TitleTropical agricultural wooded land uses support high site use of forest birds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsSyiem BL, Driscoll DA, Vasudev D, Goswami VR
JournalBiological Conservation
Date Published05/2023

Agricultural expansion has been responsible for the large-scale modification of forest ecosystems globally. In many regions, this has resulted in the creation of heterogenous landscapes comprised of cleared agricultural lands, and semi-natural and natural wooded land uses such as agroforests and secondary forests. These wooded land uses can play an important role in supporting forest biodiversity. In a tropical agricultural landscape of Northeast India, we investigate how wooded land uses affect site use by forest specialist, forest generalist and open-country bird species, in comparison to a protected area. We also investigate the effects of site vegetation characteristics, surrounding forest cover and distance to the protected area. Using multi-species occupancy models, we found that wooded land uses support high site use of the three forest specialization groups. We attribute the high site use of forest species in wooded land uses to the similarity in site vegetation characteristics between these land uses and the protected area. In addition, high forest cover at, and neighbouring, our sampling sites, and habitat connectivity also contributed towards supporting high site use of forest species. However, for some species across the three groups, a few site vegetation characteristics and surrounding forest cover had a subtle influence. Our study showcases the supplementary role of low-intensity agricultural landscapes as habitat for forest birds, provided that wooded land uses outside protected areas are well maintained. In so doing, it contributes valuable insights into land management practices that support biodiversity in heterogeneous agri-cultural landscapes.