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Past, Present and Future: Combining habitat suitability and future landcover simulation for long-term conservation management of Indian rhino
T. Mukherjee, L.K. Sharma, , M. Thakur, K. Chandra
Published in Nature Research
PMID: 31953519
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
The Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) is susceptible to habitat change and fragmentation due to illegal logging, rapid urbanization and non-forest use and therefore were confined in to isolated areas throughout its distribution. The present study was conducted in Gorumara landscape which is composed of two protected areas (PAs) viz., Gorumara National Park (GNP) and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. Both PAs were separated by a territorial forest range (Bridge Area), which is between both the PAs and under high anthropogenic disturbance. The study was designed to understand the impacts of landcover change on habitat suitability of R. unicornis in a multi-temporal scenario from 1998 to 2018 using ensemble approach and also to simulate the future habitat suitability for 2028. Our result suggests a significant increase in woodland cover inside the PAs, whereas the grassland cover has increased outside the PA in territorial range. We found a strong positive association of R. unicornis with grasslands. The Comparison of the future suitability model of 2028 with that of 2018 indicates a substantial increase in rhino suitable area by 13% in the territorial forest. Hence, bringing the territorial forest into the PA network, will be a crucial step to increase the fodder availability and better connectivity for the long term survival of the species. © 2020, The Author(s).
About the journal
JournalScientific Reports
PublisherNature Research