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The proposal for the final year research project: B.Sc.

Environmental Science and Natural Resource management

Research student: H. T. J. Seneviratne (06/AS/054) Department of Natural Resources Faculty of Applied Sciences Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka Belihuloya


Project Title: The biodiversity of forest fragments in the central hills: A comparison between an isolated forest fragment (Dunumadallawa) and one in close proximity to a large protected area (Duckwari)

2. Introduction:

Both Duckwari forest fragment and Dunumadallawa watershed forest are situated in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, which is known as a UNESCO World heritage Site. The central highlands is also recognized as a separate floristic region in the island, which harbors more than 50% of Sri Lankas endemic vertebrates, 50% of endemic flowering plants (Silva J D S, 2009). Duckwari forest patch consists of montane forest habitats while Dunumadallawa forest is a mid-elevation sub-montane forest. Dunumadallawa watershed forest includes a Pinus plantation while Duckwari forest fragment holds a cardamom plantation within its range. Duckwari forest fragment is in close proximity to a large protected forest reserve, Knuckles Conservation Forest and the Dunumadallawa forest is a much more ecologically isolated forest fragment which borders the a highly populated city, Kandy. A detailed biodiversity survey has been undertaken in Dunumadallawa forest fragment in recent years, but there has been no surveys undertaken at Duckwari forest fragment. This proposed survey will be focused on both floral and faunal diversity of the Dackwari forest area. Faunal taxa include birds, butterflies, amphibians and mammals. This survey will be conducted utilizing the same methods that have been used in Dunumadallawa forest in order to make an effective comparison. Conducting a biodiversity survey in Duckwari forest fragment will allow us to better understand the ecology of this potentially important forest fragment, especially considering it encompasses an active cardamom plantation. This kind

of basic data is vital in setting priorities for conservation actions and making conservation actions more effective and efficient. Since the biodiversity is not merely providing basic necessities like food, medicines, etc it also supplies ecological services like providing food security, mitigation of climate change, providing spiritual/cultural values, maintaining geochemical cycles, facilitating seed dispersal and pollination, etc. In most instances the value of ecological/ eco system services greatly exceed short term economic benefits. Therefore conserving biodiversity and setting conservation priorities are the key to the well being of human life and sustainable development. According to the Theory of Island Biogeography, decease in size and increase in isolation/ distance from the mainland reduces the species richness in islands (McArthur and Wilson, 1967).Forest fragment s are considered as islands surrounded by human settlements and other land uses. Duckwari and Dunumadallawa forest fragment s can also be considered as terrestrial habitat islands. Knuckles Conservation Forest, protected area with larger extent, act as a mainland for these two forest fragments. And the comparison of biodiversity of both areas, Duckwari and Dunumadallawa, would provide information on whether the proximity towards a larger forest has an effect on biodiversity of the area. This information is important in the study of animal corridors/ connections between forest fragment s, whichs a significant factor of maintaining genetic diversity of population of species.

3. Overall Objective:
To study whether theres a relationship between proximity to a larger forest and its biodiversity based on a study about faunal and floral diversity of Duckwari forest fragment

4. Specific objectives:
To determine faunal and floral diversity within Duckwari forest fragment (plant, bird, butterfly, amphibian and mammal diversity) To compare the biodiversity within Duckwari forest fragment and Dunumadallawa watershed forest

5. Materials and Methodology:

Ropes/ threads Wooden poles Field guides GPS Compass

Plant survey
Quadrants sampling is used. Sampling method and number and size of quadrantsre determined according to the vegetation type of the site. Vegetation Type
Bryophyte, lichen or algal communities m2 Grassland and 0.25-16 m2 tall herb, short scrub or aquatic macrophyte

Quadrant Size
0.01-0.25 communities 25-100 m2 400-2500 m2

Tall shrub community Trees in wood and forest

Each quadrants marked by using ropes or threads. Plants are identified using a field guide or herbarium sheets. When plants cannot be identified in the field, a herbarium sheet is made. Number of individuals of each species are counted and recorded.

Bird survey
Line/ belt transects are used. Location and number and routes of line/belt transects will be determined upon field visit. While walking at a standard speed (1km per hours), individuals seen in either side of the transect linere observed and identified (using a field guide). Perpendicular distance to individuals from the transect line is recorded in line transect method. Maximum width of belt transects are set as 25m inside the forest and 50m in open areas. Weather condition is also recorded.

Butterfly survey
Individuals are recorded while walking in predetermined transect lines in preferable weather conditions : dry conditions, wind speed less than Beaufort scale 5, and temperature 13C or greater if there is at least 60% sunshine, or

more than 17C if overcast. Sweep net is used when identifying species is difficult and individuals are released immediately after identification.

Amphibian survey
Quadrant survey method is used. Randomly placed quadrants of 100*5m size are used to sample individuals. Sampled individuals are collected and released to the same location after identification in the next morning.

Mammal survey
Line transect method is used. Line transects are designed to satisfactorily cover the forest area. The number and length of the line transects are dependent on forest patch size. Individuals are identified and recorded while walking in a standard speed (1km per hour). Perpendicular distances to individuals or clusters of individuals from the transect line recorded.

Starting point Transect line End point

(Source: Protocol Manual for Field Data Collection of Biodiversity survey, The Leopard Project, WWCT, Sri Lanka)

O - Observer A Animal X - Sighting distance

H - Perpendicular distance - Sighting angle

Density of mammal species can be calculated by, Density = N/ 2XY Where; N= number of animal X = transect length

Y = average perpendicular distance from transect line Additionally, pellets quadrants/trays are also used. The study area is divided into sections according to the habitat type. Pellet trays/quadrants are randomly placed in each section of the forest. 50 x 2m sized quadrant are marked out using measuring tape and string/rope. Old clusters of pellet are cleaned and left for two weeks before the tray is sampled. Dung is identified using a field guide and/or observing animals defecate directly. To determine density estimates from pellet trays the fecal decomposition rate and the defecation rate for the particular species must be known. Density = D* R* Y D - Dung density R - Daily dung decay rate Y Defecation rate

6. Time Duration:
12 weeks from 5th October, 2011 to 5th January, 2012

7. Work plan:
Activity Oct. 1 2 3 Finding research problem Literature survey Preparation of proposal Observation and taking records Data analysis Thesis writing Thesis presentation Time Duration (weeks) Nov. Dec. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Jan. 12

8. References:
MacArthur, R. H. and Wilson, E. O. (1967) The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press Protocol Manual for Field Data Collection of Biodiversity survey, The Leopard Project, The Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Sri Lanka

Silva J D S (2009) Fourth Country Report from Sri Lanka to UNs Conservation on Biological Diversity Sutherland W J (2007) Ecological Census Techniques a Handbook, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 189,320,351pp Sutherland W J (2006) The conservation Handbook: Research, Management and Policy, Blackwell Publishing,4th edition, pp 50-57

9. Institution and personal: Institutional Affiliation:

Trust 130, Reid Avenue, Colombo 04 The Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation

Internal Supervisor:

Ms. Deepchandi Lekamge Department of Natural Resources

Faculty of Applied Sciences Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka

External Supervisor:

Mr. Andrew Kittle

The Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust 130, Reid Avenue, Colombo 04

Research Student:

H. T. J. Seneviratne (06/AS/054)

Department of Natural Resources Faculty of Applied Sciences Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka