The state of J&K has been regarded as heaven on earth, and is also called the biomass of state of India. The biodiversity of the rich area of J&K happens to be one of the 26 hotspots in India with high endemicity. The whole Himalayan belt is one hotspot mega centre having 8 critical areas which includes two regions from the state viz Ladakh and Kashmir. The state of J&K has fairly rich diversity of plant life and on this people depend for their daily needs of food, medicine, fuel, fiber etc. The varied plant life also contributes to food and habitat needs of wild and domesticated in the state. The environments, social and economic value of plants are very well known. On the other hand, the faunal component of biodiversity of the state is rich with interesting and unique forms both in the forest zone and above forest line. The variety of animal forms ranges from higher groups like vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and lower groups like invertebrates including insects and even unicellular micro organisms.
The flora of Himalayan Kashmir comprises about 3054 species. About 880 species are found in Ladakh and 506 species found in Jammu. These figures only include the angiosperms, gymnosperms and pteridophytes. The plants of western Himalayas are well known for their medicinal properties. This area is store house of medicinal and aromatic plants which are used in pharmaceutical and perfume industries. The list includes 55 species of important medicinal and aromatic plants. There are 11 medicinal plants in temperate, cold arid regions of J&K. Several medicinal plants grow wild in temperate and alpine habitats. Some medicinal plants have been taken up for cultivation e.g Dioscorea deltoidea is now cultivated for its tubers rich in Diosgenin and yield cortisone, a steroid hormone.
The faunal diversity of J&K is diverse due to its unique location and climatic condition. 16% of Indian mammals are present in state including birds, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies. 75 species of mammals belonging to 54 genera, 21 families and 8 orders.Carnivores represents 32% of the total mammalian faun of the state. The total of 19 species of ungulates are reported from the state, 13 have been listed as globally threatened.
The avian diversity of state varies seasonally and available data suggest the existence of as many as 358 species of birds belonging to 179 genera, 51 families under 16 orders. The state is the home of 14 species of amphibians belonging to 6 genera, 5 families and 1 order and 68 species of reptiles belonging to 43 genera, 12 families and 2 orders. The available data suggest that 44 species of fishes belonging to 14 genera under 5 families occur in state. The available data also reveals that as many as 225 species of insects, besides several sub species, belonging to 136 genera, 35 families and 4 orders occur in the state.
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(Data Source: State of Environment Report, J&K 2012-13 and Annual Adminsitration Report, 2011-12)