The diversity profile of pepper and banana based high range home gardens in Kerala
Kerala, renowned for its rich biodiversity, is endowed with home garden based agroecosystems which act as a reservoir to satisfy the escalating food, nutritional and economic demands of the people. The home gardens on the high range area are of typical, with complex biodiversity profile, peculiar ecological and edaphic factors. In this context, the overriding objective of the present study was to identify and analyze the diversity profile of the high range home gardens and also to compare the species diversity of different crop based home gardens in the high range area. The results of diversity index using Shannon and Weaners diversity index revealed that the total diversity (H’t) of the home garden was high (H’t=4.443 and H’t=5.907) in ‘pepper and banana’-based home gardens respectively, however the mean total biodiversity index (H’m) that could be considered as the real measure of biodiversity was (H’m=1.481 and H’m=1.969) which indicated that high range home gardens that was once considered to mimic the forest ecosystems with high biodiversity, is now attributing declining trends in diversity profile. However, the crop abundance profile disclosed that the high-value crops viz., spices and plantation crops dominated the home gardens of high range areas which subjugated the diversity of vegetables and tubers which act as the pillars of food security.
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