Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 1577–1607 | Cite as

Effects of Habitat Structure and Adjacent Habitats on Birds in Tropical Rainforest Fragments and Shaded Plantations in the Western Ghats, India

  • T. R. Shankar RamanEmail author


As large nature reserves occupy only a fraction of the earth’s land surface, conservation biologists are critically examining the role of private lands, habitat fragments, and plantations for conservation. This study in a biodiversity hotspot and endemic bird area, the Western Ghats mountains of India, examined the effects of habitat structure, floristics, and adjacent habitats on bird communities in shade-coffee and cardamom plantations and tropical rainforest fragments. Habitat and birds were sampled in 13 sites: six fragments (three relatively isolated and three with canopy connectivity with adjoining shade-coffee plantations and forests), six plantations differing in canopy tree species composition (five coffee and one cardamom), and one undisturbed primary rainforest control site in the Anamalai hills. Around 3300 detections of 6000 individual birds belonging to 106 species were obtained. The coffee plantations were poorer than rainforest in rainforest bird species, particularly endemic species, but the rustic cardamom plantation with diverse, native rainforest shade trees, had bird species richness and abundance comparable to primary rainforest. Plantations and fragments that adjoined habitats providing greater tree canopy connectivity supported more rainforest and fewer open-forest bird species and individuals than sites that lacked such connectivity. These effects were mediated by strong positive effects of vegetation structure, particularly woody plant variables, cane, and bamboo, on bird community structure. Bird community composition was however positively correlated only to floristic (tree species) composition of sites. The maintenance or restoration of habitat structure and (shade) tree species composition in shade-coffee and cardamom plantations and rainforest fragments can aid in rainforest bird conservation in the regional landscape.


