The present study was conducted in Cherrapunji plateau covering an area of 792 sq km to assess the conservation significance of the area. It is one of the wettest places on earth with an average rainfall of 11,309 mm. The vegetation of the area may be classified as subtropical broad leaved forest. However, the dominant land use of the area is non forest or degraded grassland (64.2%) followed by open forest (19.4%) and dense forest (16.4%). The area has been degraded to a large extent due to a number of human activities and many previously forested slopes are now grasslands. Most of the forests are in inaccessible areas or in the form of patches preserved by the local people due to socio-religious practices. These remnant patches are rich in plant diversity. A preliminary investigation of rare and threatened plant species reveals the presence of 137 species belonging to 95 genera and 47 families. Human activities coupled by high rainfall have been attributed as the main factors responsible for the loss of biodiversity. An attempt has also been made to evolve effective strategies for conservation and management of plant diversity of the area.
Keywords Plant diversity, rare, endemic, threatened, conservation, Cherrapunji.