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Influence of land use changes in river basins on diversity and distribution of amphibians

Gururaja, KV and Ali, Sameer and Ramachandra, TV (2008) Influence of land use changes in river basins on diversity and distribution of amphibians. In: In Environment Education for Ecosystem Conservation, 2008, New Delhi.

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Land-use changes influence local biodiversity directly, and also cumulatively, contribute to regional and global changes in natural systems and quality of life. Consequent to these, direct impacts on the natural resources that support the health and integrity of living beings are evident in recent times. The Western Ghats being one of the global biodiversity hotspots, is reeling under a tremendous pressure from human induced changes in terms of developmental projects like hydel or thermal power plants, big dams, mining activities, unplanned agricultural practices,monoculture plantations, illegal timber logging, etc. This has led to the once contiguous forest habitats to be fragmented in patches, which in turn has led to the shrinkage of original habitat for the wildlife, change in the hydrological regime of the catchment, decreased inflow in streams,human-animal conflicts, etc. Under such circumstances, a proper management practice is called for requiring suitable biological indicators to show the impact of these changes, set priority regions and in developing models for conservation planning. Amphibians are regarded as one of the best biological indicators due to their sensitivity to even the slightest changes in the environment and hence they could be used as surrogates in conservation and management practices. They are the predominating vertebrates with a high degree of endemism (78%) in Western Ghats. The present study is an attempt to bring in the impacts of various land-uses on anuran distribution in three river basins. Sampling was carried out for amphibians during all seasons of 2003-2006 in basins of Sharavathi, Aghanashini and Bedthi. There are as many as 46 species in the region, one of which is new to science and nearly 59% of them are endemic to the Western Ghats. They belong to nine families, Dicroglossidae being represented by 14 species,followed by Rhacophoridae (9 species) and Ranidae (5 species). Species richness is high in Sharavathi river basin, with 36 species, followed by Bedthi 33 and Aghanashini 27. The impact of land-use changes, was investigated in the upper catchment of Sharavathi river basin. Species diversity indices, relative abundance values, percentage endemics gave clear indication of differences in each sub-catchment. Karl Pearson’s correlation coefficient (r) was calculated between species richness, endemics, environmental descriptors, land-use classes and fragmentation metrics. Principal component analysis was performed to depict the influence of these variables. Results show that sub-catchments with lesser percentage of forest, low canopy cover, higher amount of agricultural area, low rainfall have low species richness, less endemic species and abundant non-endemic species, whereas endemism, species richness and abundance of endemic species are more in the sub-catchments with high tree density, endemic trees, canopy cover, rainfall and lower amount of agriculture fields. This analysis aided in prioritising regions in the Sharavathi river basin for further conservation measures.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Capital publishing company
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Capital publishing company.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2011 10:27
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2011 10:27
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/40475

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