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INTRODUCTION 1.1 The study areaChitral,the largest district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa having 14850 k , is locatedin the extreme North-East of the province and lies between 71° 11′ 32″ to73° 51′ 34″ E and 35 15′  06″to 36° 55? 32″ N. Area wise, this district occupied 19.93% of the provincewith a sole geographical position. Its borders are connected with Ghizer, Northernareas of Pakistan on its Eastern side on south it is connected with Swat andDir districts, by West the district is linked with Afghanistan (Nooristan), onits North-Western part it is connected with Central Asia (Tajikistan) viaWakhan corridor (Ali & Qaisar, 2009).

1.1.1 Topography Chitral issituated in the base of highest peak of Hindukush range i.e. the Terichmir. Thedistrict is divided into several valleys but Mastuj valley is the largestvalley extends up to Broghil at northern part.

The lower part of Chitral i.e.Arandu start from the southern tip of Afghan border, (Pervez, 2014).

Chitral is locatedin the wide range of altitude which starts with the elevation of 1127.76 m to7787.64 m (In Terichmir peak). The landscape of Chitral not only enhance thebeauty of the area but also play an important role for biodiversity i.e. floraand fauna (Rafiq & Ullah, 2007). The three famousmountain ranges surrounded the district i.e.

Hindukush range in North-Westbordering with Afghanistan, Hindu Raj range in South-East and Karakoram rangesandwiched between Hindukush and Hindu Raj in Shandoor area (Ali & Qaisar, 2009).Chitralis counted among the localities with highest peaks in the world about 40mountains having more than 6,100 ft., of elevation surrounds the district.Because of its high elevation there are only two passes leads to Chitral fortransportation i.

e. Lowari Pass (10230 ft.) connect Chitral to Dir District atsouthern part and Shandoor top (12,200 ft.

) connecting Chitral to Gilgit butboth passes turn into unreachable during winter season due to snowfall. Howevermany other (non transportable) passes are also present namely Darkot pass(between Chitral and Ghizer), Arandu pass (between Pakistan and Afghanistan),Broghol pass (between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Wakhan corridor), Dorah pass(between Pakistan and Afghanistan), Darkot pass (between Chitral and Ghizer)and Thoi and Zagaran passes between Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan (Anon., March10, 2017). 1.1.2    AdministrationAdministratively, Chitralis divided into two Tehsils i.e. Chitral and Mastuj having 24 union councils (Anon.

,March 10, 2017). Union councils of Chitral are;  Ayun, Broze, Koh, Denin, Chitral-I,Chitral-II, Arandu, Asherat, Drosh-I, Drosh-II, Shishikoh, Karimabad, Lotkuhand Shoghore in tehsil Chitral while in tehsil Mastuj union councils are  Charun, Laspur, Mastuj, Yarkhoon, Kosht,Ovir, Mulkoh, Terich, Khot and Shagram (Anon.,2015).Population of Chitral is about 320,000individuals. The area is rich in cultural point of view where the nativepeoples inhabited since 4,000 years ago. Fourteen local languages are spoken inthe area (Hadi & Ibrar, 2014).

About88 % of the population inhabited in rural areas, while 12 % population isliving in urbanized environment (Anon., 2015).1.1.3    PopulationAccording to the census 2017 the population of Chitral is447,362, maleoccupied 225,846 while female are 221,515 which are 50.

5% and 49.5%respectively. Total 89.9% of the population is living in rural areas while10.1% living in urbanized areas (Anon.,December 31, 2017).  1.1.

4    Climate:On the base of ecologicalzones the area is divided into three main regions i.e. Dry temperate zone withthe elevation of 1000 m to 2000 m, Sub-Alpine zone from 2000 m to 3500 m andalpine zone from the elevation of more than 3500 m to 4800 m (Ali, 2009). Chitral has dryclimate in the winter and during which temperature drops even into ­10 °C, snowfall reaches up to two feet some time at most of the town places of Chitral,But at high altitude the snow fall can reach into 70 feet during a harshwinter. Chitral is situated under the shadow of high mountains thereforemoonsoon is not precipitating in Chitral.

