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Monitoring Protocol for Indicator Species (Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Ghodaghodi Lake Area)
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An indicator species is any biological species whose presence, absence, or relative well being in a given environment is indicative of the health of its ecosystem as a whole. Numerous plant and animal species are used as indicator, along with organisms like lichens and fungi, in environmental ranging from mountain tops to the continental shelf. For instance, these species indicate an environmental conditions such as pollution, climate change and habitat degradation. These indicator species are among the most sensitive species in a region. Therefore, environmentalists and conservationists monitor these species to track the habitat condition. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands in Nepal (CSUWN) had identified and established indicator species for its project sites as proposed in the Project Document. Although the Project Document had proposed two species, one for each of the site, additional species were recommended in 2009 based on the consultation of wildlife experts, conservationists, academia, ornithologists, DNPWC and DoF for both of its sites. The indicator species were added in order to avoid risk from stochastic events. Cotton Pigmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus), Marsh Mugger Crocodile (Crocodilus palustris) and Wild Rice (Oryza rufipogon) were identified as Indicator Species for GLA while Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus babalis arnee) and Swamp Francolin (Francolinus gularis) for KTWR. The presence of Cotton Pigmy Goose makes Ghodaghodi Lake a reason for being listed in Ramsar site while KTWR being the first Ramsar site of Nepal supports the last remaining population of wild water buffalo in Nepal. These species were also chosen on the basis of their threatened status at global level (1, 2 and 4), importance and uniqueness of the wetlands they are associated with, representativeness of the ecosystem, broader spectrum of taxa, and are relatively easy to monitor (CSUWN 2009). The ecological methods for periodic monitoring of different indicator species in general are widely in use globally (Southwood 1978, Sutherland 1996). Monitoring guidelines of species for Protected Areas have been developed for mountain region (Tucker et al. 2005). Protocols for monitoring the flagship species such as tigers and rhinos have been developed recently but no protocols for the biological monitoring of species in wetland ecosystem have been developed. Since, wetlands being complex in nature and differ in many ways compared to the terrestrial ecosystems (Brönmark and Hansson 1998), the need for developing the protocol for biological monitoring of species has to be looked into a wider perspective. With this monitoring protocol in place, these indicator species will be monitored during winter and summer every year by the project and its implementing partners. These species will be monitored in terms of their number, abundance and distribution in different habitats.
#Wildlife #Environment
CSUWN, GEF, UNDP ,   (2011 )
Type / Script:
Progress Report in English
Thematic Group:
 UNDP : Social and Institutional Developoment
03.03.00  -  Environment
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