Importance Of Mid Country Wet Zone Scattered Forest Areas In Sri Lanka On Behalf Of Winter Migratory Avifauna.
University Of PeradeniyaAuthors
Weerakoon. W. M. B. M. B. And Ranawana. K.B.
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
216 migratory bird species visit Sri Lanka. More than 75% of them depend on the wetlands and coastal area; less than 60 species migrate to the mid country, where their preferable habitats are present. These habitats are important for future arrival of these limited species, because they visit where they spent previous winter. Percentage of migratory birds, contribution to the avifaunal diversity, habitats, threats to their survival and their habitats were evaluated.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
Study was done at Hanthana, Udawaththa Kele, Gannoruwa forests in Kandy district and Maragamuwa forest in Matale district, of mid country wet bird zone. Data collected from January to April 2014 by line transect method alone the roads. One long transect of 5km used covering most habitats. One hour spent for one kilometer. 24 field visits to four sites had done in migratory season. As a negative control data are collecting from April. Data collected from early morning. All the observed birds from naked eye and by a binocular were recorded. Birds were identified by calls as well. Species accumulation curves had drawn to know the optimal number of bird species in each forest area. Species diversity for each area was calculated using Shannon diversity index. Percentage values of migratory birds were calculated. Relative abundance calculated for identify the rareness of migratory species. Threats to these birds and habitats were identified.
Results: What are your most important results?
109 species with 15 migrants were recorded. Hanthana and Maragamuwa had the highest species diversity (H’=0.22). Percentage of winter visitors is nearly constant around 10% for all areas. Some migrants are common while some are rare. Man made wildfire in Hanthana is a significant threat. Loss of forest cover by timber and firewood harvesting, forest fragmentation in Maragamuwa by road construction, relatively high temperature in March; are other identified threats.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
Diversity and richness of migratory birds in mid country is low, but not negligible. It still provides habitats for certain migratory species. But these habitats are destroying and it affects the future arrival of migratory birds. Community pay low attention on this less percentage, but it is important in avifaunal diversity. Sri Lanka is a party of Convention on Migratory Species of wildlife (CMS), and legally bound to conserve these species throughout their range.