Priya Davidar

Priya Davidar
Sigur Nature Trust

Ph. D.

About

163
Publications
102,307
Reads
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3,836
Citations
Introduction
Priya Davidar is a conservation biologist working on forest ecology, pollination biology and endangered species conservation. She retired as a Professor at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences , Pondicherry University. Her current project is analysing tree distributions at the biogeographical scale, and the conservation genetics of endangered species such as the Asian elephant and Nilgiri Tahr
Additional affiliations
June 2002 - May 2003
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Position
  • Fellow
September 1987 - present
Pondicherry University
Position
  • Professor
August 1985 - June 1987
Harvard University
Position
  • Professor
Education
September 1984 - June 1985
Harvard University
Field of study
  • Tropical diseases
September 1975 - August 1979
Bombay University
Field of study
  • Field Ornithology

Publications

Publications (163)
Article
Full-text available
We address the issue of spatial justice with reference to Asian elephant conservation and the handling of animals perceived to be problematic in the Sigur region, Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, southern India. In this village-dotted region, the need to create corridors to facilitate elephant movement was challenged by tourism operators. The courts rul...
Article
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Habitat fragmentation results in loss of genetic variation in populations and increases inbreeding processes that are measurable by genetic markers. The fragmented forests of Eastern Ghats-Central India support around 3000 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus L.), of which 2000 are in Odisha state. We obtained samples of fresh elephant dung from four p...
Article
Full-text available
Management of wildlife depends mostly on scientific data; ignoring this can lead to unintended consequences. We take the case study of the wild male Asian Elephant Rivaldo of the Sigur Region, who was translocated out of his range. Rivaldo returned to his home range within a few days, which could have been expected if scientific publications had be...
Article
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Asian elephants are endangered while they have faced ~70% population decline in India in the last 60 years. Climate change projections indicate exacerbation of ongoing habitat loss (>40%) by 2070, potentially impacting genetic structure of wild elephants across India. Therefore, we provide consolidated baseline data on genetic diversity and structu...
Technical Report
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This paper explains how an elephant could be de-habituated to human food and prevented to enter villages
Article
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MONDRETI, R., DAVIDAR, P., RYAN, P.G., THIEBOT, J.B. & GREMILLET, D. 2020. Seabird and cetacean occurrence in the Bay of Bengal associated with marine productivity and commercial fishing effort. Marine Ornithology 48: 91–101. At-sea observations of seabirds and cetaceans provide essential baseline information about their biogeography and behaviour...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) and...
Article
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Many wildlife species survive in human-modified landscapes and understanding the opinions of those who share space with wildlife will aid conservation efforts. Using a questionnaire, we assessed the presence of 12 mammal species in 78 tea plantations in the Nilgiris, southern India. We obtained data on (i) plantation size, location, and elevation,...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) an...
Article
Full-text available
The island species–area relationship (ISAR) describes how the number of species increases with increasing size of an island (or island‐like habitat), and is of fundamental importance in island biogeography and conservation. Here, we use a framework based on individual‐based rarefaction to infer whether ISARs result from passive sampling, or whether...
Article
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Our paper reports findings on at-sea distributions of both seabirds and cetaceans in the Bay of Bengal. Our study is the first systematic attempt in creating baseline information for this data-poor region. We carried out 39 days of vessel-based observations from 2012 to 2014 over a total linear distance of 4722.3 km. We observed 2697 seabirds of 17...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Island Species-Area relationship (ISAR) describes how the number of species increases with increasing size of an island (or island-like habitat), and is of fundamental importance in island biogeography and conservation. Here, we use a framework based on individual-based rarefactions to infer whether ISARs result from random sampling, or whether...
Article
Full-text available
Lantana camara is a dominant invasive shrub in many protected areas of India including the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR). We conducted a study to assess the regeneration potential of endemic native (shola) trees under different levels of Lantana infestation in the upper plateau of NBR. A total of 61 plots in a total area of 0.73ha were sampled, o...
Article
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Damages by the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) range from crop raiding to loss of human lives, and understanding the underlying causes thereof could help reduce such incidents. Land-use change could be among the major causes of elephant incidents since they are long-lived and tend to have particular home ranges. To test this hypothesis, we assesse...
