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Evaluating bird communities of Western Ghats to plan for a biodiversity friendly development

Pramod, P and Daniels, Ranjit RJ and Joshi, NV and Gadgil, Madhav (1997) Evaluating bird communities of Western Ghats to plan for a biodiversity friendly development. In: Current Science, 73 (2). pp. 156-162.

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Abstract

Reconciling development with conservation of biological diversity has emerged as a significant concern in recent years. This has been primarily attempted through establishment of protected areas taken out of mainstream development, and through regulating impacts of major development projects with the help of environmental impact assessment exercises. We believe that these two instruments need to be complemented by continually providing inputs into the biodiversity implications of ongoing development processes (and accompanying habitat transformations) at the landscape and regional level. It is desirable that such assessment of biodiversity implications is based on a transparent, objective methodology which could be used by a wide range of practitioners working with the emerging decentralized processes of development planning. In this paper we outline such a methodology focussing on birds. This involves assigning a conservation value to bird species based on readily available information on their geographical range, habitat preference, endangerment and taxonomic distinctiveness. This may then be translated into a mean composite conservation value for bird assemblages characteristic of different habitat types. By combining this information with that on ongoing processes of habitat transformations, we can provide an assessment of how development processes are affecting biodiversity values. We illustrate this methodology by assessing the conservation value of 586 bird species of Western Ghats, and a sample of bird assemblages of seven major habitat types of the region. We conclude that the most serious loss of biodiversity value arises in the transformation of montane evergreen shola forests/high altitude grasslands into monoculture plantations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 08 May 2006
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:26
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/6632

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