- Journal Article2007A new bird species from Eastern Himalayan Arunachal Pradesh – India’s biological frontier.Current Science 92: 1205-1206.
- Journal Article2007Pastoral nomads of the Indian Changthang: production system, landuse and socioeconomic changes.Human Ecology, 35, 497-504.
- Journal Article2007A Strategy for Conservation of Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata in Ladakh.Conservation and Society, 5, 262-276.
- Journal Article2007Application of photographic capture-recapture modelling to estimate demographic parameters for male Asian elephantsAnimal Conservation 10: 391-399Download
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In addition to the threats of habitat loss and degradation, adult males of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus also face greater threats from ivory poaching and conflict with humans. To understand the impact of these threats, conservationists need robust estimates of abundance and vital rates specifically for the adult male segment of elephant populations. By integrating the identification of individual male elephants in a population from distinct morphology and natural markings, with modern capture–recapture (CR) sampling designs, it is possible to estimate various demographic parameters that are otherwise difficult to obtain from this long-lived and wide-ranging megaherbivore. In this study, we developed systema- tic individual identification protocols and integrated them into CR sampling designs to obtain capture histories and thereby estimate the abundance of adult bull elephants in a globally important population in southern India. We validated these estimates against those obtained from an independent method combining line-transect density estimates with age–sex composition data for elephants. The sampled population was open to gains and losses between sampling occasions. The abundance of adult males in the 176 km2 study area was N(se N)= 134(14.2) and they comprised 14% ( ± 1%) of the total elephant population. Time-specific abundance estimates for each sampling occasion showed a distinct increase in adult male numbers over the sampling period, explained by seasonal patterns of local migration. CR-based estimates for adult male abundance closely matched estimates from distance-based methods. Thus, while providing abundance data of comparable rigour and precision, photographic CR methods permit estimation of demographic parameters for the Asian elephant that are both urgently needed and difficult to obtain.
- Journal Article2007Phylogenetic relationships and morphometric affinities of the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, a newly described primate from Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern IndiaMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 44(2): 838–849Download
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A new species of primate, the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, belonging to the sinica species-group of the genus, was described from northeastern India in 2005, and, based on its appearance and distribution, hypothesised to be closely related to M. assamensis and M. thibetana. We subsequently obtained an entire adult male specimen and tissue remains from two other M. munzala individuals. Molecular analyses establish the distinct identity of the species and indicate a time of origin of c. 0.48 mya for it. The species also shows close phylogenetic affinities with the allopatric M. radiata and with the geographically closer M. assamensis and M. thibetana, possibly mediated by male introgression from an ancestral M. assamensis–M. thibetana stock into an ancestral M. munzala stock. Morphometric analyses, on the other hand, reiterate its close similarity only with M. assamensis and M. thibetana, presumably resulting from convergent evolution under similar ecological conditions and along a latitudinal gradient, as predicted by Bergmann’s and Allen’s rules.
- Poster2006Frogs (Anamalais , Western Ghats)Download
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Sahyadri Burrowing Frog, Black Narrow-mouthed Frog, Anamalai Flying Frog, Valparai, Melanobatrachus, Tamil
- Poster2006Sloth Bear (Anamalais , Western Ghats)Download
PDF, 5.05 MB
Peninsular India, Termites, Ants, Wild Jamuns, Palms, Elalocarps, Tamil
- Book Review2006Of personality, ideology and science in tiger conservation (Review of A View from the Machan by K. Ullas Karanth)Conservation and Society 4: 350-353
- Journal Article2006Living with large carnivores: predation on livestock by the snow leopard (Uncia uncia).Journal of Zoology (London), 268, 217-224.
- Journal Article2006Perceived conflicts between pastoralism and conservation of the Kiang Equus kiang in the Ladakh Trans- HimalayaEnvironmental Management, 38, 934-941
- Journal Article2006Decline of the Tibetan gazelle in Ladakh, IndiaOryx, 40, 229-232.
- Journal Article2006Local processes strongly influence post-bleaching benthic recovery in the Lakshadweep IslandsCoral Reefs. 25: 427-440Download
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The atoll reefs of the Lakshadweep, in the Indian Ocean suffered a catastrophic mortality of hard coral in the wake of the El Niño event of 1998. This study tracked changes to coral and other benthic elements in three atolls in the Lakshadweep from 2000 to 2003. The recovery of coral was highly site-specific, and appeared to be driven by differences in post-settlement survival of coral recruits, that were in turn, influenced by the local hydrodynamics of the atolls. Post bleaching recovery was highest on west-facing reefs, while recovery on east-facing reefs was very limited. However, no ‘phase-shift’ to macroalgal dominated reefs was evident. High herbivore pressures were perhaps the most important control of macroalgae. Five years after the mass mortality, the genera that showed the maximum gains represented a mix of different susceptibilities to bleaching, while some genera that were not particularly susceptible to bleaching showed significant declines. These results suggest that decline or recovery of coral is likely dependent on individual life history strategies, post-recruitment survival, and contingency.
