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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 562-591

Consequences of Rural Biomass Extraction for Bird Communities in an Indian Tropical Dry Forest and the Role of Vegetation Structure

1 36 Curzon Road, Dehradun, Uttaranchal 248001, India
2 26-2 Aga Abbas Ali Road (Apt. 403), Bangalore, Karnataka 560 042 and 53, Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110 003, India

Correspondence Address:
Ghazala Shahabuddin
53, Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110 003
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There is limited information on the ecological effects of anthropo­genic disturbance caused by extractive activities such as grazing and fire­wood collection. A study was carried out in Sariska Tiger Reserve in India, to investigate the effects of disturbance on forest bird communities. Vegetation structural parameters including canopy cover, tree basal area and average height of trees were significantly lower in disturbed sites in comparison to undisturbed sites. However, other attributes of tree structure and the features of the understorey and herbaceous layer were unaffected by the disturbance regime. There was no significant difference in the number of recorded species and bird abundance between 'disturbed' (extracted) and 'undisturbed' (non­extracted) sites. However, bird species diversity was significantly lower in disturbed sites. Bird species composition also differed significantly between disturbed and undisturbed sites and was associated with disturbance indica­tors. Bird species composition was also significantly related to six different structural variables. Abundance of twelve of forty-eight (25%) bird species (that were abundant enough to be analysed), showed significant associations with disturbance indicators as well as one or more of structural variables. Of these, four bird species showed selection for disturbed habitats while eight se­lected undisturbed habitats over disturbed. Most of the bird species choosing undisturbed over disturbed habitats were insectivores. Both the disturbance index and the vegetation structure had significant effects on bird composition even when the other was controlled for. Our study indicates that forest re­source extraction can have significant effects on bird species composition of tropical dry forests through alteration of vegetation structure.

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