Urbanisation sans vegetation affecting avian diversity: Expert : The Tribune India

Urbanisation sans vegetation affecting avian diversity: Expert

Urbanisation sans vegetation affecting avian diversity: Expert

Oriental Magpie Robin. Tribune photos

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19

Rapid urbanisation accompanied by land use changes is affecting biodiversity worldwide, particularly avian diversity.

Urban locations having balanced built-up area and vegetation might help in sustaining higher bird species richness and diversity in feeding guilds. — Dr Tejdeep Kaur Kler, Principal Ornithologist, PAU

Rufous Treepie

Recently, ornithologists of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) evaluated interactions of avian diversity with the vegetation area using geospatial technologies at different locations in the city.

Red-wattled Lapwing

Giving details about the study, Dr Tejdeep Kaur Kler, Principal Ornithologist, said birds were studied along four selected locations, including Rajguru Nagar, Agar Nagar, Dugri Estate and PAU campus. Remote sensing data was also obtained from the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), Ludhiana, she added.

Common Myna

Each selected location was classified into built-up area, vegetation, parks, fallow land and road cover, she said. Each location was then divided into polygons and area of each cover type was calculated, she added.

She further said, “To understand location-wise bird diversity, a comparison of species, along with their feeding guilds, was carried out.”

Black Drongo

Discussing the major findings, the PAU scientist revealed that the bird distribution, composition and struture were affected by urbanisation in Ludhiana city.

Asian Koel

An increase in urbanisation affected the bird species richness, in which urban habitats were dominated by urban generalist species thus, creating biotic homogenisation, which was a major component of biodiversity crisis, the scientist said.

Indian Grey Hornbill

Presence of woodpeckers was recorded only on PAU campus dominated by ficus tree species, which provide sites for nesting, she added. Frugivores (primarily fruit eaters) were also observed to be the most abundant on the PAU campus with maximum vegetation, she said.

Purple Sunbird.

The urbanised area was numerically dominated by granivorous (primarily grain eaters) and omnivorous birds as multi-storey buildings and window cliffs offered nesting sites and artificial food provisioning, the she added.

“Urban locations having balanced built-up area and vegetation might help in sustaining higher bird species richness and diversity in feeding guilds,” Dr Kler opined.

She further elucidated that common parlance, avian diversity and diverse feeding guilds were positively correlated to the area under vegetation as compared to other habitat components.

Dr Kler affirmed that remote sensing and geospatial technologies might play a significant role in identifying urban areas for avian conservation.

#Punjab Agricultural University PAU

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