Conservation in the terai: Quantifying thresholds for anthropogenic disturbance through camera trapping and passive acoustic monitoring in Nepal

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Genetics Evolution and Environment

Abstract

Environmental pressures caused by humans are known to alter many aspects of biodiversity, from individual species behaviours to species composition. In order to implement effective conservation intervention, it is vital that we understand exactly how anthropogenic pressures are affecting biodiversity and thresholds at which an ecosystem passes its ecological tipping point. The Biome Health Project (www.biomehealthproject.com) uses remote monitoring techniques to investigate biodiversity loss in relation to human activities at four field sites across the globe. The Nepal site is based in a dry forest biome and covers a landscape of three different protected area types around a national park; strict protected area, semi-protected buffer zone and unprotected surrounding area. This landscapes forms a connected gradient of anthropogenic pressure over which changes to biodiversity can be monitored. This PhD project will use camera and audio data from the Nepal site of the Biome Health Project to understand how behaviour, community composition and abundance of mammal and bird species changes in response to anthropogenic pressure. The results of this work will contribute to our wider understanding of thresholds for ecological tipping points and contribute to local knowledge on the buffer zone system in place around protected areas in Nepal.

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