Home Gardens, Islands of habitats for Acavus in Sri Lanka
University Of Peradeniya
A. M. R. S. Bandara
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
Gondwanan relict Acavus is a poorly studied endemic arboreal land snail genus with endangered species, found in rainforests in Southwest wet zone of Sri Lanka. Although some home gardens serve as islands of habitats for Acavus, knowledge on their population size, plant species they occupy and threats they face in home gardens is very poor. This study was carried out to fill the scarcity of knowledge related to Acavus in home gardens to ensure their future survival.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
Three home gardens with Acavus were identified in Kandy district; they are Kahalla (KH), Pilimathalawa (PL) and Gampola (GP). Study was carried out for six months from February to July 2013. Each site was visited twice a month and the total counts of Acavus and tree species they occupied were recorded. Average population size was calculated in each month. Threats to Acavus were observed in the field and obtained from resource personnel (ex-: home garden owners, villagers, naturalists). Awareness programs were carried out emphasizing the importance of Acavus and value of home gardens for their survival. Special attention was paid to spread the message to children since they are the next generation.
Results: What are your most important results?
Only Acavus phoenix present in study sites. Population sizes are KH 181, PL 40 and GP 117. Of the Acavus observed highest percentages found on, Areca catechu (24.4%), Artocarpus heterophyllus (15.9%), Cocos nucifera (12.78%), Michelia champaca (7.78%), Persea americana (5.35%), Musa spp. (3.31%), Coffea arabica (2.87%) and Gliricidia sepium (2.57%). Predation is the main natural threat. Shrinking of home gardens and public unawareness are anthropogenic threats.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
Population sizes can be monitored further to identify population trends with time and human activities. Sustainable use of certain plant species is essential since they facilitate home gardens to hold Acavus. Awareness improved the attention on Acavus and plants they occupy enabling survival of eggs, juveniles and adults reducing anthropogenic threats like excessive clearance of vegetation, active removal mistaken as a pest and use of chemicals in horticulture.