Habitat suitability assessment for the endangered Nilgiri Laughingthrush: A multiple logistic regression approach

Present address: Centre for Biodiversity Studies, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri, India
Current science (Impact Factor: 0.93). 06/2008; 94(11):1487-1494.


Application of remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) tools has assumed an increasingly important role in conservation biology and wildlife management by providing means for modelling potential distributions of species and their habitats, unlike the conventional ground surveys. We present here a predictive model of habitat suitability for the Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Garrulax cachinnans based on a synergistic use of field surveys and digitally processed satellite imagery combined with features mapped using GIS data layers. Collateral data were created in a GIS framework based on ground surveys comprising layers such as land-use, measures of proximity to likely features of disturbance and a digital terrain model. Multiple binomial logistic regression approach was used for modelling, and the model performance was assessed by the area under the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve. About 320 km 2, 25.12% of the area of the Nilgiris considered for modelling was predicted to be suitable for the Nilgiri Laughingthrush. The area under the ROC curve was found to be 0.984 ± 0.003 (R2: 0.93 at P < 0.0001), implying a highly effective model. The assessed suitable habitat was highly fragmented and comprised of 1352 patches (natural as well as man-made) distributed all over the study area. The smallest suitable patch identified by the model was 400 m2 and the largest patch 17.65 km2. Also, ca. 92% of all patches were smaller than 0.5 km2. We presume that some suitable habitat patches may be unoccupied due to strong fidelity of the species to shola (montane wet temperate forest) patches, low colonization rates, or large interfragment distances. Also, larger fragments might serve as source or 'exporters' of surplus individuals to maintain sink populations throughout the rest of the range. We discuss the implication of habitat fragmentation and narrow geographical range and anthropogenic pressure for the conservation of the Nilgiri Laughingthrush.

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    • "Sometimes they may overlook biological details important for species conservation. Many of the studies undertaken in Indian subcontinent are based on inductive modeling (Kushwaha et al. 2004; Zarri et al. 2008; Nandy et al. 2012; Imam et al. 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Ardeotis nigriceps, commonly known as Great Indian Bustard (GIB), is a Critically Endangered, Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Threatened (EDGE) and endemic species to the Indian subcontinent. GIB is under tremendous threat in its last strongholds and sliding inextricably towards extinction. The GIB sanctuary in Maharashtra (India) is one of the last refuges of the bird constituting an area of 8496 km2 spread over in seven talukas of Solapur and Ahemednagar districts. Major portion of the sanctuary (94.3 %) consists of privately owned lands under a variety of economic vocations and large number of villages and townships. In view of the legal restrictions relating to Protected Area under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India 1972, the inhabitants of villages and townships faced a very difficult situation regarding use of their lands, development of properties and deriving benefits from planned local and regional development. This created conflict between local people and the forest department over the use of land, which necessitated the rationalization of the sanctuary. The objective of the present study was to map the suitable habitat of GIB in GIB Wildlife Sanctuary as an input for the realignment of the GIB Sanctuary by identifying areas that are important for the GIB. Main parameters considered for the habitat suitability assessments are, habit and habitat of GIB, slope, minimum patch size and disturbance sources. Based on the criteria derived for the ecological and biological requirements of GIB, binary deductive habitat suitability modeling has been done using remote sensing and GIS and prioritized the potential habitats of GIB. The net area of important suitable habitat of GIB in GIB sanctuary is 2304.99 km2 out of 8496.44 km2. The output of the present study has been used as an input by the committee (set by Honorable Supreme court of India) on rationalization of the GIB Sanctuary and the sanctuary has been rationalized with an area of 1222 km2.
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    • "RS and GIS also support in monitoring areas of land for their suitability to endangered species, through integration of various habitat variables of both spatial and non-spatial nature [7]. The outputs of such models quite simple, easily understandable and can be used for the assessment of environmental impacts or prioritization of conservation efforts in a timely and cost-effective manner [8], [9]. GIS modeling has been used to examine the habitat and home range of some species such as grasland birds [10], diversity of birds [11]and Muntjak [12]. "

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    • "RS and GIS also help in monitoring areas of land for 35 their suitability to endangered species, through integration of various habitat variables of both spatial and non-spatial nature (Davis et al. 1990). The outputs of such models are usually simple, easily understandable and can be used for the assessment of 40 environmental impacts or prioritisation of conservation efforts in a timely and cost-effective manner (Kushwaha et al. 2004; Zarri et al. 2008). Indian gaur (Bos gaurus) belongs to the Bovidae family and is one among the nine species of wild oxen 45 found in the world. "

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