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Title: Effects of Landuse change and Forest Fragmentation on the Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the tropical lowlands of Sri Lanka
Keywords: Indicator taxa, Dung beetles, tropical rain forests, land-use change, ecosystem functions, Sri Lanka
Issue Date: 2-Nov-2011
Citation: ENOKA PRIYADARSHANI KUDA VIDANAGE (2011-11-02). Effects of Landuse change and Forest Fragmentation on the Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the tropical lowlands of Sri Lanka. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Habitat disturbance caused by the rapid expansion of agriculture and anthropogenic land use severely impact native forest biota. The present study examines the effects of land use change and forest fragmentation on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in Sri Lanka using community data. This study was conducted in the species rich lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka, which has been severely affected due to logging and conversion to agriculture and home gardens. Throughout this thesis, selected modified land use types; old selectively logged forest, monoculture plantations, home gardens and forest fragments, are compared with primary forests to evaluate the effects of habitat disturbance. Amphibians, butterflies and Scarabaeinae dung beetles were chosen as focal taxa in this study because they are known to be among the best indicators of habitat disturbance due to their sensitivity to habitat changes. I found that amphibians, specially endemics and direct developing species were more susceptible to habitat modification than butterflies in the landscape. The environmental determinants of the communities indicate that structural variables of the habitats were more important for amphibians, while butterflies communities were more responsive to climatic variables. Diversity and abundance of dung beetles negatively responded to anthropogenic land use in tea plantations and home gardens, primarily through altered abundance and community composition. Communities in more than 70% of forest fragments were significantly different from the primary forest. Dung removal function was negatively affected by land use change, primarily through altered abundance and functional group diversity. This dissertation provides the most coherent picture to date of how amphibians, butterflies, and mostly Scarabaeinae dung beetles are affected by land use change and forest fragmentation. It also provides a taxonomic update of Scarabaeinae dung beetles of Sri Lanka. In addition, the study surmounts some of the hurdles to tropical conservation research by supplementing the limited knowledge on ecological effects of habitat disturbance in South Asia specifically by highlighting an ecologically little known country in the region. The research findings can be used to make scientifically informed recommendations for the conservation of pristine forests and management of anthropogenic land use areas.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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