polyphyllum, Pittosporum eriocarpum and Skimmia anquetilia have been shrinking in their natural habitats due to habitat destruction, over harvesting for medicinal purposes and increased human interference such as conversion of forest areas in agricultural land, and urbanization. In order to improve the conservation status of species, potential areas and habitats for reintroduction, were predicted using Maximum Entropy (Maxent) distribution modelling algorithm. The model was developed using 112 species occurrence data and Worldclim bioclimatic variables. Jackknife test was used to evaluate the importance of the environmental variables for predictive modelling. Based on our studies, the most suitable habitat for these endangered species is predicted in Western Himalayas. Precipitation of the driest quarter has played an important role in the potential habitat distribution of L. polyphyllum, P. eriocarpum and S. anquetilia which are largely affected by precipitation variables whereas mean diurnal range was the strongest predictor for the distribution of C. acuminatum. Output of the maxent model and field surveys has revealed that most suitable natural habitats for introduction of C. acuminatum, L. polyphyllum, P. eriocarpum and S. anquetilia are Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, whereas it is Kashmir Himalaya, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand for E. gerardiana.


Conservation; Ecological Niche Modelling; Endangered Taxa; Maxent; Restoration.


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