Article
The aim of the present study was to develop a statistical model for biomass estimation of an invasive shrub Lantana camara, and to assess the role of tree canopy cover in determining its invasion density and above ground biomass. The study was carried out in patches of tropical montane evergreen 'shola' forests that differed in disturbance regimes...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Climate change alters the water cycle, potentially affecting the distribution of species. Using an ensemble of species distribution models (SDMs), we predicted changes in distribution of the Asian elephant in South Asia due to increasing climatic variability under warming climate and human pressures. Location India and Nepal. Methods We compi...
Article
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Aim Large tropical trees form the interface between ground and airborne observations, offering a unique opportunity to capture forest properties remotely and to investigate their variations on broad scales. However, despite rapid development of metrics to characterize the forest canopy from remotely sensed data, a gap remains between aerial and fie...
Article
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We carried out population counts of a nesting colony of terns (Sternidae) on Pitti Island, an official seabird sanctuary, on 17 February 2013, 10 March 2013, and 10 February 2014. We also assessed population trends over previous years using data from earlier surveys. We estimated the number of nests and eggs, and recorded loss of eggs by predation,...
Article
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A critique of the extensive use of the term human-wildlife conflict to describe a variety of situations involving wildlife.
Article
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Aim: Large tropical trees form the interface between ground and airborne observations, offering a unique opportunity to capture forest properties remotely and to investigate their variations on broad scales. However, despite rapid development of metrics to characterize the forest canopy from remotely sensed data, a gap remains between aerial and fi...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the effects of forest patch size on woody tree species richness and abundance in tropical montane evergreen forest patches of the Nilgiri region, south India. We sampled woody trees (≥ 1 cm dbh) from 21 forest patches in the upper Nilgiri hills (> 2000 m elevation) and recorded a total of 35,146 individuals of 61 species, 45 genera and...
Article
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Knowledge about the biogeographic affinities of the world’s tropical forests helps to better understand regional differences in forest structure, diversity, composition, and dynamics. Such understanding will enable anticipation of region-specific responses to global environmental change. Modern phylogenies, in combination with broad coverage of spe...
Article
The species richness and density of lianas (woody vines) in tropical forests is determined by various abiotic and biotic factors. Factors such as altitude, forest patch size and the degree of forest disturbance are known to exert strong influences on liana species richness and density. We investigated how liana species richness and density were con...
Conference Paper
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The species richness and density of lianas (woody vines) in tropical forests is determined by various abiotic and biotic factors. Factors such as altitude, forest patch size and the degree of forest disturbance are known to exert strong influences on liana species richness and density. We investigated how liana species richness and density were con...
Article
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South Asia includes regions south of the Himalayan Mountains bounded by the Indian Ocean, West Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. The countries within South Asia are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. South Asia is the most densely populated region in the world with more than 1.7 billion people i...
Article
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Nesting success of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos was evaluated at Haigam, Hokarsar and Shalabug lakes in Kashmir in 2012 and 2013. Nests were located, tagged and monitored until the clutch hatched. Nest location, nest volume and height above water/ground measured, and threats were all noted. A total of 95 nests with 556 eggs within tree holes, willow...
Article
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Nilgiri tahr, the only wild representative of the Caprinae subfamily in Southern India, is endangered due to population decline, decreasing range size and limited geographical distribution, which together with habitat loss and fragmentation, further reduce its long-term viability. Planning conservation and management strategies to rehabilitate the...
Article
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Landscape connectivity between protected areas is crucial for the conservation of megafauna. But often, corridor identification relies on expert knowledge that is subjective and not spatially synoptic. Landscape analysis allows generalization of expert knowledge when satellite tracking or genetic data are not available. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserv...
Article
