- Journal Article2013Opportunistic exploitation: an overlooked pathway to extinctionTrends in Ecology and Evolution. 28(7): 409-413Download
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How can species be exploited economically to extinction? Past single-species hypotheses examining the economic plausibility of exploiting rare species have argued that the escalating value of rarity allows extinction to be profitable. We describe an alternative pathway toward extinction in multispecies exploitation systems, termed ‘opportunistic exploitation’. In this mode, highly valued species that are targeted first by fishing, hunting, and logging become rare, but their populations can decline further through opportunistic exploitation while more common but less desirable species are targeted. Effectively, expanding exploitation to more species subsidizes the eventual extinction of valuable species at low densities. Managers need to recognize conditions that permit opportunistic depletion and pass regulations to protect highly desirable species when exploitation can expand to other species.
- Book Chapter2013Dugongs in Asia. In Sirenian conservation: Issues and strategies in developing countries.Florida: University of Florida Press.
Ellen Hines. John Reynolds, Lemnuel Aragones, Antonio A. Mignucci- Giannoni, Miriam Marmontel. (Ed.)
- Newsletter2013Where have all the dugongs gone? A study on long-term occupancy trends in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, India,Sirenews, Newsletter of the IUCN Sirenia Specialist Group, Vol. 60.
- Journal Article2012To eat and not be eaten: modelling resources and safety in multi-species animal groups.PLoS ONE. 7(7): e42071.Download
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Using mixed-species bird flocks as an example, we model the payoffs for two types of species from participating in multi-species animal groups. Salliers feed on mobile prey, are good sentinels and do not affect prey capture rates of gleaners; gleaners feed on prey on substrates and can enhance the prey capture rate of salliers by flushing prey, but are poor sentinels. These functional types are known from various animal taxa that form multi-species associations. We model costs and benefits of joining groups for a wide range of group compositions under varying abundances of two types of prey–prey on substrates and mobile prey. Our model predicts that gleaners and salliers show a conflict of interest in multi-species groups, because gleaners benefit from increasing numbers of salliers in the group, whereas salliers benefit from increasing gleaner numbers. The model also predicts that the limits to size and variability in composition of multi-species groups are driven by the relative abundance of different types of prey, independent of predation pressure. Our model emphasises resources as a primary driver of temporal and spatial group dynamics, rather than reproductive activity or predation per se, which have hitherto been thought to explain patterns of multi-species group formation and cohesion. The qualitative predictions of the model are supported by empirical patterns from both terrestrial and marine multi-species groups, suggesting that similar mechanisms might underlie group dynamics in a range of taxa. The model also makes novel predictions about group dynamics that can be tested using variation across space and time.
- Book2012Fungus among us: An exploration of fungi in the Anamalai hills.Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore. 56 pages.
- Working Paper2012Beyond the borders: wildlife conservation in landscapes fragmented by plantations crops in IndiaNCF Working Paper 1, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.Download
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In regions of tropical forest, there is now global interest in bringing conservation efforts outside designated protected areas into the mainstream in landscapes with agricultural production and plantations such as of coffee, tea, rubber, and oil palm. Here, we describe the context and challenges of landscape-scale conservation amidst plantations and forests and other tropical ecosystems in India.
- Journal Article2012Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas.Nature 489: 290-294.
- Popular Article2012Hornbills: farmers of our forestsThe Hindu in School, 4 April
- Journal Article2012Trends in extinction and persistence of diurnal primates in Upper Brahmaputra ValleyOryx 46(2): 308-311Download
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The historical deforestation of the Upper Brahmaputra Valley in the Indian state of Assam has resulted in the transformation of its once-contiguous lowland rainforests into many isolated forest fragments that are still rich in species, including primates. We report the recent history and current status of six diurnal primates in one large (2,098 ha) and three small (, 500 ha) fragments of the Upper Brahmaputra Valley. We censused primates in the small fragments during 2002, 2005, 2009, in the large fragment in 2008, and used other published census data to derive population trends. We also used key informant surveys to obtain historical occurrence data for these populations. Our analyses reveal the recent extinction of some populations and the simultaneous long-term persist- ence of others in these fragments over 16 years. Most populations appeared to have declined in the small fragments but primate abundance has increased signific- antly in the largest fragment over the last decade. Addressing the biomass needs of the local human populations, which appears to drive habitat degradation, and better protection of these forests, will be crucial in ensuring the future survival of this diverse and unique primate assemblage in the last rainforest fragments of the human-dominated Upper Brahmaputra Valley.
- Journal Article2012Socio-economic drivers of Forest Cover Change in Assam: A Historical PerspectiveEconomic and Political Weekly 47(5): 64-72Download
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This article analyses the historical context of forest cover change in the upper Brahmaputra Valley of Assam during the precolonial, colonial and the postcolonial periods, locating these changes within the political economy and demographic milieu of each regime.In the current context of rising populations linked to immigration from neighbouring regions, dwindling share of agriculture in the state’s gross domestic product, and recent incentives to small tea growers in risk-prone agricultural landscapes, serious challenges remain to securing forests in this region. Empowering local communities and institutions, understanding tea plantation dynamics and managing the causes and consequences of recent demographic change are crucial to the conservation of forests there.
- Working Paper2012A Critique of the Nyamjang Chhu Hydro-electric power project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP)NCF Working Paper 2, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
- Popular Article2012Islands in peril: Conservation caveats.The Hindu Magazine, Sunday 26 February 2012, page 4.
