Diversity of avifauna across landscape elements & its implication in conservation: A case study from Amboli, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra
Department Of Biodiversity, Abasaheb Garware College, Pune.
Landscape based conservation approach is easy to administer, considering the habitat fragmentation in the past few decades. Amboli is a popular tourist destination in the Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, tourism being the source of livelihood for most people in the village. The area is under high habitat disturbance pressure. We studied avifaunal diversity in 5 landscape elements (LSEs) in this area so as to find the LSE important from the point of view of conservation.
We measured the avifaunal diversity of the area using belt transects in 5 landscape elements during December 2012 – March 2013. Cluster analysis was carried out to sort out landscape elements of similar species composition. We kept feeding records for the birds opportunistically and used secondary data sources to find feeding preferences of the birds encountered.
A total of 113 species were observed. It was found that though maximum species diversity was found in human habitation, the closed canopy dense evergreen forest was found to be the most unique habitat in Amboli supporting maximum number of habitat specialists, most of which are also endemic to Western Ghats. Insectivorous species were the most abundant in the population sampled. We also recorded the Black-breasted Weaver in the area which is a new distributional record.
The study reveals that the closed canopy forest in Malai Pathar locality is a unique habitat supporting a number of endemic and threatened species. A parallel study on butterflies in the same area also concluded the same. Such forest patches are scarce in the study area and hence need to be conserved for their uniqueness. The human dominated landscape supports high species diversity which may be due to habitat heterogeneity and its importance in the area cannot be ignored.