Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Reduction in avian diversity due to exotic tree plantations on the native savannas of Pune City, India.

Abstract

Exotic plants are preferred in plantation forestry due to its fast growth rate and low maintenance. These plantations affect the natural vegetation and thus the fauna dependent on it. In our study, we assessed the impact of exotic plantations on savanna birds of Pune Metropolitan City (PMC). The original vegetation of the hilly region is a savanna type; through plantation forestry, exotic plants were planted in the savanna vegetation present over the hillocks in the PMC. We studied bird assemblages and vegetation in both savanna vegetation and exotic plantations. Bird sampling was done in late monsoon, winter and summer season. We found 41.67 ± 10.49 (Mean ± SD) bird species in savanna patches and 15.8 ± 6.75 bird species in the exotic plantations. The vegetational study showed that exotic plantations have the lower richness and high dominance of woody plant species compared to savanna patches. We noted an increased percentage of omnivore birds, lower percentage of predator and herbivore birds in the exotic plantations as compared to savanna patches. Our results demonstrate that exotic plantations have changed native plant community structure which was present before plantation, and has become a poorer habitat for bird species. We recommend that exotic plants should not be preferred for plantation forestry. Currently, savannas are under threat of non-scientific plantation forestry, therefore awareness among citizens, policymakers, forest officials are necessary for its conservation.