BRANTA — Virat Jolli
Impacts of Parvati hydro-electric project development on the critical habitats of montane birds of Western Himalayas
Institution: University of Delhi, India
Supervisors: M K Pandit, Trevor Price
Details: PhD 2014
Subject Keywords: Birds, Himalayas, Habitats, Hydro-electric, project
Species Keywords: Himalayan, avian, fauna, avifauna
The montane forest ecosystem of upper Sainj Valley in the Western Himalaya is under severe anthropogenic pressure due to the Parvati hydro-electric project (PHEP) development. The ongoing PHEP activities around highly biodiverse area could have negatively affected the birds of Sainj valley. To understand PHEP development impacts on montane birds, I sub-divided the study into three parts, which are as follows: (1) Impact of habitat disturbance on the avian species diversity, richness, abundance and community structure (2) Monitoring pheasants to measure the impacts of HEP development (3) Measuring land use/land cover change in the Sainj Valley during the HEP development. I used point count method for bird surveys, while line transect and call count methods were used for pheasants counting. Montane bird communities were studied to determine their response along a disturbance gradient with the aim of identifying key factors influencing their distribution. Habitat types surveyed included primary and secondary montane forests, agricultural, and HEP affected habitats (disturbed). Response variables included total avifaunal and woodland species richness and abundance and were measured using point count surveys. Explanatory variables measured were related to tree and shrub density, canopy cover, disturbance intensity and altitude. Estimated species richness was higher for pristine and minimally disturbed sites, lower in agricultural sites and lowest in HEP affected sites. Ordination analysis revealed that tree and shrub density and disturbance influenced species distribution; woodland birds responded acutely with HEP activities. The foraging guilds of montane birds across a disturbance gradient suggested that frugivores and carnivores were the most affected one while omnivore abundance increased in human modified landscape, while insectivore abundance remained unchanged. Himalayan pheasant's abundance declined in PHEP affected site while their abundance increased with cessation of HEP activity. The land use/land cover change was detected using satellite remote sensing. It showed PHEP development had brought land use change in Sainj Valley.
Jolli, V., & Pandit, M. K. 2011. Monitoring pheasants (Phasianidae) in the Western Himalayas to measure the impact of hydro-electric projects. The Ring 33, 1-2: 37-46.
Jolli, V., & Pandit M. K. 2011. Influence of human disturbance on the abundance of Himalaya Pheasants (Aves, Galliformes) in the temperate forest of Western Himalaya. Vestnik Zoologii 45(6): 523-530.
Jolli, V., Srivastav, A., & Thakur, S. 2011. Patch occupancy for Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii in Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area. International Journal of Galliformes Conservation 2: 74-81