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Goswami et al. 21-27 NeBIO (2010) Vol.


Studies on the Physico-Chemical characteristics, Macrophyte Diversity and

their Economic Prospect in Rajmata Dighi: A wetland in Cooch Behar District,
West Bengal, India
1 2 3
Gopal Goswami , Sudin Pal and Debnath Palit
New Jalpaiguri Railway Colony High School, P.O. Bhaktinagar, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
P.G. Department of Conservation Biology, Durgapur Government College, Burdwan University,
West Bengal
Department of Botany, Durgapur Government College, Durgapur, West Bengal
Author for correspondence:
© NECEER, Imphal


The present investigation concerns the seasonal change of macrophytes diversity and
physico-chemical characteristic of water and soil in Rajmata wetland, Cooch Behar,
West Bengal. It also encompass with the economic prospect of wetland associated
macrophytes. Diversity indices of 48 plant species and the regulatory effects of the 10
physico-chemical parameters of water and soil on the plant diversity were assessed.
The macrophytes diversity, richness and evenness were high in monsoon but the
dominancy was high in the months of mid summer and mid winter because very few
species tolerate that adverse condition i.e., high cold and high hot condition. From the
Euclidean distance of seasonal variation of macrophytes diversity and physico-chemical
parameters of soil and water it was revealed that the wetland plants diversity were
changed with the seasonal i.e. premonsoon, monsoon and postmonsoon changes of
physico-chemical parameters.

KEY WORDS: Macrophyte diversity, physico-chemical characteristics, Rajmata

wetland, Diversity indices, Eucladian distance.

Since the wetland is considered a transitional area angiosperms and the number of endemic species
between land and water Smith (1980) aptly (13%) is very high being second to South America.
described it as a half-way world between terrestrial Cook’s work (1996) on vascular plants found in the
and aquatic ecosystems. It is largely dominated by permanent and seasonal fresh water wetlands in the
water and has special type of flora and fauna, which subcontinent of India is noteworthy. According to
usually undergo time scheduled characteristic Mitsch & Gosselink (1986) wetlands support
changes from hydric to mesic types. Wetlands are vegetation adapted to the wet conditions (hydro-
well known for high diversity in class, composition phytes) and conversely is characterized by an
and four broad categories of functions viz. physical/ absence of flood intolerant vegetation. Wetland also
hydrological, chemical, biological and socio- harbour plants with extremely modified morpho-
economic (Williams,1990). Wetland supports plant logy, physiology and biochemistry, often endemic to
species intermediate between true aquatic and wet sites and tolerant to some degree of soil anoxia
terrestrial habitats (Banerjee & Venu, 1994). The (Bhagat, 1992). Several abiotic factors affect the
work on hydrophytes of Bangladesh by Khan & occurrence and growth of macrophytes, such as
Mahbuba (1987) and Srilanka by De Thabrew water quality (Mathew et al., 2002), sediment
(1983) are also very important particularly in Indian properties (Kim et al., 2001), temperature and
subcontinent since no less than 470 aquatic species fluctuations in water levels (Ellery et al., 2003). On
of flowering plants occurring Indian subcontinent, the other hand the dynamics of organic matter in
which is about half of the world’s known aquatic wetland sediments, closely related to biogeo-