Rinchen Wangchuk, Tarleton State University

Heritage forest landscape: a model of bird conservation and preservation of bio-cultural heritage in Bhutan

Abstract: The forest management regimes in rural Bhutan consisted of community forest, private forest, sacred forests, and state reserved forest included as protected areas and production forest. Heritage forests are those included outside of the formally protected areas that are protected and managed by local custodians based on the socio-cultural grounds. These bio-cultural forests provided various ecological services and supported biodiversity conservation since many years ago. However, due to rapid developmental changes over the years loss of habitat through fragmentation and degradation in addition to the deterioration of socio-cultural values were reported.

Here we sought to determine the avifaunal conservation status to understand the conservation significance of the heritage forest landscapes in pursuit of harmonizing sustainable human nature co-existence. We surveyed three selected heritage forests and three state reserved forests during the months of June through August 2018. Trail transect survey was used applying the McKinnon List to record birds within the sub-alpine coniferous ecosystem. Species richness and diversity of birds were determined by the condition of the heritage forest structure. The locally protected heritage forest of Phabtan in Shingnyer showed higher species diversity that included some of the unique and threatened pheasant species compared to the other sites.

Presentation Author(s):
Rinchen Wangchuk*, Hemanta Kafley, Sherub, Heather A. Mathewson, James P. Muir, Ugyen Tenzin

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