- Journal Article2006Plant Community Structure in Tropical Rain Forest Fragments of the Western Ghats, IndiaBiotropica 38: 143–160. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2006.00118.x
Changes in tree, liana, and understory plant diversity and community composition in five tropical rain forest fragments varying in area (18–2600 ha) and disturbance levels were studied on the Valparai plateau, Western Ghats. Systematic sampling using small quadrats (totaling 4 ha for trees and lianas, 0.16 ha for understory plants) enumerated 312 species in 103 families: 1968 trees (144 species), 2250 lianas (60 species), and 6123 understory plants (108 species). Tree species density, stem density, and basal area were higher in the three larger (> 100 ha) rain forest fragments but were negatively correlated with disturbance scores rather than area per se. Liana species density, stem density, and basal area were higher in moderately disturbed and lower in heavily disturbed fragments than in the three larger fragments. Understory species density was highest in the highly disturbed 18-ha fragment, due to weedy invasive species occurring with rain forest plants. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling and Mantel tests revealed significant and similar patterns of floristic variation suggesting similar effects of disturbance on community compositional change for the three life-forms. The five fragments encompassed substantial plant diversity in the regional landscape, harbored at least 70 endemic species (3.21% of the endemic flora of the Western Ghats–Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot), and supported many endemic and threatened animals. The study indicates the significant conservation value of rain forest fragments in the Western Ghats, signals the need to protect them from further disturbances, and provides useful benchmarks for restoration and monitoring efforts.
- Report2006Hanging by a thread: Spider communities in rainforest fragments and shade-coffee plantations in the Anamalai hills, Western Ghats, India.NCF Technical Report No. 13. Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
- Journal Article2006An assessment of spider sampling methods in tropical rainforest fragments of the Anamalai hills, Western Ghats, India.Zoos' Print Journal 21: 2483-2488.
- Journal Article2006Mammals of the high altitudes of Western Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Himalaya: an assessment of threats and conservation needs.Oryx 40(1): 1-7.
The high altitudes of Arunachal Pradesh, India, located in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, remain zoologically unexplored and unpro- tected. We report results of recent mammal surveys in the high altitude habitats of western Arunachal Pradesh. A total of 35 mammal species (including 12 carnivores, 10 ungulates and 5 primates) were recorded, of which 13 are categorized as Endangered or Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. One species of primate, the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, is new to science and the Chinese goral Nemorhaedus caudatus is a new addition to the ungulate fauna of the Indian subconti- nent. We documented peoples’ dependence on natural resources for grazing and extraction of timber and medicinal plants. The region’s mammals are threatened by widespread hunting. The snow leopard Uncia uncia and dhole Cuon alpinus are also persecuted in retaliation for livestock depredation. The tiger Panthera tigris, earlier reported from the lower valleys, is now apparently extinct there, and range reductions over the last two decades are reported for bharal Pseudois nayaur and musk deer Moschus sp.. Based on mammal species richness, extent of high altitude habitat, and levels of anthropo- genic disturbance, we identified a potential site for the creation of Arunachal’s first high altitude wildlife reserve (815 km2). Community-based efforts that provide incentives for conservation-friendly practices could work in this area, and conservation awareness programmes are required, not just amongst the local communities and schools but for politicians, bureaucrats and the army.
- Journal Article2006Distribution and Conservation Status of the Arunachal Macaque, Macaca munzala, in Western Arunachal Pradesh, Northeastern IndiaPrimate Conservation Vol 21: 145–148Download
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The recently described Arunachal macaque, Macaca munzala, has to date been reported only from western Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Himalaya. Our surveys have recorded a total of 35 troops and 569 individuals, probably a conservative estimate, for the macaque population in the Tawang and West Kameng districts of the state. The species appears to be tolerant to anthropo- genic habitat change, but is vulnerable to hunting and retaliatory killing in response to crop damage. Data from one part of the area surveyed, however, indicate that the species can attain remarkably high population densities in the absence of hunting. Macaca munzala will need to be protected in human-modified landscapes, and the issues of crop damage and retaliatory persecution must be addressed urgently.
- Journal Article2006Effects of habitat structure and adjacent habitats on birds in tropical rainforest fragments and shaded plantations in the Western Ghats.Biodiversity and Conservation 15: 1577-1607.Download
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As large nature reserves occupy only a fraction of the earth’s land surface, conservation biologists are critically examining the role of private lands, habitat fragments, and plantations for conservation. This study in a biodiversity hotspot and endemic bird area, the Western Ghats mountains of India, examined the effects of habitat structure, floristics, and adjacent habitats on bird communities in shade-coffee and cardamom plantations and tropical rainforest fragments. Habitat and birds were sampled in 13 sites: six fragments (three relatively isolated and three with canopy connectivity with adjoining shade-coffee plantations and forests), six plantations differing in canopy tree species composition (five coffee and one cardamom), and one undisturbed primary rainforest control site in the Anamalai hills. Around 3300 detections of 6000 individual birds belonging to 106 species were obtained. The coffee plantations were poorer than rainforest in rainforest bird species, particularly endemic species, but the rustic cardamom plantation with diverse, native rainforest shade trees, had bird species richness and abundance comparable to primary rainforest. Plantations and fragments that adjoined habitats providing greater tree canopy connectivity supported more rainforest and fewer open-forest bird species and individuals than sites that lacked such connectivity. These effects were mediated by strong positive effects of vegetation structure, particularly woody plant variables, cane, and bamboo, on bird community structure. Bird community composition was however positively correlated only to floristic (tree species) composition of sites. The maintenance or restoration of habitat structure and (shade) tree species composition in shade-coffee and cardamom plantations and rainforest fragments can aid in rainforest bird conservation in the regional landscape.
- Popular Article2006Making headway: Lisus, Namdapha officials 'talk' in Arunachal.Down to Earth. April 15. pp. 44.
- Report2006India’s Tentative List of Natural Heritage Properties to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.Submitted to World Heritage Centre, UNESCO, Paris.Download
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The Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India embarked on the process of preparation of its tentative list of natural heritage properties on the world heritage list in 2002 and has identified 7 sub-clusters containing 39 site elements for serial nomination from the Western Ghats in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In addition to this, 3 single sites in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Gujarat have also been identified for inclusion in the tentative list. The tentative list has been prepared through a participative process with active partnership between government, scientific institution (Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun) and civil society organizations (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Bangalore and Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore)