Bryophytes as Indicators of Human Disturbances in Tropical Rain Forests
Pp. 95-102 (8)
A.E. Dulip Daniels
Bryophytes, the most primitive group of land plants, though elusive, are
useful to humans in a number of ways. They are elusive due to their preference to grow
in micro-habitats with high humidity. Regarding their uses, tribal people in North
America and China, use bryophytes in their traditional medicines. Many have
antimicrobial and anticancer properties as well. Some mosses are used as effective
filtering and absorption agents in the treatment of waste water and effluents containing
heavy metals and organic substances. They are widely used as indicators of heavy
metals in air pollution and are also remarkable indicators of radioactive pollution.
Bryophytes assist in geobotanical prospecting as ecological indicators in botanical
surveys. They are generally poikilohydric, losing water rapidly with rising temperature
and hence when forests are cleared or disturbed due to selective felling, these moisture
and shade-loving plants perish. Therefore, bryophytes serve as good indicators of
human disturbances in forests.
Bryophytes, Indicators, Poikilohydric, Rainforests, Shade-loving.
Bryology Laboratory, Department of Botany & Research Centre, Scott Christian College, (Autonomous), Nagercoil - 629 003, Tamil Nadu, India.