Agriculture Anamalai hills Bird communities Cardamom Coffee Countryside biogeography Fragmentation Habitat structure and floristics Landscape matrix Tropical wet evergreen forest 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ali, S., Ripley, S.D. 1983Handbook of the Birds of India and PakistanOxford University PressDelhiCompact editionGoogle Scholar
  2. Beehler, B.M., Raju, K.S.R.K., Ali, S. 1987Avian use of man-disturbed forest habitats in the Eastern Ghats, IndiaIbis129197211Google Scholar
  3. Bibby, C.J., Burgess, N.D., Hill, D.A. 1992Bird Census TechniquesAcademic PressLondonGoogle Scholar
  4. BirdLife International2001Threatened Birds of the WorldLynx Edicions and BirdLife InternationalBarcelona and CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowman, D.M.J.S., Woinarski, J.C.Z., Sands, D.P.A., Wells, A., McShane, V.J. 1990Slash-and-burn agriculture in the wet coastal lowlands of Papua New Guinea: response of birds, butterflies and reptilesJ. Biogeogr.17227239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, J.H., Kodric-Brown, A. 1977Turnover rates in insular biogeography: effect of immigration on extinctionEcology58445449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, S., Lugo, A.E. 1990Tropical secondary forestsJ. Trop. Ecol.6132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cincotta, R.P., Wisnewski, J., Engelman, R. 2000Human population in the biodiversity hotspotsNature404990992PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clarke, K.R., Gorley, R.N. 2001Primer v5: User Manual/TutorialPRIMER-EPlymouthGoogle Scholar
  10. Clarke, K.R., Warwick, R.M. 1994Change in Marine Communities: An Approach to Statistical Analysis and InterpretationPlymouth Marine LaboratoryPlymouthGoogle Scholar
  11. Coffee Board2001Database on CoffeeCoffee BoardBangaloreGoogle Scholar
  12. Collar, N.J., Crosby, M.J., Stattersfield, A.J. 1994Birds to Watch 2: The World list of Threatened BirdsBirdLife InternationalCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Colwell R.K. 1997. EstimateS: Statistical Estimation of Species Richness and Shared Species from Samples. Version 6.01b. Internet URL: .
  14. Colwell, R.K., Coddington, J.A. 1994Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolationPhilos. Trans. Roy. Soc. London Series B345101118Google Scholar
  15. Congreve, H.R.T. 1942The AnamalaisAssociated PrintersMadrasGoogle Scholar
  16. Daily, G.C. 2001Ecological forecastsNature411245PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Daily, G.C., Ehrlich, P.R., Sánchez-Azofeifa, G.A. 2001Countryside biogeography: use of human-dominated habitats by the avifauna of southern Costa RicaEcol. Appl.11113Google Scholar
  18. Daniels, R.J.R., Hegde, M., Gadgil, M. 1990Birds of man-made habitats: the plantationsProc. Ind. Acad. Sci. (Anim. Sci.)997989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Daniels, R.J.R., Joshi, N.V., Gadgil, M. 1992On the relationship between bird and woody plant species diversity in the Uttara Kannada District of south IndiaProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA)8953115315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Estrada, A., Coates-Estrada, R., Meritt, D.,Jr. 1997Anthropogenic landscape changes and avian diversity at Los Tuxtlas, MexicoBiodiv. Conserv.61943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gamble J.S. and Fischer C.E.C. 1935. Flora of the Presidency of Madras. Reprint3 volumes. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.Google Scholar
  22. Greenberg, R., Bichier, P., Angon, A.C., Rietsma, R. 1997aBird populations in shade and sun coffee plantations in central GuatemalaConserv. Biol.11448459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greenberg, R., Bichier, P., Sterling, J. 1997bBird populations in rustic and planted shade coffee plantations of Eastern Chiapas, MexicoBiotropica29501514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Greenberg, R., Bichier, P., Angon, A.C., MacVean, C., Perez, R., Cano, E. 2000The impact of avian insectivory on arthropods and leaf damage in some Guatemalan coffee plantationsEcology8117501755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hemelrijk, C.K. 1990Models of, and tests forreciprocity, unidirectionality and other social interaction patterns at a groups levelAnim. Behav.3910131029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson, M.D., Sherry, T.W. 2001Effects of food availability on the distribution of migratory warblers among habitats in JamaicaJ. Anim. Ecol.70546560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kannan, R. 1998Avifauna of the Anaimalai hills (Western Ghats) of southern IndiaJ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.95193214Google Scholar
  28. Krebs, C.J. 1989Ecological MethodologyHarper and RowNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Kumar, M.A., Singh, M., Srivastava, S.K., Udhayan, A., Kumara, H.N., Sharma, A.K. 2002Distribution patterns, relative abundance and management of mammals in Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil NaduIndiaJ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.99184210Google Scholar
  30. Laurance W.F., Bierregaard R.O.Jr., Gascon C. and others 1997. Tropical forest fragmentation: synthesis of a diverse and dynamic discipline. In: Laurance W.F. and Bierregaard R.O.Jr. (eds), Tropical Forest Remnants: Ecology, Management, and Conservation of Fragmented Communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 502–514.Google Scholar
  31. Leck, C.F. 1979Avian extinctions in an isolated tropical wet forest preserveAuk96343352Google Scholar
  32. Luck, G.W., Daily, G.C. 2003Tropical countryside bird assemblages: richness, composition, and foraging differ by landscape contextEcol. Appl.13235247Google Scholar
  33. Mani, M.S. eds. 1974Ecology and Biogeography of IndiaDr. W. Junk PublishersThe HagueGoogle Scholar
  34. Manly, B.F.J. 1994Multivariate Statistical Methods: A Primer2Chapman and HallLondon, UKGoogle Scholar
  35. Menon, S., Bawa, K.S. 1997Applications of geographical information systems, remote sensing and a landscape ecology approach to biodiversity conservation in the Western GhatsCurr. Sci.73134145Google Scholar
  36. Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Kent, J. 2000Biodiversity hotspots for conservation prioritiesNature403853858PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nair, S.C. 1991The Southern Western Ghats: A Biodiversity Conservation PlanINTACHNew DelhiGoogle Scholar
