Anthropologic effects on Himalayan Forests

The rapidly changing climate is just one of the many byproducts of increasing insensitive eco-activities of humans. The Himalayan forests are one of the most crucial biomes of the country and support a large amount of biomass and organisms in their range.

What has happened?

  • Human activity in Himalayan forests ranges from trekking, camping, slash & burn agriculture to biomass extraction like fuelwood and housing construction material.
  • All these activities have a detrimental impact on the ecology of the forest.
  • One of the primary sufferers of the ecological change are the birds and other fauna inhabiting this area.
  • Biomass extraction from a forest is usually for locals needs like livestock grazing, extraction of fuelwood, fodder, the increasing population in the region has increased the stress on these forest resources.
  • The unsustainable extraction of forest biomass affects the forest structure which leads to the loss in diversity and numbers of insect-eating birds and oak forest specialists which have a limited habitat and are the most vulnerable to local extinctions.

Why biomass extraction is detrimental?

  • Human activities have led to the clearing of the tree canopy and have made the trees shorter & smaller in girth. This has created challenges for the birds which have to struggle to find new habitats and have to adapt to new conditions.
  • The species richness and abundance decreased due to the changes in vegetation structure, particularly canopy cover and density of the understorey vegetation.

Which birds are suffering?

The loss of forest cover is mainly affecting the insect-eating (insectivorous) species like the flycatchers, thrushes, woodpeckers and cuckoos and other birds which live on oaks like the maroon oriole, Grey-winged Blackbird, pied thrush and Rufous-bellied niltava.

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