- Popular Article2012The pigeon’s passengers.The Hindu Magazine, Sunday 6 May 2012, page 4.
Available here: http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/article3387586.ece
Also here: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/the-pigeons-passengers/article3398790.ece
- Journal Article2012Structure and dynamics of South East Indian seagrass meadows across a sediment gradientAquatic Botany, 98 (1): 34-39Download
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In this study we examine the influence of non-monsoon sediment arrival on the high-diversity SE Indian seagrass meadows of the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar. We used a gradient-based approach to examine the influence of increasing sediment loads on species composition and shoot density. In addition, for the ubiquitous seagrass (Cymodocea serrulata), we tested the influence of sediment on its biomass and productivity. We identified three sites in Palk Bay and four sites in Gulf of Mannar (SE India) along a gradient of sediment input. At each of the seven locations, sediment traps were deployed to measure sedimentation rates. Nine seagrass cores were taken systematically along 50 m transects at a constant sub-tidal depth to measure shoot density and biomass. A few shoots of C. serrulata were marked to estimate the above ground seagrass growth rate. Our results indicate that sedimentation rates that ranged from 8.6 to 62.4 mg DW cm−2 d−1 could not explain species composition of the meadow or shoot density of the observed species. C. serrulata was, by far, the most abundant species and present in all sediment condi- tions. Sedimentation rates did not alter shoot elongation rates in C. serrulata, ranging from 1.54 ± 0.29 SD to 0.25 ± 0.02 SD cm d−1 , but in contrast, increased vertical rhizome elongation rate. This increase was reflected in an increase in below ground biomass along the sediment gradient (R2 = 0.582, p = 0.01). C. serrulata appears to be able to adapt to the sediment dynamics in this area by allocating resources to rhizomes and roots to counteract burial and stabilizing sediments. Given that siltation is one of the most important threats to seagrass meadows, understanding the species-specific adaptive mechanisms of seagrass species in these high-sediment, high diversity South Asian meadows is an important first step in ensuring their long-term survival and functioning
- Popular Article2012The feathered forestersSaevus 1(4, Sep/Oct): 28-33.
- Popular Article2012கூடுகட்டவாகுருவி. (On House Sparrows)புதிய தலைமுறை. 19ஜூலை 2012 Puthiya Thalaimurai. 19th July 2012
- Popular Article2012Shared parentingHindu Survey of the Environment, July 2012, pp. 88-97.Download
PDF, 8.61 MB
A programme to adopt hornbill nests in Arunachal Pradesh is giving these great birds a chance to survive in Pakke,
- Report2012Protecting a hornbill haven: a community-run conservation initiative around Pakke Tiger ReserveHNAP Report for 2012Download
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2012 Report for Hornbill Nest Adoption Program
- Journal Article2012Methodological, temporal and spatial factors affecting modelled occupancy of resident birds in the perennially cultivated landscape of Uttar Pradesh, IndiaLandscape Ecology 27: 59-71. doi:10.1007/s10980-011-9666-3.
Biodiversity persistence in non-woody tropical farmlands is poorly explored, and multispecies assessments with robust landscape-scale designs are sparse. Modeled species occupancy in agricultural mosaics is affected by multiple factors including survey methods (convenience-based versus systematic), landscape-scale agriculture-related variables, and extent of remnant habitat. Changes in seasonal crops can additionally alter landscape and habitat conditions thereby influencing species occupancy. We investigated how these factors affect modeled occupancy of 56 resident bird species using a landscape-scale multi-season occupancy framework across 24 intensively cultivated and human-dominated districts in Uttar Pradesh state, north India. Convenience-based roadside observations provided considerable differences in occupancy estimates and associations with remnant habitat and intensity of cultivation relative to systematic transect counts, and appeared to bias results to roadside conditions. Modeled occupancy of only open-area species improved with increasing intensity of cultivation, while remnant habitat improved modeled occupancy of scrubland, wetland and woodland species. Strong seasonal differences in occupancy were apparent for most species across all habitat guilds. Further habitat loss will be most detrimental to resident scrubland, wetland and woodland species. Uttar Pradesh’s agricultural landscape has a high conservation value, but will require a landscape-level approach to maintain the observed high species richness. Obtaining ecological information from unexplored landscapes using robust landscape-scale surveys offers substantial advantages to understand factors affecting species occupancy, and is necessary for efficient conservation planning.
- Journal Article2012Impact of vehicular traffic on large mammal use of highway-edges in southern IndiaCurrent Science 102(7): 1047-1051Download
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India’s phenomenal economic growth over the last decade has been accompanied by a much-needed expansion and improvement in transport and other infrastructure networks. While there are legally mandated assessments of the potential ecological impacts of such infrastructure projects prior to implementation, rarely are there post-implementation assessments of their real ecological impacts. In this communication, we present results of a preliminary study examining the impact of vehicular traffic on the usage of road edges by large mammals along a highway passing through Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, southern India. We estimated large mammal encounter rates at remotely triggered camera traps on two consecutive sections of the same highway – one closed to vehicular traffic and the other open to vehicles only during daytime. We observed lower encounter rates of chital, gaur and elephants at camera traps in the highway segment with higher vehicular traffic density, suggesting that these species avoided busy highways. Based on our findings, we emphasize the importance of continued ecological impact assessments of development projects to identify and mitigate unforeseen impacts. Further, an approach to development planning that integrates conservation concerns, especially where development projects coincide with ecologically critical areas, is urgently needed in India.