Showing posts from 2021

The Corridors Concept: learnings along the way

A tiger crosses a river, beyond the designated Protected Area cover, in the central Indian wilderness, a rare parcel of land that is borderless, just a tad-bit careful about avoiding humans as they too amble along the same river. The process of population isolation, driven by habitat loss and fragmentation, leads to population extinctions and reduction in biological diversity (Rosenberg, Noon & Meslow, 1997). That isolated populations are significantly more prone to extinction with increasing interpopulation distance has been observed in various taxa, including insects (Saccheri et al., 1998), fishes (Magnuson et al., 1998), frogs (Sj√∂gren, 1991), snakes (Webb, Brook & Shine, 2002), and mammals – from the small island marsupials (see Miller et al., 2011) to large carnivores such as tigers (see Sagar et al., 2021), as has been theoretically put forth by Wright (1943) in the iconic ‘isolation by distance’, and later demonstrated by MacArthur and Wilson (1967) in their treatise ‘T

The Forest Spirit and the Neo-Naturalist

The mosaic of the central Western Ghats, as viewed from Hassan, Karnataka Tea plantations, shola rainforests, and montane grasslands. That morning wasn’t any different. That gurgling stream, that timid click of the dancing frog, that flute-like song of the Indian Scimitar Babbler, that pressure-whistle of the invisible-under-the-canopy White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, and that low monotonous, shy greeting of the Malabar Trogon, underneath the dark canopy of the Ironwoods, Palaquiums, Syzygiums and Dipterocarps, the facies of the medium-altitude rainforest of the central Western Ghats, all of them together in a chorus refreshing mind-body-soul, would be punctuated by a long-drawn drone of the didgeridoo, making those of us raking the leaf-litter halt our time-specific chore for a moment. It was Day Three of the fourteen-day survey. That drone was another sound of the forest carrying another tune, primeval and raw, created by the damp, cold air of the rainforest understory reverberating

Insect Declines and Case for Long-term Insect Monitoring in India

Separated by 15,000 km, tied to the same fate.  Left : Antioch dunes shieldback katydid  Neduba extincta , declared extinct by the time of describing the species from the Antioch sand dunes of USA (Rentz, 1977; see ; under CC BY-NC 3.0);  Right : Enigmatic tiger beetle  Apteroessa grossa  (Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam; see  Wikimedia Commons ), not seen alive along the coastal and wetland areas of southern India; both gone because of severe land-use changes from ill-informed infrastructure developments. ‘Nature is under siege’ begins a collective of publications (Wagner et al., 2021) addressing the inquiries on the ‘validity of claims of rapid insect decline’. Within the last two decades, several studies established declines in insect abundances based on long-term monitoring data: In Great Britain, aerial biomass of insects studied between 1973 and 2002 showed significant decline in one of the four sites (Shortall et al., 2009), sugg