Pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs were analysed from 35 modern moss cushions collected along an altitudinal gradient (2225–2552 m a.s.l.) from the Baramulla District of Jammu and Kashmir State (Western Himalaya), India. The selected sampling altitude is at the elevation of appearance of blue pine (Pinus wallichiana) and West Himalayan spruce or morinda spruce (Picea smithiana). We used cluster analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) to reveal trends and characteristics in the modern pollen and non-pollen palynomorph composition within this zone. Tree taxa mainly correlated positively with the altitudinal gradient, i.e. tree pollen is more abundant at higher altitudes. The presence of West Himalayan spruce pollen increased significantly above 2490 m a.s.l., which coincides with its increased abundance in the area. Poaceae, Cerealia, Ranunculaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Asteroideae and Cichorioideae, indicating open land and human agricultural activities, are more characteristic of higher locations. Greater relative abundance of dung spores was characteristic of lower elevations, indicating human-related grazing activities. While tropical deciduous plants grow only at lower elevations away from the study area, their pollen was present at higher altitudes, suggesting long-distance pollen dispersal, beyond the growing localities.

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