Wetland Loss and Waterbird use of Wetlands in Palwal District, Haryana, India: The Role of Agriculture, Urbanization and Conversion to Fish Ponds
- 398 Downloads
Wetlands in tropical and sub-tropical landscapes are experiencing changes and loss due to urbanization and intensive human use, but there is sparse detailed understanding of how these affect use by wetland-dependent birds. Urbanization and conversion of community wetlands to private fish ponds are occurring rapidly in Haryana state in north India. We conducted a study in Palwal district, Haryana in 2013–2014 to simultaneously understand (i) rates and reasons for wetland loss between 1970s and 2000s, and (ii) relative importance of location (towns/ villages versus those amid agriculture) versus site-specific variables on the winter abundance of 31 waterbird species in these fish ponds. Wetland extent reduced by 52 %, and average wetland size reduced by 42 % between 1970s and 2000s. Expansion of urban areas converted 105 agricultural wetlands to town wetlands. Wetlands of different locations could not be differentiated using waterbird abundance suggesting that wetland conditions have been homogenized, in part due to conversions to fish ponds and in part due to urban expansions. Focal waterbird abundance was affected more due to human activities relative to location or vegetation. A complex combination of current management practices and historical determinants of wetland persistence appear to be driving waterbird use of wetlands in locations like Palwal.
KeywordsAgricultural wetlands Hierarchical variance partitioning Waterbird feeding guilds Wetland management
KSGS thanks the Arthur L. and Elaine V. Foundation for a generous grant that enabled this study; KSGS, ASC, and SK thank the International Crane Foundation, and the Nature Conservation Foundation for administrative support; ASC and SB thank the Ambedkar University’s School of Human Ecology, Delhi for facilitating this work as part of ASC’s dissertation project towards a Masters in Human Ecology. We thank the various fish farm owners for allowing work on their land, and for many discussions that enhanced our understanding of the management system in Palwal. A previous draft benefitted from comments provided by J. Langenberg and two anonymous reviewers.
- Census of India (2011) Palwal District census: Census 2011 data. http://www.census2011.co.in/census/district/228-palwal.html. Accessed 27 May 2014
- Chauhan AS (2014) Influence of wetland location and other variables on abundance of select waterbird species in the freshwater wetlands of Palwal district, Haryana, India. Unpublished dissertation submitted to the School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
- Finlayson CM, Spiers AG (eds) (1999) Global Review of Wetland Resources and Priorities for Wetland Inventory. Supervising Scientist Report 144/Wetlands International Report 53, Supervising Scientist, Canberra, Commonwealth of AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Fisheries Department Haryana (2006) Official website of Fisheries Department, Haryana. URL: http://harfish.gov.in/technology.htm. Accessed 4 Jan 2014
- Foote AL, Pandey S, Krogman NT (1996) Process of wetland loss in India. Environ Manag 23:45–54Google Scholar
- Gupta RC, Kaushik TK (2012) Traditional rural wetlands in Haryana state of India are currently confronting multicornered threats leading to extinction sooner than later. J Trop Life Sci 2(2):32–36Google Scholar
- Gupta RC, Kaushik TK (2013) Discussing implications of fast depleting rural ponds on the globally threatened wetland winter migratory bird in Haryana: a case study of Nigdu village pond in Karnal district. J Trop Life Sci 3(2):113–119Google Scholar
- Legendre P, Legendre L (1998) Numerical ecology. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
- Mollinga P (2003) On the water front: water distribution, technology and agrarian change in a south Indian canal irrigation system. Orient Longman, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
- Scott DA (ed) (1989) A directory of Asian wetlands. IUCN, GlandGoogle Scholar
- Shah T (2009) Taming the anarchy? Groundwater governance in south Asia. RFF Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar