• Last Update 2022-08-09 20:18:00

Research reveals dividing forests would impact forest bird species


By Kasun Warakapitiya

Research reveals dividing forests would impact forest bird species.

A four year-long research on translocation of birds has revealed that fragmentation of forests would affect birds specializing in certain environmental factors.

The research findings would contribute to developing strategies on conserving forest dwelling endemic birds which prefer specific conditions, Principal researcher who carried out the project Salinda Kasun Dayananada told the times online.

The research has unraveled that maintaining forest undergrowth and forest corridors are essential for conservation forest dwelling birds which specialize in certain ecological roles are unable to move between forests even if slight fragmentation occurs.

Mr Dayananada who is also a PhD candidate from Guangxi Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Conservation, College of Forestry, Guangxi University pointed out that research the first research on translocation of birds in south Asia and one of the first translocation of forest birds into tea and rubber plantation sites.

He explained that research was carried out by capturing and releasing two types of bird species and seeing how they returned to the capture sites. For the ease of tracking, the birds were radio tagged and were monitored using radio telemetry and field observations.

“Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler Pellorneum fuscocapillus an endemic bird which prefers understory of forests as well as Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae a habitat generalist, were used for the project.” He said.

He added that 19 translocations of birds were carried out in forested areas, rubber and tea plantations, out of all translocations nine were done by using Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler while 10 translocations were carried out by using Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

The observations were made that the forest specializing Brown-capped Babbler was able to return to the capture sites when they were translocated in forested areas yet when translocated into rubber plantations the bird did not venture out and was unable to return to the capture site.

However, the ten Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher which is a forest generalist bird which lives in forest canopy returned to their capture sites. The flycatcher too avoided penetrating deep into rubber plantations and used edges of the rubber plantation canopy to reach the capture sites.

Mr Dayananda added that the project gave them an insight into the behavioral trends of the forest birds and how man-made alterations in habitats affect birds in the long term.

Therefore, it was revealed that maintaining forest undergrowth and forest corridors are essential for conservation of forest dwelling birds especially outside the protected area network. Along with that the behavioral patterns knowledge over how birds reach their home rangers were learned.

He and a team of researchers comprised of Field Ornithology Group (FOGSL), University of Colombo, Young Zoologist Association (YZA) Butterfly conservation society as well as Freelance researcher carried out their research in protected forest locations such Maakandawa Forest reserve, Yagirala Forest reserve and Bodhinagala Forest reserve as well as private owned plantations with small forest fragments such as Veeoya estate, Halgolla estate and Kudaligama, Thannapitahena estates.


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