Chitral town receives 500 mm rainfallmainly in spring and winter. Most of the upper Chitral receives 200 mm snowfall in winter (Anon., 2015).1.

1.5    HydrologyRiversystem of Chitral is also an important source for agro-economical purposes, theoriginating point of the river is Qarumbura Lake at its northern part and thebiggest glacier of Chitral, Chianter Glacier. The river flows towards its southpassing through Yarkhun valley hence the river is named as Yarkhun River thanit became Mastuj river in Mastuj where a small river also get there from Laspurvalley then alternatively Torkhow river joined it (at Bumbagh) and then afterat Gankorini (an area just few mile away from Chitral town) Lotkuh river meetup and both now called as Chitral river. The river flows into Afghanistan andthen again in Pakistan after being Kabul River (Ali,2009).

The source of drinking and irrigation water is the snow depositionsduring winter, meeting 90 percent of current needs. Almost every village inChitral is served by present of surrounding mountains from where water fallsinto the village via small irrigation channels constructed by the localinhabitant by their own source (Anon., 2015). 1.1.5    Forestand Agriculture20 percent of thelandscape is covered by pasture and forest, 76 % of the area is consist ofrocks, mountains and glaciers, In 2001 fisheries department was merged intoAgriculture Department at the district level, most of the local peoplestraditionally practiced agriculture specially on grain production and livestockrearing (Anon., 2015).

Theforest area of Chitral District has estimated about 41,949 hectors. The mainexploitation of the forest is for fuel wood and building constructions. Theforest is under the monitoring of Forest Department District Chitral, never theless forest is used by the local community efficiently, it is estimated that 25to 25000 metric tons forest used for fuel purposes per year and about 13% amongthe local peoples used forest as the main source of their income and more than80 % people dependant on forest indirectly (Decker,1992). 1.2     Introductionto Junipers1.2.1    Morphologyand HabitatJuniperus L. is the most diverse genera of conifers, its phylogenetic studiesshows that the Juniperus is the mostadvance coniferous genera (Adams, 2014).

Thegenus is monophyletic, Juniperus L.is divided into two sections i.e. Juniperus and Sabina, and three subsectionsi.e.

Juniperus, Oxycedrus and Caryocedrus, but species belong to which sectionis unclear and confusing (Guvendiren, 2015). Total ofseventy (70) species yet explored from the world (Adams, 2008). There are fivespecies found in Pakistan as well. The junipers have an open canopy and havingthe potential to reach up to height of 20 m and ability to grow on shallow andstony soil in harsh environmental conditions (Sarangzaiet al.

, 2012). Junipers are colonizedin severe environmental conditions like in rocks, hilly areas and droughtnutrients poor soil. Depression of others plants and acidic soil conditions maynot affect the growth of junipers because of their physio-morphologicalcharacteristics. These are considerably important to prevent soil erosion dueto its deep and well developed root system especially on a nutrients poor soilwhere others plants cannot grow and soil susceptible to erosion (Zangiabadiet al.

,2012).The junipers have the ability to grow on extensive range ofelevation from plain at sea level to 3,600 m (Tavankar,2015). Juniperuscommunis is one of the important species in UK Biodiversity Action Plan, dueto its highly exploitation level, population degradation and lack ofregeneration in its habitat and also because the juniper is one among threenative conifer of United Kingdom (Broome, 2003).

The reproductive parts of junipers are fruits or barries, seeds dispersaloccurs through birds and other small rudents. Shapes of the cones are variedfrom spherical, ovaid and berrylike (Guvendiren, 2015). Junipers tree hasthe abality to protect water shed and exposed soil, junipers is very durabledue to its seasoned heartwood and strongly encouraged in both indoor andoutdoor construction (Couralet et al.,2010).Juniperuscommunis often called as common juniper, one of the importantspecies of Juniperus, it is scentedand curative shrub. It is wild in most of the forest. Alcohol can be preparedwith the help of extraction of oil of this species as well as nonalcoholic drinks.

