Included here is Baluchistan. It includes part of southeastern Iran, western Pakistan, and southwestern Afghanistan. In topographic terms it includes the eastern outskirts of the Iranian Uplands to the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, the Takht-i-Sulaiman Massif (the so-called Throne of Soloman), the Quetta-Pushin Plateau and the Taba Kakar Hills. It is generally mountainous, cut through with deserts and barren plains.

Northern Baluchistanian Montane Juniper Woodland

Open juniper woodlands are found throughout the montane zones of northern Baluchistan at altitudes ranging from 1500-2000 m and including the Sulaiman Range are believed to be the most extensive existing area of juniper woodland in the world. It can be found as far north as the eastern Hindu Kush and the Himalayan Mountains. The main tree species depending on location include Juniperus macropoda (J. excels), J. semiglobosa, and J. seravschanica together with Lonicera caprifoliaceae, L. hypoleuca, Pistachia atlantica, P. khinjuk, Prunus eburea and P. rosaceae. Grasses and shrubs such as Amygdalus communis, A. kuramica and Fraxinus xanthoxyloides largely dominate the ground layer. In the transition zone to alpine vegetation Olea cuspidata and the shrub Dodonaea viscos canbecome a feature of these woodlands. Many of these xeric woodlands appear to be extremely ancient - some specimens of Juniperus macropoda have been dated at 2500 years old. Some of the older trees take on weird shapes with gnarled and twisted branches and their bark can become extremely thick. Despite their slow growth they can eventually reach heights of over 20 m.

The juniper woodland of Khalifat near Ziarat is one of the largest. Here the main species is Juniperus macropoda, but several different sub-association or communities have been recognized most of which have been affected to varying degrees by grazing. The Juniperus macropoda-Ephedra nebrodensis community is confined to bare rocky cliffs composed of mixtures of sand stone and limestone. The upper layer is exclusively dominated by Juniperus macropoda, while the second layer includes small trees and shrubs such as Caragana ambigua, Daphne oleoides, Prunus amygdalus and the endemic or near endemic Berberis baluchistanica (Berberidaceae). At ground level there are dwarf shrubs like Acantholimon polystachyum, Thymus serpylum, perennial herbs like Bupleurum falcatum, Cymbopogon jwarancusa, Dianthus annulatum, Echinops griffithianus, Othonnopsis intermedia, Verbacscum erianthum, Viola kunawurensis, and annuals like Bromus japonicus, Centaurea depressa, Cousinia onopordioides, Eremurus aucherianus, Hedysarum wrightianum and Onosma hookeri. The juniperus macropoda-Perowskia abrotanoides community is confined to moist areas such as along periodically dry streambeds. The upper storey is again largely dominated by Juniperus macropoda but also includes occasional Fraxinus xanthoxyloides. Small trees and shrubs in the second storey include Caragana ambigua, Cotoneaster nummularia, Daphne oleoides and Lonicera quinquelocularis. At ground level the perennial herb Perowskia abrotanoides dominates while others include woody perennials like Acantholimon munroanum, Artemisia maritima, Lactuca viminea, Salvia cabulica, perennial herbs like Peganum harmala, Verbascum erianthum, Viola kunawurensis and annuals like Eremurus aucherianus and Salvia glutinosa.

Northern Baluchistanian Montane Sophora griffithii-Seriphidium maritimum Woodland

In the Takatu Mountains of the Hazarganji-Chiltan National Park there are woodlands at elevations of 1200-2200 m characterized largely by the small tree Sophora griffithii and the shrubs Seriphidium maritimum. The first story has a sparse scattering of Fraxinus xanthoxyloides while the second storey is mainly composed of Sophora griffithii and Seriphidium maritimum together with Daphne oleoides, Ephedra procera and Prunus eburnea. A third or ground layer includes Allium capitellatum, Cenchrus pennisetiformis, Eragrostis poaoides, Hedysarum wrightianum, Nepeta bracteata, Ferula kastata, Othonnopsis intermedia, Paracyrum purpureum, Perovskia abrotanoides, Plantago ciliata, Prangos pabularia, Pulicaria gnaphaloides, Salvia cabulica, Teucrium stocksianum, Valerianella oxyrrhyneha and Verbascum erianithum.

Northern Baluchistanian Montane Pinus gerardiana Forest

Forests characterized by Pinus gerardiana can be found at altitudes ranging from 2500-3500 m in the Suleiman Range of Baluchistan. They also occur in various isolated valleys in Pakistan and extend to Kashmir and eastern Afghanistan. Other important trees and shrubs include Fraxinus xanthoxyloides, Olea ferruginea, Pinus wallichiana, Pistacia khinjuk, P. munita, Prunus amygdalus and P. eburnea. The first story usually comprises Pinus gerardiana together with Fraxinus xanthoxyloides and Pistacia cabulica. A second storey typically includes shrubs like Artemisia maritima, Caragana ambigua, Cotoneaster nummularia, Daphne oleodies, Ephedra nebrodensis, Pinus eburnea, Rosa moschata and Sophora griffithii. At ground level a multitude of small shrubs and herbaceous species may be encountered. Prominent grasses include Agropyron junceum, Melica persica and Stipa himalaica, while typical forbs include Astragalus trichocarpus, Campanula leucoclada, Centaurea peragamacea, Silene conoides and Tulipa stellata.


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