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Livestock grazing is a major anthropogenic impact influencing both grasslands and wetlands of the world which often results in the alteration of the structure, diversity and functioning of the plant communities. Here, we seek to understand how grazing intensity influences swamp vegetation, with an emphasis on their diversity, structure and function...
Presentation
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Multiple facets of ecological rarity reflect the ability of species (i) to establish and persist locally (local rarity), (ii) to spread and occupy a large area (regional rarity), and (iii) to occupy diverse environmental contexts (habitat rarity). We expect that these dimensions reflect distinct ecological, biogeographical and evolutionary drivers....
Poster
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Poster presented at the 6th World Congress on Mountain Ungulates and 5th International Symposium on Mouflon, held in Nicosia, Cyprus, 28th August to 1st September 2016.
Article
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Reproductive phenology in tropical forests has been potentially influenced by climatic cues, biotic interactions and phylogenetic constraints at the community level. Studies on this relationship in the tropical montane evergreen forest of south India are rather lacking. We made reproductive phonological observations on 497 individuals falling under...
Article
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The Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius Ogilby, 1838) has not been comprehensively surveyed in the southern Western Ghats, India. Here we present results of a survey conducted in 2012 and 2013 in 25 sites where Nilgiri Tahr was reported in Agastyamalai range south of the Shencottah gap. The objectives of the survey were to assess population statu...
Article
A ratio-based logistic model developed to assess elephant harvest rates, based on a study at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in India, was recommended as a management tool to control human–elephant conflict through culling. Considering this reserve among others violates an assumption of the logistic model: isolation. Nevertheless, assuming this violation w...
Article
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The study provides descriptive information of the floristic composition, forest structure and effects of disturbance on forest structure of a mid -elevation (>= 1800 <= 2100 m amsl) tropical montane evergreen forests (sholas) in the Nilgiri Mountains, southern India. Sampling plots of 10 x 100 m (1000 m(2), 0.1 ha) were surveyed in ten different lo...
Poster
Full-text available
Marine research conducted in the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) so far largely focused on physical oceanography. • Seabirds are the most under-studied taxon. • At-sea seabird data provide important insights into the individual biology of the species, species-area relationships (the relationship between physical and biological ocean c...
Article
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The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approx...
Article
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We compiled records of 291 elephant deaths over a 33-year period (1979–2011) from the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and the reserved forests of Nilgiri North and South divisions of southern India from the databases of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, the Wildlife Protection Society of India and the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association. We tested...
Article
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We investigated levels of pollinator dependency and pollinator visitation rates to flowers of six vegetable crops: brinjal (aubergine), tomato, chilli pepper (Solanaceae), okra (Malvaceae), bitter and snake gourds (Cucurbitaceae) in six small family farms in the Coimbatore region of southern India. We tested the null hypothesis that fruit set in th...
Article
Full-text available
Lianas have been shown to respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances in many tropical forests worldwide. However, little is known about how disturbance affects liana composition, density and basal area in the tropical montane evergreen forests (sholas) of the Western Ghats, India. We used a large dataset from permanent monitoring plots acros...
Article
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A seamless vegetation type map of India (scale 1: 50,000) prepared using medium-resolution IRS LISS-III images is presented. The map was created using an on-screen visual interpretation technique and has an accuracy of 90%, as assessed using 15,565 ground control points. India has hitherto been using potential vegetation/forest type map prepared by...
Article
Full-text available
The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approx...
Article
Full-text available
• Crop wild relatives represent important genetic resources for crop improvement and the preservation of native biodiversity. Eggplant (Solanum melongena), known as brinjal in India, ranks high among crops whose wild gene pools are underrepresented in ex situ collections and warrant urgent conservation. Knowledge of outcrossing rates and patterns o...
Article
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Unlabelled: • Premise of the study: In India and elsewhere, transgenic Bt eggplant (Solanum melongena) has been developed to reduce insect herbivore damage, but published studies of the potential for pollen-mediated, crop- to- wild gene flow are scant. This information is useful for risk assessments as well as in situ conservation strategies for...