Barries, foliage and essential oil are used in folk medicines to cure manydiseases (Mastelic et al., 2000). Largestjuniper reserves of the worldis found in California, United States of America, the reserved refer as livingfossils due to 4,000 to 5,000 estimated age of some species of Juniperus. The forest remains a sourceof recreational activities for the peoples around the world (Achakzai at al.,2016). Natural forests of junipers are habitat of epiphyticmicro flora and provide a complex habitat for micro organisms and othercommunities. Survival and regeneration of micro flora on junipers depends uponthe favorable biotic and a biotic conditions (Alamri, 2008).

Previousstudies show that re-growth of junipers is very slow and in grazing area it maybe difficult to regenerate. The age structure and seed characteristics ofjunipers have been studied in the northwest of Iran and reported that theextinction risk of junipers are less because of high seed production capability.It is also reported that 13% of seeds were damaged due to grazing of both wildand domestic animals but good quality of seeds production can maintain thenatural regeneration of junipers. Junipers are vulnerable for deforestationboth in arid and semi arid regions due to its best timber and fuel wood character (Tavankar, 2015).Juniperus communis has great importance on ecological point ofview as different endemic flora and fauna are associated with this plant speciesin a co-existence as well as because of its strong soil holding capability(Garcia et al., 1999).1.

2.2    Distributionand Magnitude in the WorldJuniperus L. isthe genus of Cupressaceae family, comprising 70 species distributed in the worldfrom sea level to tree linen (Adams, 2008). Junipers are distributedin North America, Europe, North Africa, West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia (Sarangzaiet al., 2012).

They are found from northernhemisphere to Southern Africa (Tavankar, 2015). Juniperus procera distributed Hungary in the west, in Russia, Chinaand Myanmar, eastern Africa through Arabia and southern Africa, the populationextended to Nubian Hills in southern Egypt all east African plateau westernpart of the Nile to Malawi and Zimbabwe. Same species also distributed inSudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Zaire, Uganda, Tanzania andZimbabwe. Most of their distribution range is 1750–2500 m of elevation (Couralet etal., 2010).Juniper and Pinonwoodland currently occupied about 74 million acre in the western United Statesi.e. Central and Eastern Oregon, North Eastern California, Southwestern Idahoand northeastern Nevada (Miller et al.

, 2005). The junipers are nativeto Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritera, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia,Sodan, Yemen, and exotic to Australia, India and South Africa (Orwa et al., 2009).Junipersare among the basic constituetns of the woodland of both arid and semi arid regionsof Central Asia, East Africa and Middle East (Matwani, 2011). Juniperus proceraforests were abundant in the highlands of Ethiopia once covered about 0.2million hectares, it was the largest juniper forests in the continent of AfricaIn 1955 which was some of three percent of the total forest area of Ethiopia. Deforestation,timber cutting and other utilization caused much reduction in the magnitude offorest in the region (Couralet et al.

, 2010).In Turkey junipers occupiedabout more than 1.2 million ha and represented by 6 Juniperus species namely Juniperusoxycedrus L. (Prickly ceder), J.phoenicea, J.sabina, J.communis, J. foetidissima and J.

excelsa. The J. excelsa frequently distributed in the eastern Mediterranean,North-Eastern Greece and Southern Bulgaria across Turkey to Syria, Lebanon andCaucasus between the altitudinal range of 1000 to 2000 m. Sub specie of J.

excelsa subsp. polycarpos found around the Caspian Sea into Afghanistan,Pakistan, Kirgizstan and Himachal Pradesh (India), Great desert plateaus inIran and Jalal-al-Akhdarin Oman (Ozkan et al., 2010).Juniperus communis is cosmoplitant indistribution but after anthropogenic distruction specially after burning  the ability to regrowth become extremely slowor none (Garcia et al., 1999; Cartan& Gosling, 2013).Elevation has a great impotance in the life cycle of junipersas it has been studied that the junipers in the altidunal range of 1850 m to2850 m shows poor regeneration potential, poor seeds and cones formation and showsdie-back,  while higher than 2800m ofaltitude the junipers shows healthy way of life as it was studied in AsirHighland of Saudi Arabia (Fisher, 1997).

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