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Title: Mammal indicator species for protected areas and managed forests in a landscape conservation area in northern India

Author: Mathur, Pradeep K.; Kumar, Harish; Lehmkuhl, John F.; Tripathi, Anshuman; Sawarkar, Vishwas B.; De, Rupak.;

Date: 2010

Source: Biodiversity and Conservation. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-010-9851-8: 17 p

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: There is a realization that managed forests and other natural areas in the landscape matrix can and must make significant contributions to biodiversity conservation. Often, however, there are no consistent baseline vegetation or wildlife data for assessing the status of biodiversity elements across protected and managed areas for conservation planning, nor is there a rapid and efficient means to acquire those data. We used a unified vegetation classification and simple animal sampling design to describe the patterns of abundance of selected mammals as indicator, or characteristic, species in different vegetation types and protected areas vs. managed forest units in the Terai Conservation Area (TCA) in northern Uttar Pradesh state, India. We quantified the relative abundance of 15 mammals of conservation concern from dung counts in vegetation sampling plots within 122 sample patches in 13 vegetation types and 4 management units. Assemblages of species differed both among vegetation types and among management units. Species assemblages in the two protected areas differed strongly from those in two managed forests. Grasslands in protected areas were the most species diverse among vegetation types and had several indicator species. Protected forests were dominated by chital (Axis axis) and nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) in a second species group. A third species group in open grasslands and savannas in managed forests was characterized by cattle (Bos taurus) and Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis). Protected areas clearly are the core conservation area of the TCA for their relatively high habitat value and species diversity, and their protected status minimizes human disturbance. Impacts of human use are high in managed forests, indicating their compromised value for biodiversity conservation. Our simple assessment methodology gives managers a simple way to assess the status of important mammals across landscape conservation units.

Keywords: grasslands, India, indicator species, managed forests, monitoring, protected areas

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Mathur, Pradeep K.; Kumar, Harish; Lehmkuhl, John F.; Tripathi, Anshuman; Sawarkar, Vishwas B.; De, Rupak. 2010. Mammal indicator species for protected areas and managed forests in a landscape conservation area in northern India. Biodiversity and Conservation. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-010-9851-8: 17 p.

 


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