Is Ficus microcarpa trees help to connect fragmented habitats in Dry zone secondary forests?
D.G.R.M.M. Kaushalya Rathnayake
Rajarata University Of Sri Lanka
The forest fragments where an edge habitat changed densities and diversities of fauna. Very few Studies are available on conservation of fauna in fragmented habitats in tropical Dry zones. This study aims to assess the diversity and distribution pattern of fauna associated with fruiting trees situated interior and adjacent forest habitats & check weather which species can be considered as to connect fragmented habitats associated with secondary dry zone forests.
This study is conducting in Mihinthale sanctuary, Sri Lanka started on November 2012. Faunal community on three major locally widespread, fruiting tree species was recorded each in three different habitats. Faunal diversity and homogeneity were calculated using different ecological indices and spatial distribution of frugivore fauna was assessed. Difference of the species composition in three habitats was analyzed by one way ANOVA.
38 bird species belongs to 21 bird families and 04 arboreal mammal species belonging to 02 families were recorded as interacting species with trees. In Ficus microcarpa trees situated in highly disturbed edge 23 species, moderately disturbed edge 31 and forest interior 21 species were observed. Also significant heterogeneity was observed between three habitats. Diversity of fauna species in Ficus microcarpa showed a significant different (p=0.0013) in 3 sites.
The results show that highest percentage of animals recorded utilizing the Ficus microcarpa comparing with the other tree species. And unlike other plants fruits were available in throughout the year. As Fragmentation creates threats to the faunal community in many ways the need of connecting fragments is arisen. In this scenario being a common locally widespread plant, Ficus microcarpa will be a suitable tree to plant connecting fragments and disturbed areas.