Home Ebooks Tropical Conservation Science Asian elephant Elephas maximus habitat use and ranging in fragmented rainforest and plantations in the Anamalai Hills, India

Asian elephant Elephas maximus habitat use and ranging in fragmented rainforest and plantations in the Anamalai Hills, India

Asian elephant Elephas maximus habitat use and ranging in fragmented rainforest and plantations in the Anamalai Hills, India
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Name of the Book:Asian elephant Elephas maximus habitat use and ranging in fragmented rainforest and plantations in the Anamalai Hills, India
Authors / Editors: M. Ananda Kumar, Divya Mudappa, T. R. Shankar Raman
Page Count:187
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The persistence of wide-ranging mammals such as Asian elephants in fragmented landscapes requires extending conservation efforts into human-dominated landscapes around protected areas. Understanding how elephants use such landscapes may help facilitate their movements and reduce conflict incidence. We studied elephants’ use of fragmented habitats and ranging patterns of focal herds in a landscape of rainforest fragments embedded in tea, coffee, and Eucalyptus plantations in the Anamalai Hills. Elephant herds entering this landscape were tracked daily between April 2002 and March 2006, resulting in 985 GPS locations of herds obtained across six major habitats. Natural vegetation in rainforest fragments and riparian habitats, despite low coverage in the landscape, was preferred by elephants during the day. At night, elephants preferred riparian vegetation, avoided other habitats such as swamps and settlements, while the remaining habitats were used proportional to availability. Use of rainforest fragments and riparian vegetation increased over three years of study with a corresponding decline in the use of tea monoculture. Among plantation habitats, coffee, and Eucalyptus were used significantly more during wet and dry seasons, respectively. The concentration of elephants along a major riparian system in the center of the landscape emphasized the role of water and food availability in habitat use during the dry season. Protection of rainforest fragments, secondary vegetation along rivers, and regulated and sequential felling (instead of clear-felling) of Eucalyptus along elephant movement routes will help retain forage, cover, and passage routes of elephant herds and may reduce direct human-elephant encounters in such fragmented landscapes.

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