  38. Norušis, M.J. 1990SPSS/PC+ Statistics 4.0SPSS Inc.ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  39. Olson, D.M., Dinerstein, E. 1998The global 200: a representation approach to conserving the Earth’s most biologically valuable ecoregionsConserv. Biol.12502515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Parthasarathy, N. 2001Changes in forest composition and structure in three sites of tropical evergreen forest around SengaltheriWestern GhatsCurr. Sci.80389393Google Scholar
  41. Pascal, J.P. 1988Wet Evergreen Forests of the Western Ghats of India: Ecology, StructureFloristic Composition and SuccessionInstitut Français de PondichéryPondicherryGoogle Scholar
  42. Pascal, J.P., Ramesh, B.R. 1997A Field Key to the Trees and Lianas of the Evergreen Forests of the Western Ghats (India)Institut Français de PondichéryPondicherryGoogle Scholar
  43. Perfecto, I., Vandermeer, J. 2002Quality of agroecological matrix in a tropical montane landscape: ants in coffee plantations in southern MexicoConserv. Biol.16174182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Perfecto, I., Mas, A., Dietsch, T., Vandermeer, J. 2003Conservation of biodiversity in coffee agroecosystems: a tritaxa comparison in southern MexicoBiodiv. Conserv.1212391252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ralph, C.J.Sauer, J.R.Droege, S. eds. 1995Monitoring Bird Populations by Point CountsUSDA, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research StationAlbany, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  46. Raman T.R.S. 2001.Community Ecology and Conservation of Tropical Rainforest Birds in the Southern Western Ghats, India. Ph.D. thesis, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.Google Scholar
  47. Raman, T.R.S. 2003Assessment of census techniques for inter-specific comparisons of tropical rainforest bird densities: a field evaluation in the Western Ghats, IndiaIbis145921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Raman, T.R.S., Mudappa, D. 2003aBridging the gap: sharing responsibility for ecological restoration and wildlife conservation on private lands in the Western GhatsSocial Change33129141Google Scholar
  49. Raman, T.R.S., Mudappa, D. 2003bCorrelates of hornbill distribution and abundance in rainforest fragments in the southern Western Ghats, IndiaBird Conserv. Int.13199212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Raman, T.R.S., Rawat, G.S., Johnsingh, A.J.T. 1998Recovery of tropical rainforest avifauna in relation to vegetation succession following shifting cultivation in Mizoramnorth-east IndiaJ. Appl. Ecol.35214231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Raman, T.R.S., Sukumar, R. 2002Responses of tropical rainforest birds to abandoned plantations, edges and logged forest in the Western Ghats, IndiaAnim. Conserv.5201216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rappole, J.H., King, D.I., Rivera, J.H.V. 2003Coffee and conservationConserv. Biol.17334336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Renjifo, L.M. 2001Effect of natural and anthropogenic landscape matrices on the abundance of subandean bird speciesEcol. Appl.111431Google Scholar
  54. Ricketts, T.H. 2004Tropical forest fragments enhance pollinator activity in nearby coffee cropsConserv. Biol.18110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ricketts, T.H., Daily, G.C., Ehrlich, P.R., Michener, C.D. 2004Economic value of tropical forest to coffee productionProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA)1011257912582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shahabuddin, G. 1997Preliminary observations on the role of coffee plantations as avifaunal refuges in the Palni hills of the Western GhatsJ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.941021Google Scholar
  57. Sherry, T.W. 2000Shade coffee: a good brew even in small dosesAuk117563568Google Scholar
  58. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center 1999. Certified shade-grown coffees. < coffee/cafelist.htm>.Google Scholar
  59. Stattersfield, A.J., Crosby, M.J., Long, A.J., Wege, D.C. 1998Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity ConservationBirdlife InternationalCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  60. Stouffer, P.C., Bierregaard, R.O.,Jr. 1995aUse of Amazonian forest fragments by understory insectivorous birdsEcology7624292445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stouffer, P.C., Bierregaard, R.O.,Jr. 1995bEffects of fragmentation on understory hummingbirds in Amazonian BrazilConserv. Biol.910851094CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tea Board 2002. Tea Board home page. <>.Google Scholar
  63. Terborgh, J. 1985Habitat selection in Amazonian birdsCody, M.L. eds. Habitat Selection in BirdsAcademic Press, Inc.Orlando311340Google Scholar
  64. Tejeda-Cruz, C., Sutherland, W.J. 2004Bird responses to shade coffee productionAnim. Conserv.7169179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Thiollay, J.M. 1995The role of traditional agroforests in the conservation of rain forest bird diversity in SumatraConserv. Biol.9335353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Turner, I.M., Corlett, R.T. 1996The conservation value of small isolated fragments of lowland tropical rain forestTrends Ecol. Evol.11330333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Umapathy, G., Kumar, A. 2000The occurrence of arboreal mammals in the rain forest fragments in the Anamalai hills, south IndiaBiol. Conserv.92311319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Venkatachalam, L. 2005Coffee: need to achieve market balanceThe Hindu Survey of Indian Agriculture2005113115Google Scholar
  69. Verner, J. 1985Assessment of counting techniquesCurr. Ornithol.2247302Google Scholar
  70. Wolda, H. 1981Similarity indices, sample size and diversityOecologia50296302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wunderle, J.H.,Jr. 1999Avian distribution in Dominican shade coffee plantations: area and habitat relationshipsJ. Field Ornithol.705870Google Scholar
  72. Zar, J.H. 1999Biostatistical Analysis4Prentice-HallNew JerseyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecological Research and ConservationNature Conservation FoundationMysoreIndia
  2. 2.Rainforest Restoration Research StationValparaiIndia

Personalised recommendations